My student teacher wrapped up her time in my class yesterday. She was only required to attend for six weeks (and only once a week), but with her enthusiasm, patience, and care, she managed to touch my students’ minds and hearts.
I wrote previously about how unqualified I felt to have a student teacher. I was forthright in telling her this. Even as she walked out the door yesterday, I was unsure how much “wisdom” I imparted to her (mainly because I’m not too vast in the wisdom department yet). But I did try to make her feel welcome, give her varied opportunities for individual, small group, and whole class teaching, and share my philosophies and how they guide my professional life.
I was touched by something she wrote in a thank you card:
- I appreciate…and if anyone’s a true teacher, they would appreciate this too…I appreciate how you believe in your students and how you hate how they are sometimes pushed to the corner (and into a small room with a lot of heat and too much stuff).
This really touched me. Oftentimes, we become so wrapped up in the minutiae of the job and the pressure from above, that we lose sight of what our priorities should be. I strive not to let this happen, but sometimes it’s inevitable that it does. For someone who visited my class six times to say something like that is really special. It’s the true teacher who rises above it all to focus on the students.
I guess that would be my wisdom for student teachers embarking on the opening stages of their careers: Never forget that this job is, more than anything, about the students. I approach my work with that belief. When I’m pulled down by the working world’s cold realities, I try to remember that I’m in it for my students. Keeping that in mind helps me see a reason to put up with all the strife that comes with our demanding profession.
We’re in it for the students. It’s good advice for student teachers to hold on to, and maybe, it’s something for some experienced teachers to remember, as well.