This first week of student teaching has already been a whirlwind. I’m trying to learn the names of 150 7th graders, keep their names (and class) straight, and trying to learn them so that we can both benefit from this time together. I won’t lie to you: I don’t think this will be an easy time for me.
Towards the end of last week and more of this week, I am assuming more responsibility in the classroom. I help out, I answer questions, and I’ve even written a few passes. My cooperating teacher and I have been working on preparing the students for me to take over the classroom.
This honestly puts me in a weird position. I’m obviously not as experienced as my cooperating teacher. I’ve only had about eight weeks in front of students through my practicum placements. I haven’t had to plan a lot of consecutive lessons and then execute them. So in that aspect, I am very much a student. These next few weeks when I start taking over the classroom more will be a transition for me and the students both as we find our rhythm and groove.
However, on the other end of this spectrum, I have more experience than my students. I’m clearly in authority over them (I scared one class of students, but that’s a story for a later time). I know my stuff, and I know I have been preparing for this the past 3.5 years.
This dichotomy is completely okay. I will 100% admit that I don’t know everything about teaching, and there’s no way that I’m going to be perfect right off the bat. But I also know I need to take on the mantle and assume the responsibility of the classroom. Student teaching can be a great asset and learning experience for me, and I’m excited where the next 14.5 weeks go!
As always, I don’t pretend to know what you’re going through in life. Sometimes, it can be scary to assume more responsibility in your circumstances. You’re worried you will fail, or maybe that you aren’t ready for what this new stage will bring. It’s okay to worry. Honestly, you probably won’t make it perfect the first time. That’s life. You live, you learn, and you grow. Life is full of mistakes. But you get better, and it gets easier. Planning for lessons next week seems really scary to me. But by the middle of the semester, it’ll be a piece of cake for me.
Sometimes life throws curveballs at you. It offers you things you don’t feel prepared for. It’s up to you whether to take it up and assume responsibilities or let it pass by you. Nobody can make that choice for you. But if you keep living scared and afraid to jump in, then you’re going to end up with more regrets, at least in my opinion. It’s okay to be scared. But don’t let the fear hold you back. Jump in, assume the responsibility, make the mistakes, and work for your goals.
Honestly, I’m probably going to fail at this, especially in the next couple of weeks. I might plan something that I think my students can handle, and it might turn out that they actually can’t. Some things I plan may end up being done early and we have a lot of free time in class. It’s going to take time to find my rhythm and learn how to do this properly. But it’s my responsibility to assume. This is why I’m student teaching. I would hate not to have an idea of what I wanted to do with my own class when I’m actually getting paid to teach children. So it’ll be rough at first, but it’s my responsibility to fix it and make it what it needs to be. Hopefully, by the time I end in May, I’ll have 150 students who love me and will be sad for me to leave (and also, hopefully they actually learn something).
Again, I don’t know what you’re going through. But I know that mistakes are a part of life. So, if you ask me, assume the responsibility, jump into it, and let yourself become better as a result!