Today I decided to interview my friend Nicole about student teaching! Student teaching is essentially the capstone experience of being an education major, so I wanted to get a first-hand perspective on what it is like. First, meet Nicole!
Tevas or Chacos? Tevas
Favorite things: Nature and Walt Whitman
Major: Secondary education English with a minor in secondary physical education
Activities: Young Life leader, admissions tour guide, student assistant resident director of Dykstra Hall, research for the education department, and teaching assistant for health dynamics and an education course
Me: Nicole, tell me about the things you are doing this semester.
Nicole: Well, I am at Holland Christian High School student teaching for sophomore English classes, freshman girls’ P.E. classes, and a class of weightlifting.
Me: What does your typical day look like?
Nicole: I wake up really early and I go to school and get coffee from the teachers’ lounge.
Me: Wow, that is a privilege.
Nicole: Yeah, it is! Then I teach freshman girls’ P.E., two classes of English, eat lunch, teach freshman girls’ P.E., English, weightlifting, and freshman girls’ P.E. again. Sometimes I get planning periods too. I love my cooperating teachers and I love the students and I love talking about Jesus in the classroom.
Me: How is student teaching different from the field placements you have in other education classes?
Nicole: I am still a guest in the classroom, but I feel more ownership over the students and the material. In field placements, it’s awesome to get to know the kids a little bit and teach a few things, but the point is more to figure out if you want to be a teacher. Student teaching is like really being a teacher and I like it a lot better because I can really pour all my energy into it.
Me: Are you taking any more classes this semester besides just being a student teacher?
Nicole: Yes, I have two education courses: Perspectives in Education and Student Teaching Seminar. Every Wednesday all the student teachers have both those classes at night and it’s basically about wrapping up our philosophies of education and why you want to be teachers. It’s also about practical application and things like how to actually land a teaching job in the future.
Me: What has been the best part and the most challenging part so far about student teaching?
Nicole: The best part is that I really love it. I love the school, the teachers, and the students, so it’s been awesome to be affirmed in the fact that I’m called to teach and I don’t want to do anything else. The most challenging part is that I miss the college schedule because I liked seeing people all the time, so it’s hard to transition away from that and realize that I am living a different, more professional lifestyle. I still get to be a college student and do fun stuff after school, but my life is different now.
Me: Do you have any final thoughts?
Nicole: Say thank you to your teachers because they care about you a lot more than you think they do.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
– John 21:12