They are big, bad, and scary; they are loud and all-knowing and ready for battle. They are middle-schoolers.
About three weeks ago, I began my early field experience as a student teacher, and boy has it been wild.
I was placed at Countryside School. Each Tuesday, I make the 15-minute drive up Kirby to observe a seventh- and eighth-grade social science classroom. Before I get into my experience thus far, let me give a bit of background on Countryside itself.
Countryside is a private K-8 school located in Champaign. There are about 60 students per grade level, which makes for small class sizes. The teachers focus on hands-on learning and project-based learning. And the best part of the school? The students, of course! When I say these students want to learn, you better believe it. Of all the middle schoolers I’ve seen, these kids, above all, want to be more informed. They focus on current events, politics, and ways to better the world we live in. They truly are wonderful.
My first week at Countryside was intimidating. It was my first time in a field placement, and I had to quickly learn the ropes. Luckily, my cooperating teacher (the teacher whose classroom I am observing in) is helpful, patient, and loves teaching. I have begun participating in small group activities with the students and am working up to teaching a few lessons myself.
If I had to give advice to anyone looking to enter the College of Education, I would tell them to absolutely give education a try. Even if there is the smallest sliver of interest—do it. Being in the classroom will only reinforce your love for teaching and all of the reasons that drove you to teaching in the first place.