Hello! My name is Amanda Gagné and I student taught the past semester at Conrad Weiser Area High School in Robisonia, Pa with Mr.Adam Serfass. I was lucky to be able to teach half a rotation of 7th and 8th grade agriculture with Mrs.Tabitha Meredith at the Middle School and then 2 sections of Introduction to Ag and 2 units in the Current Topics in Agriculture Class at the High School.
I had a ton of take aways from student teaching. I was able to work with a great team from the middle and high school science department at Weiser and was able to see myself growing each week. In this blog I will highlight the 3 key take aways from my time at Conrad Weiser.
1. Be flexible: Just like us, students have a ton of things going on in their lives. Bending to a certain degree is really important. If I cannot show my students I am flexible then how can I expect them to be flexible with me? Flexibility also comes into play with other teachers, events and other activities in the school. I should want the students to be engaged with other activities of the school and encourage that instead of being a stickler on some work because they might be away.
2. Engage with others: My program might be me as the sole agricultural teacher. I cannot do everything and need to be able to work with others in the building. In addition, I am not the only teacher my students interact with on a daily basis. It is better for everyone if I work with other teachers in the building to provide the best support to students. Colleagues in the building provide assistance in my class, to my students and working with them provides a great sense of community in the building. I should try at least once a year to co teacher with another teacher in the building. I saw while student teaching how Mr.Serfass connected the photography students into a FFA event we did to give them experience of filming an event. It is small connections like those that help create a stronger program and school community.
3.Change is good: I plan to actively seek professional development to help myself grow as an educator. We are always seeing new and emerging ideas in education. I need to be okay to step out of my comfort zone and try them. Something that Mr.Serfass tells his students with SAE is "The sky is the limit." I think that is one quote from him that will stick with me in my own class. There are obviously some barriers when trying to do things in my classroom but, I won't know till I try. There usually is a way to modify my ideas to get a similar outcome.
My experience as a student teacher at Conrad Weiser was incredible. I stepped far out of my comfort zone at times and tried new things. I also got some experience of teaching online due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. I gained a ton of experience and got to work with a great group of individuals. I am beyond excited to now embark on my own journey of my first year teaching.
Amanda M Gagné-Penn State Teach Ag 2020.