Sunday, May 15, 2011

How I Survived Student Teaching

Yes, I am back.  It took me two weeks of recovery from overloading my brain cells with science and teaching before I could think of posting with my blog.  Thank you, readers for your patience.  I knew that I would be walloped by teaching six science classes for three and a half months.  Thank you especially to my family for their assistance in getting me through what I consider the whirlwind of educational training, clinical practice.

Imagine, if you can (you non-science, non-educators) being subjected to an occupation that you've only read or heard about in a school setting.  Then you are told that you must perform the job for the next four months.  Unfortunately, you are not told the secret codes (students will text while looking down in their lap) or helpful hints (double check your PowerPoints for grammatical mistakes before posting them on the web) that would make student teaching all the more helpful.  In this clinical practice you are expected to command 120 students to learn, ask questions and be respectful of each other.  Ideally the clinical practice has good intentions, but I would add a few improvements to the experience.

Make sure that you eat, sleep and exercise well.!  None of those simple actions were mentioned in any of my orientation sessions.  I found that being under extreme stress, they were the three activities that kept me going.

Being on your feet for five hours straight (and I mean without sitting down once!) requires a lot of energy.  I made sure every morning that I loaded up on proteins like peanut butter, yogurt and Nutella.  I also took with me to school, nutritious foods like salads, oranges and chicken.  I discovered that I required a refueling that was low on carbs and high on protein with vegetables.

Now I wasn't perfect in my eating and I did depend on caffeine three times a day.  It's hard to be animated and excited at all hours of the day.  The extra caffeine in the form of diet soda and coffee assisted me in completing my educational to-do-list.

Sleep was essential for student teaching.  I found that if I had a ragged night, my teaching was tattered the following morning.  My challenge was getting up at 4:30 in the morning in order to be at school in time.  However, I made sure I was in bed by 9:30 each night.  Sometimes I was asleep earlier if I had a particularly problematic day.  I would try to catch up on my sleep over the weekends.  The extra hour or two that I snagged on Saturday and Sunday helped me to recharge and rest for the next week.

Exercise was nonnegotiable for my clinical practice.  The stress that I underwent was high and I could not envision being sedentary through it.  My EA Sports Active 2 got me through many a demanding day. My forty-five minutes a day sweating in the basement supplied me with enough stamina to withstand serving a detention or two.  Adolescents have an endless cache of exuberance, forty year olds do not.  Exercise was my amulet against fatigue and poor spirits.

Overall, I know I flourished and established some wonderful connections with my students and cooperating teachers.  My clinical practice was an extraordinary experience that I would not have been able to complete without:  my family, eating properly, sleeping decently and exercising appropriately.  I plan on continuing this approach throughout my educational career.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to have you back and blogging, Diane!