From student to teacher: The lessons learned best through experience

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From student to teacher: The lessons learned best through experience

English teacher, Robyn Samuelson, helping a student in a discussion about their class readings.

English teacher, Robyn Samuelson, helping a student in a discussion about their class readings.

Lena Ahrens

English teacher, Robyn Samuelson, helping a student in a discussion about their class readings.

Lena Ahrens

Lena Ahrens

English teacher, Robyn Samuelson, helping a student in a discussion about their class readings.

Lena Ahrens, Social Media Manager

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At Pleasant Valley High School there have been many student teachers throughout the years. The majority have learned lessons that have had the potential to help them in their future teaching careers.

Some student teachers go on to teach at a different school from where they student-taught at, but some are able to get a job at that same school. For instance, Rachel Hart, a PV Spanish teacher, was a new addition to the World Language Department this year. 

Hart was a student teacher under Kathryn Buchter from Nov. 2018 to Feb. 2019. Being a student teacher and learning how to work in the classroom takes time and a lot of hard work. However, Hart enjoyed her time as a student teacher and learned a lot from it. “Being able to experience teaching through experience made me become a better teacher because I was able to learn different teaching strategies that work, how to teach new skills and how to create a positive classroom environment,” Hart stated. 

Robyn Samuelson, a PV English teacher, student taught for Don Fry from Sept. to Nov. 2018.

Samuelson also appreciated everything she learned from her experience while student teaching. “The best part about being a student teacher is getting to collaborate with other teachers; having another teacher give me in the moment feedback about my teaching style or the lesson is valuable,” she said.

Not only does student teaching provide an experience for the student teachers, but it is also a break in the monotony for the students. 

Maddie Einck had Hart as a student teacher. “She was super nice and because she was young and closer to our age compared to other teachers, I feel like she got along well with all the students and made us feel comfortable in class,” Einck stated. 

While student teaching can be a fun experience, it can still be a stressful process. 

Samuelson did her teaching practicum at the high school, and there were some days that were more difficult than others. “The hardest part about being a student teacher is teaching someone else’s lessons and figuring out how to best mesh with the cooperating teacher. As a student teacher, students were more likely to push boundaries and test their limits; especially towards the end when they knew I was leaving and had no more power over their grades,” Samuelson explained.

Hart and Samuelson both enjoy teaching and helping their students. Although it may not be easy all of the time, they still try their best to have good relationships with their students and ensure the best learning environment possible. “Being a good teacher is not easy even with practice and experience,” Samuelson emphasized. “Student teaching taught me that knowing my content is no more important than knowing my students.”

The experience these teachers gained from student-teaching at the high school has assisted in bringing joy to both the students and themselves. “I love being a teacher, and I absolutely love teaching at PV. The students and staff are awesome, and being a Spanish teacher is a dream come true,” expressed Hart.

As shown by the many student teachers that have taught at the high school, the overall experience of student teaching can be eye-opening for many forthcoming teachers. The journey of student teaching has shown new ways for teachers to impact and influence many students in the future.