Greetings, Kate here…

Eighth-semester undergraduate at Neag blogs about her experiences through UConn Welcome Mat.

Photo credit: Shawn Kornegay
Photo credit: Shawn Kornegay

In UConn’s Neag School of Education, one of the highlights of the program is our many experiences with classroom observations. Each semester students are required to go to a school for at least six hours per week to watch, learn and help in as many ways as possible. By the end of our undergraduate career, we have over 200 hours of classroom time under our belts, which will help us immensely when we have our own classrooms. We are placed in both urban and suburban districts where we can learn the differences between the two kinds of communities and how to best help students of different backgrounds.

I have learned so much through each of my experiences. By watching four separate teachers conduct their classes for a semester each, I have learned what kind of teacher I want to become. For example, at Mansfield Middle School the seventh-grade English teacher I was fortunate enough to work with had so much love for her students. It was clear that she wanted to be with them every day, she wanted them to succeed, and she would be there to help them to achieve their goals. Her general attitude towards her students was the greatest example of a skill that only truly wonderful teachers have. I hope that her essence has rubbed off on me in some way.

If I were to do anything differently, I would try to get involved quicker in my placements. It takes some time to get comfortable in the classroom, and nobody wants to step on toes. I have come to learn now that the teachers appreciate my help, and it is all about the delivery. When you want to get involved, just be open. Say something like, “I’d love to help you, give me anything to do and I’ll do it.” The more you end up doing, the busier you’ll be and the more trust the teacher will develop in you as his/her student. You might even make some teacher friends, and trust me, they’re the best kind.

Next semester I will be doing my full student teacher placement. This will allow me to use the lessons I’ve learned from observations and apply them to my actual classroom. I feel confident that my coursework has prepared me to lead.

UConn Welcome Mat is a blog posted through the University of Connecticut’s Lodewick Visitors Center. Designed to provide prospective and current students information about the daily lives of select UConn undergraduate students, it allows readers a glimpse into the personal interests and academic and social activities of those living the Husky experience.