Although my student teaching is over, I'm counting myself really blessed to have had this opportunity to have served the students at Derry Area High School for the last 60+ days. Additionally, I am blessed to have had the privilege of working alongside of two amazing mentors, Mrs. Rippole and Mr. Campbell.
It upsets me that this experience has ended, and my days with my students at Derry are over. However, I am feeling relieved because I made it. I made it through the most challenging and testing semesters of them all. I feel like I have finally made it to the top of Mt. Everest!
This student teaching internship has taught me an immense amount of lessons in 15 short weeks. Here are my TOP 5 lessons from this experience that I believe are important to remember:
- Be Passionate … Passion drives learning. It's the why we're doing what we're doing; the where we're going, where we've been conversations that help establish rapport and aid in student success and motivation. Do not shy away from sharing your FFA or Ag related experiences.
- Be Purposeful … Along with passion, make sure that learning is purposeful. Always hit the ‘why’ in your lesson. Additionally, build curiosity and wonder! The experiential learning that uniquely happens in the agriculture education classroom is so powerful and helps add to this continual learning.
- Be Prepared … Be prepared to have long nights and very early mornings. The diversity of this job is crazy. Additionally, be prepared for the unknown. Although you can plan for multiple different outcomes, know that it will not always go as planned. Flexibility and adaptability are key to success (& deep breathing).
- Be Inclusive….Every student deserves a champion. Every single one, regardless of their background, regardless of their ability level. As my cooperating teacher shared, “When you graduate with a degree in education, you also graduate with a minor in cheerleading.”
- Be Innovative … Technology integration is important and is changing the way that we can deliver content. Sometimes it doesn't work, and sometimes students don't want to utilize it. However, do not shy away from utilizing new innovative technology in the classroom because you are preparing your students to be 21st century contributing members of society.
I obviously have learned much more than just five things. This has been the most challenging, growing, and amazing semester. However, if this semester could have taught me one thing, it would be that I am ready to start my journey as an Agriculture Educator. As I mentioned before, there were plenty of days in this journey where I questioned if I really had what it takes to serve students as their agriculture educator. Some days I left Derry exhausted and overwhelmed, but most days I left smiling because I love what I do. It is true when they say, when you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. This profession and all the things that come with it are completely WORTH IT!
Overall, I really do consider myself blessed to have had this opportunity to watch and contribute to my students' growth and success. Additionally, I count myself privileged to be joining a profession with a nationwide network of passionate agriculture educators to help provide mentorship along the way.
Learn more about my 15 weeks at Derry Area High School through my blog: http://rootedinagriculture.blogspot.com/