I’m currently in my student teaching semester and I truly don’t enjoy it. There are lots of things I don’t like about teaching in a K-12 setting, but I think the main reason is that I miss college life.
First and foremost, I spent three and a half years in my program on campus, rarely going anywhere during the day except for the occasional observation hours, so it’s all I know. Being on campus is routine and what I’m used to doing—going to class, eating at the dining hall, seeing friends constantly, and going to rehearsals and evening concerts. When I was suddenly moved off campus for student teaching, it threw me off my game. I am still involved in a handful of campus ensembles and organizations while student teaching, but being away from my friends, standard classes, and resources every day has put a strain on me. It was a really difficult adjustment period from taking classes to teaching classes.
Being off campus made me realize how much I valued the time I spent rushing around everywhere. I was constantly doing different things—my weekly schedule had no consistency minus class and most ensemble rehearsal times—and it made my weeks exciting. I had something new to look forward to every week. Don’t get me wrong, I had my moments of not wanting to go to my 8 a.m. Aural Skills class, staying up late to do an assignment, or working on group projects, but I always enjoyed the daily life of being a busy college student.
With student teaching, I’m barely on campus, and even if I have nothing going on in the evening, I have no energy to go and hang out with people or go to different events. Student teaching wiped me out of both time and energy. I don’t have time to delve into my creative passions, or feel refreshed. That could be because I don’t like what I’m doing. When I was just a regular college student, I felt like I had control over what I could do, and what I wanted to do with my time. As a student teacher, I feel held back, and since I don’t like what I’m doing, the feeling is even worse.
I guess this is why I’m going back for my master’s degree to work in a university setting. College kids come from so many backgrounds and experiences that it’s really refreshing to have a conversation with any of them, and it’s the one thing I miss the most. You can’t really have conversations with your elementary students, since that’s wasted time during a lesson. You also have to censor what you say, or else you’ll get an angry parent on the phone. With college students, you have office hours, time before and after classes, email, and so many other ways to converse, and it’s mostly free reign on what you talk about. I miss those conversations. I can’t wait to be back in higher education.