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Next Best Thing to Student Teaching?

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Savannah Vittatoe Savannah Vittatoe 1055 Points

Hello! My name is Savannah and I am getting ready to graduate from Tennessee Tech University with my master's in curriculum and instruction. My bachelor's degree is in nursing, but my goal in going back to school is to become an elementary school teacher. I had planned on working towards my degree + licensure through student teaching. However, we were just recently relocated to Florida and I have had to drop the licensure component, which means I will miss out on student teaching. I have discussed two options with my advisor: 1) I can look into certification programs in Florida after I graduate and complete their requirements, which would allow me to student teach (but would also mean more money, time and possibly classes depending on what they require) or 2) I could begin teaching through a job-embedded program and obtain my certifications within the given time frame. 

I am curious if anyone else has been in a situation similar to this and if so, do you have any advice on which route to take? If option 2, what advice would you give on gaining experience prior to starting in the classroom since I will miss out on student teaching. I just want to make sure I am fully prepared and not overwhelmed my first year in the classroom. Thanks! 

Alecia King Alecia King 1505 Points

Hello Savannah, I was looking through the questions on the different forums and ran across your post.  I am currently in the TTU embedded program teaching 5th grade. So, I might can offer a little bit of advice. (We may be in the same class 6400-500. I think that I remember your name.)

First, I want to start out by saying that it was very overwhelming to me in the beginning.  I thought that I had to know it all and apply everything that anyone told me.  But, then I remembered to breathe! The first thing you will need to do is learn your students.  Take the time to learn them, not just names, but actually learn something about them. Students will learn better if they trust you and know that you care.  The students do not learn the same day or even the same way, so breathe and keep teaching.  Be consistant and follow through, especially with behaviors. They need and want the structure. 

If you get the chance to sub, go for it as soon as possible. I came from a long line of office work, but along the way, I subbed when I could for various grades. This helped to narrow down the grades that I liked and didn't like.  Go observe as many classes as you can on different subjects and take lots of notes.  I know with covid restrictions, this may be difficult, but you can also get observations via video.  Ask questions too! (I have been doing this a lot this year.)

I watch a lot of youtube videos too on teaching certain areas.  (right now, it's small groups for me) Just always be open to change.  That's the one thing that I have learned this year, no day is the same. The short weeks, out of school early, etc. really messes with me. But, I have to remember to just go with it.  The students follow my lead, so if they see I'm frustrated, they will be too.  

This NSTA and other forums can give a good inside look at the classrooms.  Hope this helps a little!  Good Luck!

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