Welcome to Student Teaching: Working Full Time (and then some) Without Pay
One day is a high.
My lesson plan is BRILLIANT.
The objectives match the students’ needs. Everything connects seamlessly with everything. The group work had well balanced groups; shout out to the valedictorian who helped the meanest girl in class – even past the point where I would’ve dropped it! And then there was Jessica, the gal who claims to hate people (note to self: lovingly debunk that later): she turns out to be a patient, kind partner to Elliot, the outsider who deliberately pushes people’s buttons. Perfect pair. Who knew?
One day is a low.
It’s dark, bleak, and dreary.
And I wandered weak and weary….
Everybody is sopping wet.
Public transportation fails.
That one clique is just RUDE;
Why? Why? Why?
Why does it take so long to do a five minute set-up task?
Why didn’t that go as planned?
Why is the wifi crashing AGAIN?
Why is education pushing to incorporate technology when our lessons go to shit because we depended on using the wifi?
Why are we depending on technology? What was wrong with the physical act of writing with a paper and pen, goddamnit?!
One day is overwhelming.
There are whole schedules to understand – not just yours.
There are whole worlds to know – you are only getting a glimpse.
There are whole pedagogies, philosophies, styles, strategies to explore further.
There are histories to be aware of and keep in mind. Where is that student coming from? Has your school already tried this? Did it work?
There are maddening, non-sensical “rules” to navigate around. You’re new, you’re young, you’re here to learn… you can’t possibly have new ideas to contribute yet.
One day there’s not enough.
You’re twiddling your thumbs.
You’re itching to be involved – to get into the action.
You want to be invested.
You want to know these students.
You are dying to be in the thick of it – to be in the mess.
To be figuring it out in real time.
And yet, this –teaching– is exactly the roller coaster I’d get back in line for over and over again until the park closes.
Then, one day, you’ve flown the nest. You’re approved. You have a piece of paper and some test results that say you know stuff and are capable of teaching stuff.
And now you have to find a paying job.
(Please hire me.)