About Me

I am a second-career teacher. In my other life, I crunched numbers as an accountant. Probably would have made a great math teacher had the thought occurred to me. No matter, I'm where I'm supposed to be; teaching third grade. Before that, 2nd grade and before that kindergarten. I have 2 grown daughters, 2 poodles, and 1 hubby. I live and work on Long Island.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Very Capable Student Teacher


Although it’s been over ten years that I left my old profession and became an elementary school teacher, I still think of myself as a newbie. This mindset serves me since I believe that a dose or two of humility keeps us grounded in reality.  In fact, I wish more of us followed this prescription.

Hoping to someday take on a student teacher, the thought of it scared the daylights out of me.  Continually questioning my ability and asking “What do I have to offer someone when I myself do not have all the answers?” left me feeling stuck in my own insecurity.

Until one evening at our much loved neighborhood restaurant, I was lured out of my comfort zone.  As Erica was serving our cocktails, she casually mentioned that she was studying for her master’s degree in education. As I am known to do, without thinking I instinctively invited her to visit my classroom for anything she needed.

Fast forward to one and a half years later. After performing countless hours observing my teaching and my students’ learning styles she has become my very capable, very confident student teacher. Her supervisor observed her last week and she was a smash! I will admit that at times during her lesson, I was ready to pounce but as I sat on my hands and bit my tongue I successfully kept my mouth shut.

And so, what did I learn? Ahhh……so many lessons.
First, I understand that a lesson does not have to be perfect for students to learn and learn well. Note to self: ‘remember this during my own observations.’
Second, I do not have to control every moment in my classroom for learning to occur. Another aside ‘it’s ok to let some things go.’
Third, I have taught her well enough that she has the ability and most importantly the confidence to begin to spread her wings and fly.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned was something her supervisor said to me as he was complimenting Erica’s instructional delivery. “As teachers, now more than ever, it is so critical that we give back and share what we know to new members of our profession.”

He’s so right and I’m so glad I left my comfort zone.

5 comments:

  1. Student teachers have been both a good and a bad experience for me. I think it is important that they have good teachers to model from and teachers like you who will let go and let them make the mistakes and learn.

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  2. I'm glad you left your comfort zone, too, Rissa. You have SO much to offer. I hope you host many more student teachers in the years to come.

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  3. Awesome reminder...we never do arrive, do we? I love that by interacting with your student teacher you learned so much. xo

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  4. I have an awesome student teacher right now as well. It's so very hard to keep my mouth shut and sit on my hands, but I have learned from doing just that! I have learned that there are multiple ways to teach the same lesson, I CAN give guidance when needed,it's ok to let her see me struggle with something (no one is perfect!) and I love that I can sit back and see my students with a different lens while she is teaching. I'm glad you are having a good experience!

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  5. The fact that you are still learning and working to improve your craft is the very reason why your student teacher's supervisor is right that you should continue to lead new teachers. Reflective practice needs to be modeled as a necessary aspect of quality instruction. Good for you, good for your students, good for your student teacher, good for her students...you began a cycle of wonderful!

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