Thursday, January 31, 2013

Four Weeks

To sum up the first four weeks of Student Teaching would be impossible. Too much has happened that to write it all down would take time I do not have. These past four weeks have been eye-opening, funny, comfort zone pushing, humbling, exhausting, tough, encouraging, overwhelming, and exhilarating, to name a few.

Stepping into a kindergarten classroom was a major jump for me. Having been in 5th grade for most of last semester, kindergarten was like culture shock. I went from having independent ten year olds to having five year olds needing their coats zipped and shoes tied. I also found myself repeating the same thing over, and over, and over, and over again. I learned (and fortunately not the hard way) that when a kindergartener asks to go to the bathroom, no matter what they get to go to the bathroom! There is no need to chance it.

I am in a classroom with twenty-one kindergarteners. Some have showered me in love and kind compliments others have tried my patience like never before. But all have been a blessing from God and I have learned so much from each one of them.

I have gotten to dabble in my artistic side (which for those who are wondering, it is very shallow!). The students are making desert animals and I am their assistant to help make their animals look like animals. The first two students I assisted were making snakes out of clay. Clay snakes are probably the easiest animal to make. Just roll it 'til it is the size and width you want and viola a snake! After helping with two of those, I'll admit it, I felt like an animal making pro. But alas, pride comes before the fall. And the fall came fast. The next student I helped was making a scorpion out of clay. Oh, that scorpion. I soon realized that my animal making abilities were indeed not much and the scorpion could use the help of the imagination when looking at it. However, regardless of how I think they look, the students always love them and show them off to each other, and that is worth it!

I have also had my share of trying times. My worry of student teaching quickly dissipated within the first week. My co-operating teacher made me feel right at home and is one of the friendliest people ever. I felt like I learned more from watching her teach for a full week than I ever thought possible. I was blown away by it all! However, after the first week I was more tired than I'd ever been in my life. Who knew that spending eight hours a day with twenty-one kindergarteners could be so energy draining? The next week I could not keep my eyes open past 8:15. I tried, but every night I found myself fast asleep long before 9pm.

Tiredness has not been the only struggle. There have been struggles with how to help and encourage certain students. There have been struggles with how to respond to students who won't listen. And these are the struggles that I did not expect. It has been wearying. And I have realized that all I can really do is pray. I remember one of my professors telling us once that the most important thing we can do for our students and also for our sanity is to pray for our students every day. I had forgotten that going in to student teaching, but a few weeks into it when I was at my wits end with a student I realized I had not been praying at all for that student. Oh, I'd been praying for me, but never for them. So, I began to bring them all before God every morning before I went to school. It has been so helpful for me. And God has given me patience like I never thought possible.

Student teaching has made me burst with joy at the thought of becoming a teacher, and cower in a flood of tears over the thought of becoming a teacher. Whoever thinks teaching is easy, let me just say it, it's not that easy. There are so many factors that I never thought of before being in student teaching and my respect for teachers has grown immensely.

Today I am almost to the half way point of this first student teaching placement. If you had asked me how student teaching was going about a week ago, I would have said, "Well.... it's okay. Kindergarten is cool, but I don't think I'd want to end up teaching in it..." Ask me that question today, and I'd tell you that kindergarten has grown on me. Sure, I still want to teach upper elementary grades, but I love my kids I have now and God has blessed me tremendously through each one of them. I am thankful that He placed me where He has. It has been an exciting journey! 


mjwets216 said...

Hannah I loved reading about this! You're right...I never realized how insanely busy teachers seem to be! You're awesome, keep it up!

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