I’m back! And exhausted! For anyone who’s been following me since the beginning, you knew there would be a drum roll for this moment. Whether it’s undergraduate or graduate, full-time student teaching is the ultimate test: Is this what you want, and can you do it? That being said, I am now a senior in college, and I am now a full-time student teacher. Interestingly enough, a student teacher gets the same privileges as a certified teacher, except the own classroom and getting paid part. Actually, a student is paying to teach instead getting paid to teach. Funny the way that is.
Student teaching is no pleasure cruise. It’s actually the most challenging thing I think an undergraduate college student can do. Some may say that taking classes in a foreign country is nerve-wracking, which it may be, but nothing compares to learning to teach teenagers by doing the job. The worst part about it is that I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices for this semester of student teaching, as have many other student teachers before me.
I’ve constantly been thinking back to my original education plans. I had intended to go into special education originally, but the amount of time I would have to spend with elementary students deterred me from it, because i’ve always considered myself more comfortable with older students. Though teaching in South Africa changed that, I still do find a soft spot for special needs students. I got to observe a special education class at the high school where I’m interning and really liked what I saw.
That in mind, my next goal for my professional life is Teach For America. In January I can submit my application to the 2015 corps. There, I’m pretty sure I’m going to try to go into special education, one because it’s a huge plus if you’re willing to do it for them, and two because I do feel like those students are who I want to work with most. Getting through this semester is step one, and from there it only gets better.