Saturday, February 14, 2009

Where was my student teaching disclaimer form?

I just have to say that there should be a little disclaimer form that all student teachers should sign before they start. It should include phrases like: “I am prepared to go on one of the hardest, busiest, and most rewarding journeys of my life thus far,” “I have a personal de-stressing mechanism in place to help me deal with the extreme stress of daily life (exercise, kicking the wall, running wild across the soccer field – I personally prefer the last one),” “I know that at times this will be overwhelming, but I have a place and people that I can call to vent,” “I am prepared to sacrifice my evenings, weekends, and long breaks for preparing, planning, and grading – all for my students and their education,” and my favorite, “I am prepared to deal with an extreme lack of sleep.” I can see the form right now. It has a big red “DISCLAIMER” written at the top and a few lines at the bottom for my signature.

Honestly, though, this experience has been way more than I asked for, but in a really good way. I was not prepared for the extreme amount of time it takes to plan, grade, and prepare that it takes me. Part of it I know is what you make it – how long and how much you plan. But let’s face it, I am a student teacher who has not covered or even taught this material before. It takes me much longer to plan, get excited for class, and grade things than seasoned veterans like the staff in my department. At the same time I am so happy with where I am. Teaching at AHS has been such a blessing and an opportunity that I probably put a lot of stress on myself based on where I am at and who I am teaching with. However, when I get up at 4:40 am to start my day and went to bed the night before, after falling asleep for the fourth time while grading papers, I just want to say that I wished I had known what I was getting myself into. Maybe I could have prepared more mentally, maybe I could have prepared physically, or at least I would have valued sleep outside of the confines of student teaching. All of this does not discount how much I love teaching, how much I enjoy going to work, how much I enjoy teaching at AHS, the students I am working with, and the amazing staff I get to work with. I just wish that someone would have warned me a little more loudly. I know that Anne and Kristin said I would be busy, and I know that education department at Wartburg mentioned it once or twice, but the question still lingers in my mind: Where was my disclaimer form?