Samantha Hessel, from Maribel WI. She will be licensed Special Education Cross Categorical Middle Childhood through Adolescence with an emphasis in learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate, and a Spanish minor. Her 18-week placement is taking place at Shattuck Middle School.
To begin with, I always thought I could prepare for the classroom and student teaching through my classes. This last week it truly hit me, NOTHING could truly prepare me for this except actually being in the classroom full time. These kids are my kids and I feel responsible for their education. There are not enough hours in the day to teach them everything I need to, which breaks my heart. But tomorrow I will get up again and try because there are break through moments where you feel you have truly connected with a student. There are other moments you could pull your hair out because they just do not understand what you are teaching them and it is so frustrating to know you haven’t done your job. This is what being a real life teacher is like.
In other words, I absolutely love my placement. The kids are great and I have a great team that I work with because that is what we are, a team. I am co-teaching with another student teacher from UW Oshkosh, along with both of our cooperating teachers. There are two educational aids that work with my kiddos and another specific learning disabilities teacher. We work together to provide the best we can. As I am writing this I am thinking of everything that goes on in the school day and how constant communication is key. My cooperating teacher created a binder for me when I came to the school and in her first paragraph she used the quote “It takes a whole village to raise a child” and she is absolutely right. Thursday one of our educational aids was home sick and it was tough without her because she had knowledge about classroom assignments that we didn’t.
Developing as a co-teacher has started off on a positive note I feel. I am lucky enough to have a co-teacher who wants to share the classroom with me and wants me to be an active part of the class, not just another person in the classroom monitoring behavior or taking on the role as an aid. In the beginning I took on a more of a secondary role, letting him be the leader. He spoke up and gave me the push I needed to become more of an active role in the classroom. We take on the challenges together and brainstorm how we can make things better or what needs changing.
I am teaching two sections of a reading mediation class and three sections of co taught eighth grade language arts. One of the things that drew me to special education was the fact I would be working on real life skills with my kiddos and not just one specific content area because I didn’t have a passion for one. I am drawn to academics and application of real life skills. Since I am teaching kids with learning disabilities I am working more with academics. Today proved I will be forever learning. Since I only teach language arts I do not attend any other classes with my kiddos. Not only do I miss out on that information, but my kiddos have a wide variety of teachers because they are included in the classroom. I had to quickly grasp the material in order to be able to assist my kids with their assignments. That was one of the most frustrating moments in this placement. I cannot be everywhere with my kids and I just have to help them the best that I can.