When one is an Education major (or minor) one very well knows that the last semester will be the semester in which one is finally able to set forth all that one has learned and employ it for approximately ten weeks. This last semester begins with seminars of the "Do's and Don'ts" in regards to social media, assignments, and overall performance. However, somewhere along this transition a few things seem to not be mentioned. As ironic as this may seem, student teaching is not the time in which one sets out to ONLY teach. Instead, this is the time where one is taught far more than one teaches.
1. Comfort Over Fashion
As cute as the first day of class outfit may be, it should most definitely not include heels! Majority of teachers are rarely found sitting at their desk for they will either be standing at the front of the classroom or walking around from student to student. As a student teacher you will never ever just sit. From the constant walking in the classroom, trips to the copy room, and the occasional student that walks out you will definitely need to invest in comfortable flats that can withstand the trek of each week.
2. Lesson Plans Never Actually Go Away
From an early stage, education majors are introduced to the dreadful assignment that is building a lesson plan. Well, newsflash they are ever so present throughout student teaching. Whether they be the lesson plans that you are having to write or the ones that your mentor is writing these lesson plans have no intention on going away! The never ending styles of writing them becomes even more apparent now and you begin to realize that all the practice you had writing them before this semester is finally paying off, especially when you can whip up a lesson plan in a matter of minutes! So, yes the tedious task of writing these lesson plans from an early on stage does actually pay off in the end.
3. Regardless of How Unprepared You Think You Are...You Really Are Prepared
The book that you had to read over classroom management along with the classroom scenarios are all amazing ways to get you thinking, but they are just a preview of what all you should really expect. The scenario I was given a semester prior to student teaching was a classroom of 28 students in which eight were English Language Learners, five were diagnosed as ADD, and 3 were diagnosed with dyslexia. Little did I know that I would encounter a similar scenario that I had to help plan for! During this time all that I had retained from textbooks did not matter as much as all the advice and side stories that professors had shared in between lectures.
4. Janitors, Secretaries, Nurses and Staff Are The Real MVP's
I can recall various professors saying that the most important people in the school are those unsung heroes that get it all done. This I found to be absolutely true! Whether it be figuring out where to find paper because the machine ran out or how to clean up the freshly squeezed orange juice a student just spilled inside the classroom, these unsung heroes know it all! Therefore, these are the people you really want to become friends with. For if a projector is not working and you know the person in charge of Technology has a liking for M&M's...I am sure they would be more than willing to fix the projector as they enjoy a chocolaty snack.
5. There Will Never Be Enough Time
From the time the bell rings to the time students are dismissed there is never a single moment in which teachers can just sit and say, "Well we are done for the rest of the week". Nope. Never. During lunch my mentors and I never just sat down and ate without discussing lesson plans, classroom strategies, and what we would be doing for the rest of the school day. This is the period in which you realize that one of the most important lessons a teacher can learn is time management, so that even though there will never be enough time you manage to complete it all.
6. Your Worst Days Will Become Your Best Days
You will always remember the day that a particular student ran out of the classroom screaming that they hated school, laid down on top of the desks because that was comfortable just as soon as administrators were walking down the hallway, or when they decided that splashing baking soda and vinegar across the room was a fun idea. During those moments you will find yourself questioning why you even want to become a teacher, but I assure you that taking a look around that classroom answers that question in a jiffy. I quickly learned that it is the "bad days" that bring about the best days when that same student that hated school now tells you that they really like coming to class and seeing the other behave in lab when hot-wheels and race tracks are involved!
7. Saying Goodbye is Never Easy
This past Thursday was my last day of student teaching and as exciting as it was to know that I am one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a teacher the fact that I had to say goodbye to approximately 155 students simply did not come easy. As much as I taught these students I can honestly say I learned more from them. I learned how to gain my teacher voice, "the look" to get their attention, and overall how to forgive and forget regardless of anything that occurred.
These are not all the lessons you learn from student teaching, but they are the ones that you are bound to remember at all times.