Over the past 12 weeks, I have gone through an experience I will not forget. Throughout my college career, I have been working towards getting to the light at the end of the tunnel. It took a long time, and was definitely a roller coaster ride to get to this point. All in all, I had an amazing experience teaching and all of the other stuff I went through was just in the past.
I was a special candidate, being able to split up my time student teaching between a high school classroom and then non-formally at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. I was nervous, because I had no idea what was going to happen, and where I would fit in most. Both teaching sites were completely different, and I can even begin to explain the differences. While I was in the classroom, I taught some subjects that I had no previous knowledge about. I took those classes and did my best to stay ahead of the students so it seemed like I knew what I was doing. Throughout the whole experience, my cooperating teachers were supportive and gave me great advice to motivate me to teach the content and not be nervous to what would happen. They were amazing at showing me what can happen when you focus on student rapport and building a community with the students. I was so thankful to have such experienced teachers as my mentors, with a combination of over 45 years teaching I couldn’t go wrong. It was a sad day to leave my students, because I was just finding my stride in the classroom, but I knew I had other teaching on my horizon.
Switching to Shaver’s Creek was like a culture shock to me. I came in the first day and everything was so much more relaxed than I was used to. For a while I was not sure what was going on. I was so used to just being in a routine everyday and just running around like a chicken with his head cut off. But I accepted that because Ag teachers don’t really have time to relax, because they are so involved. But, now I was in a different setting and there were other priorities than a classroom. Throughout my internship at the center, I probably did 10 different teaching settings. There were guided nature center visits, sensory walks, Outdoor School, festivals, traveling bird shows, school programs, and many others that broadened my horizons. I gathered so much on facilitation and non-formal education that I didn’t previously know. I also had a great mentor teacher in George Vahoviak, another long time teacher in Ag Ed and Environmental Sciences. My time at Shaver’s Creek was very worthwhile, and I can honestly say my Ag Ed certificate being K-12 will not be a problem for me because I taught students from opposite spectrums, and even some in the middle.
This experience was one of a kind and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I feel this internship fit my personality, and I was able to view both perspectives so I could make a decision down the road on what I want to do in the future as a career. I do know that I want to be in education, and teach students. I feel so accomplished as a educator and really feel like I am making a difference in student’s lives. This internship has affected me greatly and I will always remember my time at both teaching sites. I don’t know where my future will take me, but I am very confident in my abilities because I my student teaching experience and my mentor teachers who provided me with guidance and support that every student teacher should have.