Kellie Claflin

Wisdom of a Student Teacher

Blog Post created by Kellie Claflin on May 19, 2011

My teeth must know that I’m a wiser person now that I’m almost finished with my student teaching. Twenty-four hours after I crossed the stage at graduation, my wisdom teeth decided to try to make an appearance. Uff da.


Sunday on my drive back across Wisconsin from River Falls, I spent a lot of time thinking about wisdom - both the teeth and knowledge types. A couple weeks earlier during our FFA banquet, I was honored to be able to say the advisor’s part in opening ceremonies. Saying “here by the owl” for the very first time was a pretty neat experience. Even though I have been in the classroom and helping out with FFA activities since the end of January, it really set in that I’m an ag teacher. I think that opening ceremonies really does hold true, because I do “hope that my advice will always be based on true knowledge and ripened with wisdom.” Especially on those days when I feel like I’m not quite sure what end is up! Thankfully, those days are getting fewer and farther between, even though the day in the life of an ag teacher is never dull. It’s amazing to think about how much I’ve grown both in and out of the classroom. There have been good days, days when I think I’m crazy and days when I just can’t help but laugh.


The greenhouse class I am intern teaching (meaning that I have the class 100% by myself – no cooperating teacher) has made sure that I have learned a LOT over the past semester. And as much as they drive me up a wall, they are some of the greatest kids I’ve ever met. There ingenuity is really what amazes me day after day – especially as we’ve been working in the greenhouse. One of the major projects that the students took on was cleaning our aquaponics system since all the fish had died earlier in the year, or so we thought. About a week ago, after draining most of the water out of the tank, the students found a tilapia that was still alive. This poor tilapia made a tour of the school before finding a new home in a fish tank in the ag room. Sadly, our poor tilapia didn’t make it through the night and the next day in class I asked a couple of gentleman to dispose of our fish friend. By the end of class, the fish was buried in the back of the school complete with a cross that said, “Here lies the S.S. Minnow, Our beloved fish,” and flowers marking its grave.


Through all these experiences, the biggest piece of wisdom that I have gained is that there is always somebody wiser than you. I’ve been blessed with two wonderful cooperating teachers that support me and give me advice on teaching, interviews and life. I’ve also had great university supervisors and professors that remind me to not be so hard on myself and that I’m on the right path. I know that in my first years of teaching the biggest thing that I will need to great mentors and support. I’ll need somebody to listen to me vent and share their own experiences. It’s nice to have that reminder that great teachers didn’t just spring from the womb – they went through trials and tribulations too. (At least that’s what I’m hoping is true )