Confessions of a Student Teacher: What they can’t teach you in education class

By Marina DeVino

The life of a student teacher is very different than the average Rider student, so different, that we do not even observe the same spring break. While most students were off on fabulous vacations or just spending a relaxing week at home, I was waking up at 5:30 a.m., teaching most of the day, and spending my evenings planning lessons and filling out job applications.

Since the campus has been basically empty all week, I have had a great deal of time to be alone and reflect on my student teaching experience thus far. I have had some time to think about some of the things that the School of Education and its professors cannot prepare you for. Throughout this experience, I have encountered instances of cheating, crying, and bullying. I have even witnessed one student vomit into a waste basket during my class. Each of these situations, particularly the last one, caught me off guard. After the student got sick in class, I found myself in charge of twenty students that appeared just as shocked as I was. Since my cooperating teacher had taken the sick student and the waste basket out in the hall, I had to gather myself and bring the students’ attention back to the front of the room. Once this was done, I was able to continue with the lesson.

I found handling the cheating, crying, and bullying situations to be less overwhelming. My experience has shown me that the best way to deal with these incidents is to take the student(s) involved out into the hallway for a discussion. Having two teachers in the room made it easy to make those discussions possible. Had I been on my own, I would have assigned individual work to the rest of the class and went out in the hall with the student, leaving the door open so I could monitor the class.

I never thought about how I would handle these situations before I was forced to do so. After these experiences, I feel more prepared for future incidents. Luckily, my spring break begins next week, when most Rider students will be finding their way back to campus. I am most looking forward to sleeping in, but the work will continue. Lessons will need to be prepared, applications will need to be filled out, and meetings will need to be attended throughout the week. Hopefully some relaxation can be fit in as well, but that’s the life of a student teacher.

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