Student teaching offers real classroom experience

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Student teaching offers real classroom experience

With graduation just a few months away, many senior education majors are in the midst of fulfilling one of their degree requirements—student teaching.

Student teaching allows students to apply what they’ve been studying to real-life teaching situations in a classroom.

Jordan Walraven, a senior mathematics education major, completed her student teaching last semester at Eastside High School in the Greenville County Public School System.

Walraven was in a flipped classroom, meaning the students would watch informative videos outside of class and then complete guided practice activities inside the classroom.

Walraven said she learned much from this flipped classroom structure since it was not the traditional setting.

She assisted her mentor teacher by taking attendance, answering questions and making sure the students were on task.

For Walraven, student teaching was like drinking from a fire hydrant.

“But you learn to teach by experience,” she said.

As of the first week of February, Walraven had already received 11 job offers.

Walraven said one of the questions she was asked the most frequently throughout application processes was whether or not she had a learning spirit.

As a teacher, Walraven is always going to be learning.

To grow, she evaluated her own performance. She asked questions about how to improve or how to approach specific issues in the classroom.

Walraven tried her best to go above and beyond what was expected of her in order to get the most out of her student teaching experience.

She arrived 45 minutes early to be available for the students if they had questions and stayed in the classroom during lunch break to connect with the students.

As a student teacher in  a public school,  Walraven had opportunities to be a testimony to some unbelievers.

Walraven’s mentor teacher appreciated her kindness and was impressed by the love she displayed in spite of different lifestyles and beliefs.

“I shared my testimony by how I acted and how I treated her,” Walraven said.

Alex Shaeffer, a senior English education major, said he taught high school seniors during his student teaching experience.

“The best experience I’ve had so far is connecting with the students,” he said.

“Connecting with them makes it easier to show them that you really do care about their education and their personal goals in life.”

Another English education major, Austin Barker, completed his student teaching last semester.

As a post-graduate student with a family of his own, Barker said student teaching was a blur.

Aside from academic responsibilities, Barker is also the minister of music at his church and, during his student teaching experience, his fourth child was born.

“[Student teaching] was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Barker said.

But he learned that God can give grace to get you through anything, he said.

What Barker remembered the most about his student teaching was his wife’s support throughout the busyness.

“It’s a tribute to the grace of God and my wife,” he said.