Student Teaching Becomes Career Learning Experience

February 24 2017
Category: Academics

This week’s #SoaringToSuccess story spotlights Marissa Silverman '17, an adolescent education major. Her student teaching experience at a local high school presented some unique challenges, but an overall rewarding experience.
Marissa Silverman, student and Soaring to Success spotlight

Let’s head into high school and learn more from Marissa…

Over the past three months I had the opportunity to teach 11th grade at Horseheads High School, in Horseheads, New York. The focus of my student teaching was to gain experience and put all of the content and classroom management strategies to the test in a real classroom setting.

My student teaching experience was unlike most. Horseheads High School runs on a block schedule, therefore, students attend the same class every day until winter break. After winter break students then begin an entirely new class. I had the opportunity to take my classroom from the first day of school up until the last week of the semester. Unlike most student teaching experiences, where student teachers act as a teacher’s aid for about three weeks and slowly become the sole teacher in the room, I began the year as the sole teacher in the room.

I expected student teaching to be challenging and it truly was. Every day was different from the one before. I was not working with co-workers who were older than I was. I was working with 25 teenagers whose success was based off of my ability to teach them in a way in which they could understand and comprehend complex content. Students would either walk into my class having a great day or having an awful day. No matter what type of day, I needed to adjust my teaching so they could have every opportunity for success.

Student teaching in the high school challenged me. There were days where I was pushed outside my comfort zone, but that is what a good internship is supposed to do. I was forced to use all of my resources and rely on the information learned in every education course I had taken at Elmira College. Student teaching was no walk in the park, but it was worth it.

Looking back, I learned more than how to not become upset when you spend hours planning a lesson only to never use it in class. I learned more than how to think on my feet when a lesson was not working and make the transition seamless. Most importantly, I truly learned the impact you could have on a child. I learned how much fun it was to teach 25 teenagers at once if you worked to earn their respect. I learned how quickly you could care for so many different types of students. I learned just how easy it was for the most obnoxious and troublesome student to become your favorite student.

Through my student teaching internship I learned that teaching is not just about the content, or the Common Core Standards, or the lesson planning, but teaching is about the rapport you build with students. Student teaching taught me that if a student trusts their teacher then they are willing to work twice as hard and achieve triple as much.