Thursday, July 14, 2016

Student Teachers

When I first agreed to have a student teacher in my classroom last year, I wasn't fully prepared for how it would change my teaching life.  I thought I was doing a good deed, but what I didn't know was that my student teacher ending up changing and challenging me more than I could have imagined.  Here are 5 reasons I BELIEVE every veteran teacher should have a student teacher at some point in their teaching career:

New possibilities--man!  I still consider myself a fairly new teacher and one that prides myself on keeping up with the latest trends in education.  However, as we all know, education is CONSTANTLY changing, and unless you are scouring the latest research we can't always keep up.  Having a student teacher is a direct LENSE into the newest and greatest techniques!  

Working Hard--I worked harder.  There is something to say about having someone in your classroom 24/7 that makes you push A LOT more.  I busted my tail to ensure I was setting the best example possible.  I was more organized, graded more often, and really pushed to demonstrate what good teaching looks like.  

Tiptoes--When you have a student teacher you are not only teaching, but answering ALL of their questions.  Sometimes my student teacher would ask me a question that I really had to think about it before answering, mainly because no one has ever asked me before.  I was held accountable by my student teacher and it helped me become a better educator.  

Balance--This is the MAJOR PLUS in having a student teacher.  I have never been a more balanced teacher then when I had someone else in my classroom.  My approach to having a student teacher was to form a strong enough relationship that by the end we were co-teaching.  I was able to do just that and man did it SAVE me at times.  I trusted her enough that while she was teaching, I could grade or plan other things.  This, of course, happened after we established our co-teaching relationship.  This may take longer for others, but my student teacher was a NATURAL and it wasn't long before she was my partner in crime!

Earth--Many teachers, myself included, can get into our own heads.  We can overanalyze every move or decision we make in the classroom.  Having a student teacher showed me just how far I had come as an educator and to trust in my ability to lead and teach.  This brought me back down to a "sane" level and allowed me to enjoy my students.  

It is my belief that we owe it to our future students to nurture and mold future educators.  I think every educator should mentor at least one aspiring teacher, just one.  


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