Prior to her graduation in May, eighth-semester undergraduate at Neag blogged about her experiences through UConn Welcome Mat
This semester is a little different for me as a UConn Neag School of Education student than most other students who are second semester seniors. I’ve transitioned into what I call an “adult real world schedule” where I’m in teacher mode from 7:30 a.m. to around 5 p.m. every day. Thursdays I’m lucky if I even can stay awake to watch Jersey Shore, let alone go out of my apartment! Regardless, I am learning first-hand what it means to be a “real teacher” and a little bit about being a “real adult.”
I student teach at Mayberry Elementary School in East Hartford. We have a wonderful class of 20 unique students, each with their own quirks and personalities. I love discovering their strengths, observing their habits, sharing in their excitements and expanding on their interests as I learn more and more about the best ways to teach each of them.
We’ve just over a month left in student teaching rotation and there are so many things to on which to reflect. As far as what I’ve learned, I could better explain myself if I were given the task to write a book. But two overarching ideas will suffice:
1. Expectations: As a teacher you need to have expectations for your students and also for yourself as an educator.
Students- If I’ve learned anything about classroom management, its that the fact that one must have realistic expectations of each of their students, and beyond this FOLLOW THROUGH with each incident. In academics, if you know your student is capable of more, challenge them. Similarly with behavior, if your expectations are realistic and the students play a role in determining them, they will more likely be reachable. But once again, you MUST follow through with consequences for rules and expectations to have meaning. This means constant and regular feedback for all students. A lot of us student teachers are amazed at how much we talk throughout the day, it feels like we never stop sometimes! But that is what it takes to keep everyone on track.
2. Excitement: The more genuinely excited you are to teach something, the more excited your kids will get. I started teaching science this week, and my teacher was in her element sitting and watching the reactions of the students. Because I was excited to teach them, the kids were hanging off of every word I said. When we finally got to the experiment, their reaction was priceless. Gasps, “oohs!” and “ahhs”…just over seeing a tablet of Alka Seltzer dissolve in water! Their motivation to learn pushes me to continue creating fun lessons for them, which helps to push their motivation to learn, and so we end up motivating each other.
Student teaching placement provides valuable experiences in learning to become a teacher. I have learned how much time, effort and drive it takes to be the kind of teacher that inspires me and which I aspire to become. So here’s a shout-out to all those student teachers out there whose social lives have dissolved like that tablet of Alka Seltzer. We’re on our way:)
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.