My experience student teaching has been a roller coaster of highs and lows. But the high points of my student teaching experience combined with the climb to those points have made the experience an excellent learning experience.
My experience started at National Convention with my students. Between the one on one exploring the career show with my students to being scared at the haunted asylum I was able to start building relationships with my students. These relationships proved to be critical when I started in January.
In January I started with the 2 elements classes which are composed of primarily 9th grade students. Before I started fully teaching that course during my observation week I got to start building relationships with my students through helping them with their record books. The following week I got to start with dairy cows breeds and judging. It was a scary experience because I was worried the students would find out that dairy animals are not my strong point. I was also worried about just getting through the material and meet the objectives. Together my students and I struggled through my first lessons.
Quickly classes started to pick up and so did the school activities. We had the seminar with Penn State, county and state record book contest, National FFA week, ACES, SLLC, Banquet, School Musical. It was a hectic schedule but it was an awesome learning experience. I quickly learned the names of the students and took time to get to know their interests, which helped a great deal in classroom management.
One of my favorite courses to teach was food science and biotechnology not because of the subject but the students. It was my smallest class of 8 students and each one had a different personality. I had the quiet co-op student, the two students that constantly argued (just for the sake of arguing), then I had the seniors with senioritis. I think the most impactful day of student teaching was during my food science class my two gentlemen that want to talk and argue over everything worked on my last nerve. They were about to be sent to the hall when my senior spoke up and told them to shut up because I actually knew something about this class, and he wanted to hear what I had to say. He at the time was unaware that I heard his comment but it proved to me even though he suffered from senioritis my students really care about learning.
Overall, my experience at Northern Lebanon from National Convention to Public Speaking to SLLC and ACES. Everyday was a new experience and I had the unique experience of being in a program strong in animal science and leadership. I loved my placement and couldn’t ask for a better mentor or experience. The students were wonderfully unpredictable and always full of joy (even on our bad days). This experience has taught me a lot about teaching and why I have made the choice to be an agriculture educator. It’s not an easy road it’s not for the faint of heart but those who are as passionate about their students as they are about agriculture.