My day starts at 4:45 am with a lot of coffee and a long drive. My days are often filled with laughter, sarcasm, and frustration. Nights are spent grading papers, enjoying new perspectives, and planning what I will say to my students the next morning. I am a teacher, or more accurately, a student-teacher.
Currently I’m completing the last part of my Education Degree which is experience in a classroom. I teach social studies to high school students at a Salem High School, and I LOVE every minute (most days). A typical day for me is getting to the school at 6:45 am. I’m usually hyped up on coffee so I have energy to start off first period. My students are smart, funny, and most of the time, focused. Some days they will not stop talking and I cannot figure out how to make them listen, but most days I love their energy!
If I’m not teaching, I’m observing other teachers, or taking the time to plan lessons. What most people don’t realize is that teachers put a lot of time into figuring out what they will be teaching their students each day. There are standards, and objectives, and assessments (all that confusing education lingo). What I’m trying to say is that I put a lot of passion into what I’m planning so my students will enjoy it. That could mean interpreting WWII motivations through 1940’s Captain America comics, or watching a documentary about the conflict in the Middle East from a child’s perspective. If you will be student-teaching my advice to you is to PLAN everything out ahead of time. The more prepared you are, the better your lesson will be.
Students know when you put effort into what you do. This includes building relationships. If you’re student-teaching get to know your students. Talk to them before or after class, ask them about their interests, go to school sporting events, or even chaperone a dance. My teaching experience has become so much more fun as I’ve gotten to know my students, and I know it will be hard to leave when it comes time.
One of the hardest things about being a student-teacher is worrying you won’t do something quite right, you’ll say the wrong thing, or your students won’t succeed. All I can tell you is to keep going. Keep trying, keep showing up with your best in the classroom, and keep encouraging your students to try harder. Believe it or not they look up to you and they will see how hard you try. By 2:20 when school ends I’m exhausted, but I still take the time to stay and talk to students or help with late work. This is a part of the whole experience.
My days typically end late at night because of the grading, the planning, and the thinking. The thinking about your students and how you can help them has to be my favorite part of the teaching experience. Every day I can’t wait to get back in the classroom, to talk with them, and to help them learn something or improve a skill (even if it’s the tiniest thing). There’s no way that your students will remember every battle in the Civil War, or the process of a cell in Biology class, but they will remember big ideas and the work you put in. If I can get them to be passionate about something, then I’m doing my job right.
If you have any questions about what it’s like to be a student-teacher, please feel free to email me at email@example.com