In addition to supervising student teachers I also place my Schools and Society students in a classroom experience as part of their first Education course. Today, I spent four hours reading their journals of their first experiences as a teacher; for most of them, their first experience in a public school classroom not as a public school student. It's almost like the other bookend from student teaching and I can't wait to supervise my first student teachers who were also in my Schools and Society class.
Their journal entries are full of wonderful events, experiences and first impressions. One student shared how she wanted to raise her hand when the teacher asked the students a questions. Many students described how "terrified" they were driving to the school (they travel in groups so I can imagine the conversations in their cars!) until they reached their classrooms and the teachers and students welcomed them with open arms.
In their journals I asked them to respond to their first feelings about their first steps on the road to becoming teachers. Their responses were quite varied but for the most part it was an exciting and exhilarating experience for them. I reassured them that their nerves and worries were quite normal because this was something they wanted so much. It's so interesting how they mostly follow Fuller's Stages of Concerns model of socialization into the teaching profession. The first stage is one of survival, which is what they almost all go through during their first visit. It's the same in student teaching. They then become concerned about whether they are acting like a teacher, teaching properly and generally performing well. The final stage is their concern for the outcomes of what they are doing; are the students learning from them? Are they making a positive difference in children's lives?
The picture is of Matt Hadjun who came through our program at St. Mikes several years ago and is now teaching in a local elementary school and is one of our cooperating teachers. Life has come full circle for Matt.