Confessions of a Student Teacher: First thoughts from the classroom

My name is Marina DeVino and I am currently student teaching in a sixth grade mathematics classroom. The last week of February marks the end of the first month of my student teaching experience, and so far, it has been interesting to say the least. Rider’s School of Education does a great job preparing students for student teaching, but education courses and various field experiences cannot replicate the day to day operations of any school. As of today, I have handled fire drills, evacuations, lockdowns, assemblies, parent-teacher conferences, professional development days, and guidance meetings with moderate success.

I would be lying if I said I was not anxious when I met my four classes of sixth graders for the first time. Standing in front of a room with over twenty faces staring back at you would be nerve-racking for most, but being greeted with smiles calmed my nerves right away. Plus, the welcome I received from my amazing cooperating teachers helped with the butterflies immensely. Before the end of the first day, I knew that I would look forward to coming to school each and every day.

In three words, I would describe my first month in the middle school as challenging, eye-opening, and rewarding. Before the semester even began, I knew that the next few months would be the most difficult of my college career. Learning how to manage classroom behavior, write lesson plans, and create assessments has proved to be extremely time-consuming. Luckily, the sixth grade schedule provides teachers with some prep time in the middle of the day. It is during this time that I work closely with my cooperating teacher to plan for the weeks ahead and discuss our students. I am incredibly thankful to have a cooperating teacher so willing and eager to share her expertise and resources with me on a daily basis. Her guidance has and will continue to prepare me to have a classroom of my own in the near future.

Student teaching has also been eye-opening in the sense that I have a newfound awareness and appreciation of all that teachers have to do each and every day. The emails from parents and administration are never-ending. Copies of handouts need to be made at least a week in advance because the copiers always seem to be down. Each week seems to bring new concerns about standards, the curriculum, and standardized testing. Even with two teachers in the classroom, there never seems to be enough hours in the school day to write and submit lesson plans, make copies, attend meetings, and grade tests and quizzes.

Most importantly, my time in the classroom has been incredibly rewarding. One of the best feelings in the world is the one I get after a student thanks me for answering a question or guiding a student through a problem. All the time and hard work that I put into student teaching will hopefully end up with another great reward: a full-time teaching position.

With that I mind, I look forward to the rest of my semester and the challenges it will bring.

Marina DeVino

Senior math and secondary education major

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