Posted in Miscellaneous

Jump or wade in?

I nervously pulled up to the school where I’ll be spending this semester student teaching. After a few deep breaths, I opened the door and went in. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect after walking through that door.  I had volunteered in classes before, but this felt different.  And so far, it has been.

In the first week, I’ve already been part of an interview for new teachers’ aides, seen part of the process of registering a new student, assisted in leading some of the classroom activities, and have observed how my mentor teacher teaches.

For me, these first couple of days have been great!  I have been able to learn so much by watching my assigned teacher.  But, what has been a great experience for me, might drive someone else a little bit insane.

Deciding if you want to student teach or do an internship can be a difficult decision. I like to think of it as learning how to swim. Some people learn best by being thrown into the deep end of the pool. For others, including myself, that is terrifying.  Others, like to wade in slowly, or start in the shallow end first. But for some people, that feels stifling.

Student teaching and internships have this same jump-in vs. wade-in dichotomy.  So, here I have listed some factors that may help you decide if you want to jump or wade into the waters of teaching.

Jump in to an internship!

  • Previous teaching experience is helpful

  • Learn best by doing

  • Want a full-year contract

  • Get paid (half pay of a non-intern teacher)

  • Your mentor teacher is more hands-off (not in the classroom with you)

  • Your class is all yours from the beginning!

    • Set your own rules and procedures

    • Design your own classroom

Wade in to student teaching!

  • Learn best by observing first

  • Finished in one semester

  • Support in the classroom

  • Gradually become the full teacher

  • Hands-on mentor teachers (in the classroom with you)

  • Try another teacher’s system

    • What you like

    • What you might change

There are a lot of great reasons to either student teach or do an internship.  Before you choose, make sure you look at what fits your personality and experience the best.  Also, your professors are another great source for advice.  Good luck jumping or wading in to student teaching!

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Author:

My brother was diagnosed with autism before I was born. So, disabilities have been always been a major part of my life. That's one of the reasons I'm studying Special Education at BYU. In my life, I've found people who haven't experience with people with disabilities are really nervous about people with disabilities. I've also found that the scariest thing in life is the unknown. So, I created this blog to help demystify people with disabilities by sharing experiences I've had, my perspective, and hopefully other people's perspectives as well. This blog is not meant to romanticize people with disabilities or mitigate the difficulties associated with being a human being (goodness knows, we all have our faults and can be difficult to live with at times--disability or not). But instead, I hope to show day-to-day experiences and long-term perspectives to give more information about people with disabilities.

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