To continue our trend from the week, we have another student teacher sharing thoughts about his first marking period in the classroom. Here are some things that surprised him as he began teaching:
- Changing methods and strategies once the lesson has actually started is a common occurrence. Keeping overall objectives in mind is extremely useful for in-the-moment responsive teaching.
- Students are much more receptive/responsive to pop culture references than I expected. It may be more of a challenge for me to create relevant connections to our current lessons than I thought, but the payoff in student engagement is worth it.
- Dealing with the “human” side of teaching is easily twice as important as dealing with the content side. Learning the psychology of students is essential. They are complicated and there is always more to them than meets the eye.
- Students don’t often work/think anywhere near the way you did as a student. They often have vastly different value systems and work ethics, and trying to apply my own viewpoint to their logic is occasionally less than useful. Trying to figure out what motivates students (and what doesn’t) often requires a significant shift in perspective.
- Students will sometimes bring more to the table than you ever would have imagined, but you would be doing them a disservice not to expect that. (Kind of a logical paradox but it makes sense in my head.)
James Sumereau is an intern and former student at State College Area High School in Central Pennsylvania, currently teaching Advanced Placement Literature and College Prep English 11.