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Posted by Ka Apr 22, 2019

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15 Weeks. 6 classes. Over 50 student reached.


The past 15 weeks, I have been over 100 miles away from home, in a different state, living with strangers who have become family. The past 15 weeks, I was transformed from a Penn State Nittany Lion to a Boonsboro Warrior. Somehow, I am always drawn to the color blue.

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Throughout my time at Boonsboro High School, I have learned quite a lot not only about mysekf, but also about how Maryland Ag Ed is so different than Pennsylvania Ag Ed and how I can marry thw two strong passions that I have between Ag Education and Special Education.


At the beginning of the week, I said goodbye to two of my classes as they began their next unit of instruction with Mrs. Cashell-Martin. As Thursday inched closer, I struggled with finding the right words to say and the right way to say see ya later to the students at Boonsboro High School. As the days grew shorter, I was overjoyed with the amount of support and encouragement from both the students and the staff at Boonsboro High School. The amount of hugs and "I'm going to miss you's" were endless. My life skills students wrote me a card and created a goodbye video for me. The officer team also gave me a gift stocked full of teaching materials that I can use in my future classroom. While many of the students walked away with tears in their eyes, I reminded them that I will be back for the banquet in May and of course, quoted one of my favorite sayings. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."


As I drove away from Boonsboro High School on Thursday evening, I was feeling overwhelmed with emotions. I wanted in the worst way to sit in my car and bawl over the lives that I'd gotten to touch and the memories that were made, but then this quote popped into my head. I began to reminisce on all of the memories that were made and think about how many of those memories will be with me for a lifetime and how many more memories I can make with my future students in my own program.


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When you ask me why I choose to teach, it's not because I love school because to be honest, I wasn't always the best student, it's solely because I love students and I love playing a role in the lives of students, especially students who may have a rough home life, or need a little bit of extra attention. I believe that all students deserve to have that one teacher who comes out to their sporting events, checks in with them at lunch, makes connections at the door before class begins, and notices when their having a rough day. I long to be that teacher.

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To wrap up my student teaching experience in just one blog post is nearly impossible. But, what I can tell you is that I have had an incredible time connecting with the students at Boonsboro. I have grown as a person, and educator, and a member of society. I have gained valuable content knowledge and teaching strategies. But what's grown the most is my heart and my passion for educating the future generation.


I cannot wait to return to Boonsboro in May for the FFA banquet and continue to grow and I dig deeper into the field of education and the content of agriculture. So, as you find yourself having to walk away from something that you love so much, "don't cry because it's over, but smile because it happened."


Once a Warrior, always a Warrior.


My time at Pequea Valley High School has come to an end. The past 15 weeks have been a journey with student teaching! I had the privilege to work with two amazing teachers, Doug Masser, and Jasmine VanSant. I have learned a ton from them and from the nearly 80 students I interacted with. 


I had a lot of fun with student teaching, but it wasn't all games and laughter. It was a lot of work! Every day I would do some sort of planning, grading, or reading all pertaining to student teaching. One of the biggest lessons I learned was the importance of staying organized. My first couple of weeks was a little chaotic because I didn't have a set way of staying organizes, but that quickly changed when I became aware of how you staying organize benefits your students!

Another great I learned was the importance of student rapport! Building those relationships in the first few weeks of you being there is crucial! By having a solid relationship helped me with classroom management and setting expectations. I can honestly say I had no behavior issues with the students and I think much of that is from building student rapport. The one thing I am going to miss most about student teaching is my students! 


Student teaching is a time where you get to experiment teaching styles! I was able to figure out what I like and dislike about teaching, and reflected on the type of teacher I would like to be in the future!


Student teaching is over, but the experience will last a lifetime!  

Student teaching at Greenwood Middle-High School with Michael Clark and Krista Pontius was truly an honor. Never have I met such dedicated, passionate and down-to earth people. I have learned so much about teaching from them, and the importance of putting you students and community first. I have met so many wonderful people who are equally driven towards student success and I am inspired to go forth and be the best agriculture teacher I can be. 


Aside from the lesson planning, the grading and general ins and outs of being a teacher, I have gained valuable experience in internship on being a positive advisor and mentor for my students. In addition to these things, I have learned many other things from Mike and Krista you may never find on a teacher evaluation. Some of my best life lessons from Greenwood-


Stop saying you can't, and start saying you will
Teaching is not easy, and not for the faint of heart. I am so fortunate to have had people who invested in me and helped me to grow. When I felt defeated, all I had to do was look at what I could control and start there.


It is the duty of the teacher to plant a tree in whose shade you will never sit in
I wasn't ready to say goodbye to my students. I hope to keep in touch with them through the years, but undoubtedly, you may never know the impact you've had on someone that has gone through your classes. You just love them while you have them and hope for the best.


You will never learn to lead, if you never learn to follow
Its been said, if you are the brightest person in the room, you need to meet new people. I was fortunate to have learned so much from Mike and Krista during my time at Greenwood. They are leaders in their profession, but you will never convince either one of that! They truly embody the sense of servant leaders who put those they have charge over ahead of themselves. They always lead from behind!


