7 hours a day. 5 days a week. 15 weeks. 525 hours.
That’s how much time I have spent student teaching over the past semester. Most of my days throughout the second semester of my senior year were spent away from Chestnut Hill, from this beautiful campus, and from my friends. But despite my 10pm bedtime and my morning alarm at 6:15am, I wouldn’t trade this semester for anything, and here’s why!
1. It taught me about the “real world.”
We’re seniors in college, so this idea of the “real world” can be really scary. You know, working every day, paying bills, all of that. I may not have been paying my own bills, but I was working every day, working long after the school day ended to plan lessons and grade my students’ work. While my friends were going out on weeknights and sleeping until 2pm in the afternoon, I was in bed by 10:30pm to get a good night’s sleep before each day at school. Though I did miss out on a lot of traditional “senior” events, like weekly senior nights at MA’s, I loved having this structure, and I felt like it really helped me prepare for what life beyond college will be like.
2. It taught me so much about myself and taught me to be more confident.
I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to teach, but it was always something I worried about. Giving even a two minute presentation in front of a small class gave me so much anxiety, so how could I even fathom standing in front of a class of high school students staring at me for an entire class (unless, you know, they’re talking to one another instead of actually paying attention to a lesson)? And I’m not going to lie. My first few weeks after taking over my first class, I was constantly an anxious mess. I found myself wondering what I had gotten myself into, and I continually doubted myself about my lesson plans and my knowledge of the material. Over the course of the semester, however, I realized just how much more confident I had become. I developed my own style of teaching, grew more and more comfortable planning my lessons, and I genuinely loved it.
3. Most importantly, I love my students.
Teaching is hard, and this past semester, I’ve learned just how hard it can be – Standing in front of students for hours, trying to get them excited about something they don’t even remotely care about. I absolutely love history, but I also know that a lot of people (especially high school students) don’t like history. And it’s hard, standing in front of them, so excited, when I’m watching their eyes glaze over as we talk about the Second Great Awakening. But despite the fact that my students don’t all share in my love for history, I have absolutely loved working with them this past semester. There were days when I left school so frustrated with how a lesson went, but there were also days when I left thrilled with whatever had happened that day. And a lot of times, it was just the little things. Little moments with my students that helped me realize that this is what I’m meant to do. Having the student who has never said a word in class raise her hand and volunteer an answer. Helping the boy who is failing understand a concept with which he was struggling. I hope that I taught my students a lot this semester, but I know that they taught me a tremendous amount. I grew so much as a teacher because of these wonderful students I saw every day, and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to work with them.
So if you’ve ever considered teaching or looking into the education program at Boston College, I cannot recommend it enough. This past semester has reaffirmed to me that teaching is what I want to do. It has helped me prepare for life after college, to gain confidence, and to show me what matters the most to me in teaching. I spent 525 hours this semester student teaching, and every hour was worth it.