My last classroom semester begins in 12 days (Aug 31st). I begin student teaching in January at a local (somewhat) urban middle school in a 7th grade World Geography class and will then transfer over to a (somewhat) rural high school in a neighboring county and student teach in a 9th grade World History class. I should add that I’m not crazy about either subject, but you can’t have your preferences most of the time. You take what you can get and make the most of it. Be flexible. “You improvise, adapt, and overcome” (to quote Clint Eastwood from Heartbreak Ridge). Which is really the only way to be in life. As my kids say, “you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit!”
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a final semester and moving on to student teaching. At the same time, I’m very nervous about it. Previously, there was not much to worry about. I joined the Army at 18 and served 21 years. Your future was pretty much decided for you. Oh, you had input as to where you would like to go and if you could pull strings you could get certain great assignments (which I did most of the time!). But I never had to be concerned about the future like I am now. Now I wonder if I made the right decision. Am I going to be a good teacher? Should I have done something else? What if I bomb in student teaching? What if I don’t get along with one of my mentor teachers (which is a distinct possibility in one case)? Should I have decided to teach something else or elementary grades? What if I don’t find a job? What am I going to do? These thoughts and questions plague my mind as I go into these final nine months.
Wow, nine months. I distinctly remember talking to my dad 24 and 36 months ago wondering how I was going to survive the coming months financially. Going to school when you’re young and single is one thing, but going to school when you’re married and have four children is a totally different thing.
But I want to be ready. I want to be so completely ready that when I do walk into a classroom, I’m moving in with lesson plans and ideas for the entire semester or so. My wife and I are already talking about buying storage bins and filling them up with supplies and stuff I will need as a teacher, locking them up and putting them in the garage until I finally get that first job. I’m looking at filing structures for curriculum and management. I’ve been bookmarking websites for the last two years that are educational or history related. Now I just have to get it all organized.
But I still am nervous, frightened even. I am much more comfortable getting up in front of 300 Special Forces soldiers and talking about terrorism and the latest intelligence than I am getting in front of 25-30 high school students and teaching them about how to “interpret a political cartoon involving the New Deal” (8.11) or some other lesson.
Well, I could make this post longer, but I won’t. Just a few quick closing thoughts. I’m taking either 13 or 16 hrs this semester. I’m interning at a local museum, working at the library, and will be conducting 30 hours of classroom observation as well at the schools where I will be student teaching. Additionally, I need to determine in the next week or so if I’m going to take two more PRAXIS exams (criminal justice & German) in September and in the next month if I’m going to take the GRE.
Anxious and Nervous.