As my final week student teaching comes to a close, it leaves me with many feelings. I have experienced the joy of several students succeeding at their CDE competitions, passing exams, and getting accepted to college. I have experienced the pain and frustration of back-talking, classroom banter and messes, and students not having the desire to succeed. All things considered, I leave this experience a better person on so many levels.
I was initially nervous when selecting my cooperating center. I was pretty open to going to any school, but obviously wanted to live close to home. I took the recommendation from Dr. Ewing and Dr. Foster to visit Gettysburg High School. I was lucky to be paired with a man named Shawn Abma, who teaches in a two-teacher department with Bill Tindall. He is a Christian man with a family and has a personality similar to mine.
As we mapped out what I would be teaching throughout the experience, I started to get more and more excited. I ended up with Ag Science, Environmental Science, Horticulture, Animal Science, and Small Gas Engines. Ag Science would be the class I carried the longest period of time, and was my favorite group of students. The material the course offered was very diverse as well. My worst class was environmental science. The material for this course was just as interesting as ag science, but the group of students in the class tended to misbehave quite a bit. '
To begin, I followed our pre-internship binder's recommendation of picking up 1 class each week. I admire those in the cohort who tackled the full course load from the start and carried it through the end. I remember the first day I taught my first class and how they didn't take me very seriously. The first day in each of my classes was usually a lot of murmuring and talking out. But things changed over the course of the semester and I established a nice relationship with each of my classes, even my more difficult environmental science class.
I have had the opportunity to go on several field trips with my school including several leadership conferences, ACES, SLLC, a strawberry farm, Taylor Greenhouses, a small local greenhouse business, the National Zoo right outside of DC, and to a stream to release our trout we have been raising. I got to take my private pesticide applicator exam with my horticulture class which was a fun way to learn along side my students.
I think my biggest personal accomplishment was ending my environmental science class on a positive note. There were times when I left that class and didn't even want to come to school the next day. Yesterday was my first day not having them in class. I saw a few of them in the hall today and they said "where were you today?" I told them, and a few of them said that I should come back which made me feel good.
At the beginning of the season I even helped with the baseball team, throwing batting practice and fielding ground balls. It was a good way to build rapport with students not even in any of my classes.
Through my experience, I was able to learn where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I still am unsure what I am going to do after I graduate, but if I am to go into the field of education I know I need to plan better, be more enthusiastic, stay on top of things, and above all be more organized. The teacher that I was inspired by in high school always said "organization is the key to success." He could not have been more right.
I will remember this experience and some of the individuals that played parts in it for the rest of my life. I am grateful that God helped place me here and for all of the help and support I have received from Mr. Abma, Mr. Tindall, other teachers in the building, the students, Dr. Foster, Dr. Ewing, Laura, and the rest of the Teach Ag '14 Cohort. Good luck to everyone in whichever direction they choose; not that any of them will need actual luck to succeed