For the first time in my teaching career, I have a student teacher this year. She started full-time with me on Monday but has been in my classroom once a week since September. Now, obv I don't have much experience with student teachers and I'm certainly no "student teacher expert" but I would venture to say that I've pretty much hit the Student Teacher Lottery (if there were such a thing).
For starters, she is an attorney and decided that her passion in life is to become a teacher. So she went back to school and put in time and effort and $$ because she wants to do something that makes her happy. Teach. Now I'm sure without a doubt she is an excellent attorney and could probably make tons and tons of money and get to go to the bathroom whenever she wanted and take vacations in October, but she knew deep down that being an attorney wasn't what was going to make her truly happy. I, too, after getting my teaching degree (100 years ago), went into the business world for almost twenty years. But then I went back to school, earned my Masters degree and spent every minute trying to get a teaching job. I knew that was my passion. Luckily for me I found a wonderful job in Bloomfield Hills and was fortunate to work my first few years with the best teachers on the planet: Michelle Alt, Leah Heydenburg, Karen DiPietro, and Erin Marra. They taught me more in one day than I had ever learned in an entire year in the business world. Really. There is a fine art to juggling twenty-five students and managing hundreds of learning objectives.
So, here it is Day #2 with my student teacher being in my classroom every day. She arrives early. She asks lots of good questions. She listens to feedback and makes changes. She admits she's nervous. She spends countless hours after the school day preparing. She listens to the students. She takes copious notes and is organized. She strives every day to learn and grow and be a good teacher. She's exhausted at the end of the day.
I think I'm very lucky to have this student teacher with me for the next three months. But I think my students are even luckier. They now have two teachers to help them, teach them, encourage them, push them, and learn with them. They have two teachers who care about them and, let's be honest here, their chances of getting more personal attention is now two-fold.
This year I have one of the most wonderful 3rd grade classes I've ever had. They are polite and kind and have a terrific sense of humor. They are smart and curious and respectful. They are fun and sensitive. It's only January and I already know that I will miss them all very much when June rolls around.
So here's hoping that my student teacher has a wonderful experience in my classroom this semester. She will be overwhelmed and overworked, but I hope she realizes that the passion she has for teaching is real, and that the fact that she pursued this profession at this point in her life means that she will be a really, really good teacher. I hope she sees that the bad days can be wiped out in an instant by one good one. I hope she learns a lot and grows a lot and discovers that even though this is probably the toughest job in the world, it also is one that is worth every ounce of effort. And to anyone out there who is thinking about it.... always go for it and follow your passion!
Excited for her 1st day!