Teachers serve so much more than just their school
Mike and Krista never seem to catch a break. They have taught me how to be diligent in effort towards investing in your community. A good chapter is not without wheels. Greenwood's FFA is active in the community and the teachers make it their mission to serve their community beyond the walls of the classroom.


See a need, fill a need
If there is ever a job to be done, Mike and Krista are the first to raise their hands. From cooking food for an entire PAAE event, to picking up trash along the highway, to helping Mr. Rupert get his truck out of a ditch. Anytime there is a need, they are there to pitch in. I hope to carry the same drive for service into my professional journey as they do.


No Experience is a Bad One
I am someone who likes to stick with what they know. I've learned through my time at Greenwood that failure is an awesome teacher, and that even a bad experience is still experience. Mike and Krista are always willing to try new things, even if it doesn't turn out.


If you can't laugh, then what's the sense
We have had tons of those "moments" at Greenwood this year, all in signature Ryan Rupert fashion! We made it though with plenty of laughs, because if you can't laugh in life, then what kind of life are you living? This job can make you almost cry at times, but my hope is that it will always bring more smiles than tears.


Always make something better than when you found it
I had an ugly green shirt that I hated because it looked like a 1950s shower curtain to me. It was a pale and faded pistachio green dress shirt I got at a Goodwill store. One day, Krista got me a beautiful green and silver checkered tie that really makes the outfit. I appreciated the gift, but it really hit me. You can look at something and call it ugly, or you can make the best of it and perhaps it will turn out beautiful in the end.

My Final Thoughts on my Student Teaching Experience.

First, I didn't know that it was physically possible for 15 weeks to fly by that fast! I have learned so much in those 15 weeks that its hard to put it all into words.


I learned a lot of appreciation for how I want to be as a teacher in my future and also how I don't want to be as a teacher in my future. I learned that not all teaching styles are going to be the same and some teaching styles don't always blend together and that is okay. I gained an appreciation for student relationships and how vitally important that is as a teacher. I found the importance of setting expectations for your students and keeping structure. From this I also learned that students an only handle so many expectations and that some times they just need some extra help.

I didn't realize  how much of an impact the students have made on me. I appreciated what each student brought to the classroom and the importance of each of those dynamic. The student were the best part of my whole experience and with out their support I don't know if I could have had as great of an experience. All of my favorite memories are from watching my students success and grow, not just in the classroom and in their learning but in all aspects of them as a person and things they did outside of the classroom.


Student teaching was a whirlwind and I am happy to have the experience under my belt. 

The time has come that my student teaching experience has ended. I will tell you what, I loved every single minute of it. Even though there were some tough times, the students and the people who were there to support me made it all worth it. Whenever I started teaching I thought I was going to have to have a strict reign on my students to be able to have any type of classroom control, but after a week of teaching, I realized that wasn't the case. It is so important to allow your student's personalities to shine through (without being a distraction of course). In the begining, I also had my doubts. I wasn't sure I was suited to be a teacher. However, the more and more I worked at it the better and better I got. I went from having low confidence in myself to be ready to take on the classroom with pride and confidence each and every day. 

I know it's cliche, but it's so true, the best thing about teaching is the students. They all are so unique in their own way and getting to know each and every one of them had been a blast. There were students that would get in trouble in other classes, but I never understood it because for me they were some of my best students.

I am going to miss Juniata Valley so much, I was given so many opportunities there to grow, but it's time for me to move on and grow elsewhere in life. If I could go back and do it all again I would. Only to relive it though because there is basically nothing I would change about my student teaching experience.

If you would like to see my entire journey you can check out the blog I kept throughout my student teaching experience:



I had the privilege of student teaching at Dover Area High School under the supervision of Mrs. Alex Barzydlo, Mr. Pete Bowen, and Ms. Britney Marsh. I taught on 90 minute block scheduling and taught multiple units in Large Animal Science, Small Animal Science, and Ag Engine Care. 



Throughout the experience I planned to exercise and improve my teaching philosophy of relying on the three circle model of agriculture education, the community, cross-curricular collaboration, and real life assessments. The Dover Agriculture Program offered many things to learn from, including SAE visits, multiple state, area, and local FFA opportunities, and three excellent classes that I had the privilege of teaching.



In my experience, I have found I would encompass all of these items in my teaching philosophy to be surrounded in student rapport. Without student rapport, classroom discipline issues skyrocket. Students that feel connected to your or the material are more willing to work with you, once you have this leverage you can push through for the core three circle model and other influential piece of agriculture education. 



I am thankful for my students teaching me critical classroom lessons as I journey onto my first year in agriculture education. I am thankful for my cooperating teachers being patient with me and giving me excellent learning opportunities and freedom to learn from my mistakes. I am thankful for my university supervisor for giving me massive amounts of wisdom and advice from your years of experience to help a rookie out. I am thankful for my virtual mentors, who taught me from afar and coached me in a non-bias manner. Overall, I am thankful for student teaching and grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn and grow.



Check out my experience of student teaching in a week by week playback at!

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