Hello, my name is Abbie Smith, and this Spring I had the opportunity to student teach at Northern Burlington Regional Middle School and High School, with Dr. Robin McLean, Mr. Keith Dannucci, and Mr. Brian Hayes. During this experience, I spent the majority of my time with Dr. McLean teaching Agriscience 7, Agriscience 8, and CASE AFNR. I also taught Advanced Animal Science with Mr. Dannucci and I spent five weeks with Mr. Hayes and his Small Gas Engines class.
In addition to the teachers that I worked with directly, I got the opportunity to work with a great team of teachers, administrators, and staff at both schools. Each individual I had the opportunity to work with had something to teach me during the experience. Thanks to this varied experience I have a few different takeaways from my student teaching experience.
1. Be Proactive: By being proactive in my planning and other activities I will be better able to serve my students. I have made strides in my planning skills throughout my internship; however, I still have a way to go. By continuing to become more proactive I can ensure that I have all materials I need for my students and I will be able to request the space I need for different activities.
2. Familiarity leads to comfort: One big thing that I noticed is that the more familiar I was with a concept the more comfortable I was with presenting it to my classes. By taking different classes and courses through Penn State Extension I hope to gain more knowledge in the areas I have less background knowledge in. By doing so I will become more familiar with the concepts and more comfortable when teaching them. As I expand my own knowledge, I will also be better able to serve my students, since I will have a better understanding of topics and concepts, we discuss I will be better able to explain them and offer better resources to my students.
3. Don’t be afraid to reach out: In any career communication is key, this is especially true when you are working with people. By reaching out to people in your community, school, and other agriculture teachers you will be able to build relationships that can aid you and your students in their future trials. I know that communication is one factor that I have struggled with throughout my student teaching career. However, as I have moved forward, I have learned that I cannot rely solely on myself and my abilities. While they are key to having a good program there are many moving parts to having a good program, this includes the school staff and community involvement.
During my student teaching experience, I learned the value of each of these concepts. By fostering growth in these areas I hope that I will be able to continue to grow and improve as an individual and teacher.