One of the things that I want to encourage teachers to do is try new things. Be bold in your teaching and get out the box and away from that “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. I am constantly challenging myself to try new things and improve my craft. This year I did something I’ve never done and never thought I would do. I opened our classroom to a student teacher! Ya’ll, I wasn’t sure what to expect and honestly, giving up control made me a little nervous. I mean…it really scared me. Especially at the beginning of the year.
Thankfully, my student teacher was a blessing! Alexia showed up on that first day ready to work and learn and she was never afraid to jump in and do what needed to be done. She adored the kids and they adored her. She wasn’t afraid to look at her teaching and find ways to improve and she wasn’t afraid to share ways that I could improve! Alexia will definitely be a shining star in teaching and wherever she ends up teaching will be lucky to have her. (If it’s up to me, she’ll be teaching on my team!). And yes, we rocked our first day matching outfits…totally on accident. In fact, I think we accidentally matched outfits a few times.
So, to Alexia, I say thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone and making me a better teacher. And more importantly, thank you for becoming a great friend!!
Here in her own words, are Alexia’s thoughts on being a student teacher in my class!
Student teaching for Mr. Greg….Where to begin?! The first day I walked into his classroom we were color- coordinated in matching pastels (complete and total accident but we had a good laugh at it), it was the first day of school with kids pouring in with excitement, and I had no idea what to expect. As a graduate student, I naturally did my research on Greg, his ways, his blog, his social media following, his YouTube, etc. I wanted to be fully prepared, as I had heard so many gleaming comments about him.
His classroom is vibrant, inviting, and most of all, completely and entirely for the kids. There isn’t one thing that you can pick out that does not have meaning for his students. As I met each student and developed a relationship with them, his class became more than just a student teaching experience. I genuinely, whole- heartedly, adored these children. They would tell us their stories, laugh with us at lunch (we ate with them every day), draw silly pictures of us walking our dogs, and look up to us as a beaming ray of hope in their lives.
Kindergarten, I grew to learn, is the utmost foundation of the beginning of a child’s academic career.
This is the place they grow, play, experiment, and establish their grounds as a student as well as an individual. Each of Greg’s students had such a unique personality, and this was not by chance. One of the best parts of being in Greg’s class beyond the instruction, differentiation, and research- based application, was his ability to unravel each student’s personality. Many children at five- years old are very timid, shy, and introverted individuals. While there are definitely some that are outgoing and ready to take on the world, that is not always the case. Greg allowed each of his students to be themselves, with no boundaries, and no molds to fill. As a student teacher starting my career, this was SO refreshing. Kids are kids, and many times teachers can forget that.
His students were a unit, a family of sorts, which operated very differently than many other kindergarten classes I’ve seen. From the beginning, there were high expectations, and Greg made it very known they were more than capable to meet them. He never wanted to let them down, and coming to work every day was more than an obligation, but a purpose.
Student teaching for Mr. Greg was a fantastic experience. I often have to remind him of a steady weakness that him and many teachers share alike: take more time to yourself! He is so dedicated to his students, and we have shared a lot of memories throughout the last semester. Not only have become a great team, but great friends.
Thank you for reading about my experience, and if you ever have the chance to visit Mr. Greg, it is a great opportunity!