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Being A Student-Teacher Isn’t Free Time

April 22
by
Maria Van Allen
in
Culture/Travel
with
.

My friends that are not education majors believe that my final semester in college is basically five months of free time.


After all, I am never on campus, and I do not have exams. Obviously my semester of student teaching is a breeze, right? WRONG.

Student teaching is basically three months of you paying college tuition to hold a full-time job that you do not get paid for, and even if you did get paid for it, the paycheck would be dismal.

To most people, it sounds like your basic unpaid internship- a natural right of passage for every college student. However, student teaching is beyond that.

It begins at an hour of the morning when it is still dark-before those annoying birds even wake up.

Then somehow in an hour and half, you find a way to look like an adult, disguise seven snacks as your lunch, and prepare your body for the day ahead the only way you know how-caffeine. But unlike college courses taken on campus, you step into school and have to be on it.

Good morning! Are you going to have a great day today? Walking feet, please! There is no grace period of waking up; there is no sitting in the back hoping not to be noticed.

As a student teacher, you are sitting in the front row, constantly raising your hand. And then there is the fact that you are in this weird student/teacher purgatory area, where you are still a student, but you want to be treated like a teacher, even though your students think differently.

There have been several momentous attempts to convince my students that they only need to be concerned with the “teacher” half of my title. It is hard to do when 22 fifth graders think they are the same age as you because you are not married with kids. Most likely, my five foot three stature makes me seem a little less intimidating.

And it definitely does not help that the area most UGA students do our student teaching in is overcome with poverty.

Despite America’s great attempts to educate our youth equally, I have only seen those attempts fail, even though I root for them with all my soul. However, I am going to transform those attempts into realities that allow students to be prepared for the world they will one day shape.

But as demoralizing as student teaching and education can be at times, 22 fifth graders have also taught me more than any college class ever has. Monday through Friday, free of any charge, you can see student teachers perform high energy and engaging routines for eight hours a day [plus or minus the 5 hours we spend before or after school] for an audience that is more interesting in “dabbing” than the Depression.


So the next time you think education majors have it easy with their Pinterest crafts and story time, remember that we are working at least 60 hour weeks trying to be a teacher, while still having the assignments of a college student, only to be paid in eye rolls, tears, middle fingers, and the occasional “OMG! I get it now! It was hard, but I get it now,” which makes it all worth it.


 

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