A Bittersweet Break

MelissaMelissa Waltersfrom Milwaukee, is graduating with a dual major in special education and general education for first through eighth grade. She has had a life long dream of becoming a teacher. Her 18-week session is broken into two 9-week programs. Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary  for the first 9-weeks, and Bethune Academy for the second both in the Milwaukee Public School System.
My placement at OW Holmes was a whirlwind experience.  I can’t believe that my first nine week placement has come to an end.  It is bittersweet because although I was ready for a little break from the daily grind, it will be very difficult not going back to my students come Monday morning. They were very sad on my last day but I know that each of them know that they are special to me and that I will always remember them. I could not have imagined a better classroom or a better group of students for my first student teaching placement.

Reflecting on my first placement, I realized just how happy I am with my decision to pursue student teaching in the city of Milwaukee through the Institute of Urban Education.  While it hasn’t been without some difficulties, this urban setting truly feels like home.  Having lived my whole life in the metropolitan area before going to school in Oshkosh, I’ve always had a connection to the city. The experiences are very different than those I had in the Fox Valley, but the students are still great kids and the school are still doing all they can to be the best. For those who are interested in jobs in the Milwaukee area after graduation, I would implore you to seriously consider the IUE for your student teaching opportunity.

Some of the best experiences I’ve had while student teaching came through getting to know my students.  I had the opportunity to write many of their IEPs and attend those meetings.  In working to write an effective IEP, I completed different formal and informal assessments to write reasonable goals and and accurate Present Level of Academic and Functional Performance page.  I was also sure to make connections with each student to understand the best way to reach out to them throughout the school day.  Each student has a different background, different likes and different attributes that they bring to the classroom.  The best part about being their student teacher was finding those little unique qualities and targeting instruction to each child.

It was difficult to walk out the doors of Holmes on the last day of my placement, but if my next placement is anything like my first, I very much look forward to beginning my next placement at Bethune Academy.

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