The wonderful Kelly Anne and I have been working on our co-teaching series these last three weeks and we are back to work on part three (More Than Student Teaching). My post is probably going to be a little different than usual, but I think in the end it will all make sense. Just bare with me and I swear there will be a point at the end of it all.
Hmmm.... where should I start? How about the beginning? Well, at least the beginning of college. You see, I did all my course work in Pueblo, CO at CSU-Pueblo. I was all set to do my student teaching in that same city but my then fiance, who was a year older than me, got a job offer in Grand Junction, CO. Exciting right?! Well.... Grand Junction is about a 6-hour drive from Pueblo. And I still had a year of school left!
Long story short, Rich went to work in Grand Junction, I finished my last semester at school, and figured out how to set up my student teaching in Grand Junction. Easy enough! HA. Not so much. Turns out I was kind of lost in the shuffle because of my circumstances. I found this all out at the end of April when I was getting ready to move to Grand Junction on May 3rd. Now what?
My student teacher placer lady and I were both kind of in a panic but someone finally suggested that I try getting placed in a charter school. To be honest, I wasn't totally convinced about the whole situation, but I was willing to do anything to get into a school. We called the first charter school we could find (blindly, might I add) and all the principal said was "Yep, send her on over." I thought it would all be too good to be true, but I had no idea how good it would all be.
You've heard how wonderful Kelly is and how great the experience was for me, but my student teaching experience turned into something so much more than just that. And to think it all started with one of the worst and most stressful situations that could ever happen to a student teacher.
So how was it more than just student teaching....
First, I had Kelly as a mentor. Jackpot!
Second, Kelly was the only fifth grade teacher at the time because we were just a one-round but.... there were two 4th grade rounds coming up. You know what that means? Job opportunity. (I basically just had a 6-month interview to get through :).
Third, and probably the best, was the friendship Kelly and I formed. We were seriously alike and different in all the right ways.
Fourth... Because Kelly is so amazing, she constantly talked me up, worked with my strengths, and capitalized on having two teachers, the principal hired me to work for the school second semester. (Just another semester of being interviewed :).
Fifth, I was able to learn all about differentiation because Kelly formed a wide range of differentiated groups for all subjects that I was able to help her implement. Just think of the possibilities when you have two teachers in a room at all times. They're endless right?!
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
Student teaching can absolutely seem like the most daunting and terrifying experience you will ever go through, and let's be honest, it is all of those things. But if you seize the opportunity and have a mentor teacher who is willing to do everything Kelly did for me, you will have a student teaching experience that is so much more than just student teaching. And don't forget that sometimes the worst experiences turn into the absolute best experiences as long as you are looking for that opportunity.
Now make sure to head over to Kelly's blog to check our her point of view and her giveaway. I would do it if I were you. (I heard, okay I know, that it has something pretty awesome to do with Teachers Pay Teachers).