The student teaching adventure has begun!
One of the reasons I decided to teach is the limitless room for growth the profession offers. Students, demographics, science, methods, best practices, and many other variables are changing all the time. By choosing to embrace change and challenge, I hope to never be bored (for very long).
However, the flipside of that means the learning curve is steep and overwhelming. It’s an endless parade of names, faces, antics, ideas, questions, needs… My body and mind are swimming by the end of the day. It’s so much to keep up with.
My cooperating teacher is amazing. While I don’t agree with everything she does, she is engaging, funny, caring, strict, straightforward, and demanding – all at the same time. She had eyes everywhere, can come up with relevant examples on the fly, and can enable kids to achieve at higher levels than they thought possible. It’s inspiring and exciting to be in her classroom – it’s also discouraging when I teach. I stutter through my words, give ridiculous and confusing examples, spend way too much time explaining simple concepts, breeze over difficult ones (because my examples make zero sense), and fail to notice too much inappropriate behavior.
I’m new. I know this. She’s been doing this for fifteen years. I would expect that she would be a million times better than me. But still. It’s hard, feeling like a fish flopping on a sizzling concrete slab in front of 30 onlookers. I’m trying to be patient with myself. I’m counting my many blessings that I have such a wonderful mentor. I’m breathing a HUGE sigh of relief that my district focuses more on “co-teaching” instead of traditional student teaching. We do much more teaching side-by-side than me simply sinking-or-swimming. This means I have more time to watch her work her magic so I can soak it up. I’ll get there. As my brain automatizes some of the routine procedures, I’ll have more space for noticing the antics, for capitalizing on the students’ many strengths, for making jokes and having more fun. As I worry less, my stuttering will decrease. As I master the students’ names, I can spend more time finding out who they are as people. But right now I’m drowning in the mundane.
It is what it is. In many ways it’s great – it’s better than I could have hoped for. In other ways, I want to curl in a ball and cry and never go back. It’s hard to embarrass yourself in front of so many people, so many times every day. But the kids are patient, many are incredibly kind and forgiving. Like most people, they just want to be respected and cared for. And I know I can do that. And that’s why I’ll keep going back.