By MAGGIE MEDETZ – With most colleges and universities having fully online classes throughout the semester, it has been a challenge for many students to get fully in-person experiences relating to their prospective degrees. This is especially true for education majors and student teachers.
Student teaching is an exciting time for college students and it provides them a quality experience that they can use in future teaching roles.
With observing host teachers, preparing lessons and teaching, as well as completing other schoolwork, student teachers have a lot on their plates.
A new stressor and damper has been put on all of this thanks to the current pandemic. Because of the hybrid model, new challenges put restrictions on what student teachers can and cannot do.
“The biggest challenge that I am facing right now as a student teacher is making personal connections with the students which would normally occur during face-to-face class,” explained biology student teacher, Ms. Mary Heiple. “I have been trying to find more ways to get students engaged in the material regardless of whether they are in-person or virtual.”
Personal connection and the student teacher-to-student relationship is something that many students look forward to when having a student teacher in the classroom, and many students are noticing that difference this year.
“I really enjoy getting to know the student teachers. They are younger than other teachers so it makes it easier to connect to them,” noted senior Olivia Peters. “I am only coming into the school two times a week, so I’m not able to see the student teacher as often. This makes it much harder to get to know them.”
In the Family Consumer Science and history wings of classes, this challenge is present along with many others.
Family and Consumer Science student teacher Ms. Hope Kiehl shared, “The biggest change is limiting the number of the students in the lab. It is very possible that on any given day I have three groups of students completing three different tasks due to COVID regulations and restrictions.”
“It can be challenging to divide my attention between the online students and those in the classroom, but I think that Mr. Neil and I have made great leaps in bridging that gap and creating a great classroom for all of our students,” said Mr. Evan Marino, a student teacher in the history department
Despite these setbacks, however, there are a lot of positives that student teachers are able to pick up on that are making their experience at IHS a positive one.
“I am so glad that I am student teaching in a unique time such as this,” continued Marino. “My favorite part about student teaching at IHS is seeing my students! It has been my absolute pleasure to get to know my students and be there for them as they explore social studies and develop their skills.”
“On a positive note, I have learned a plethora of new technologies that I will implement in the future,” mentioned Kiehl. “Edpuzzle is my favorite new tech tool.”
Many students are missing the usual student teacher experience, but they are still able to reflect on their favorite parts of having one in the classroom.
Freshman Charlie Weber expressed, “The best part is being able to have help from two different teachers.”
“Having a student teacher is fun for many reasons,” voiced freshman Anna Buterbaugh. “They are closer to our age and I feel like they understand us more than our normal teachers.”
Several students don’t realize all that goes into student teaching; in addition to being full-time college students, student teachers are tasked with planning for and teaching a real class for one of, if not the first, times.
IHS students should plan on creating a welcoming environment for the new student teachers to help make their experience a positive one despite the circumstances.
[Photo by Maggie Medvetz]
Photo Caption: “Student teacher Mr. Evan Marino preparing lesson plans.”
Maggie is a senior and first-year reporter for the High Arrow. She enjoys playing tennis for the high school and being part of the IHS dance team. She is excited to start reporting for the High Arrow.