BU student teachers go back to school

Meagan Malesic, Assistant Features Editor

     The spring semester is back and in full swing – but for some senior students at BU, it is their very first day of school all over again. For many education majors, spring semester of senior year means the beginning of their student teaching placements, and their first real glimpse into the inside of their own future classrooms. Student teaching is the peak of an education major’s undergraduate career, and it comes with its own set of new challenges and exciting experiences.

     Of course, as with any first day of school, it’s natural to be a bit nervous. “I’m probably most nervous about classroom management,” says Athena Kondos, a senior dual majoring in secondary education and English, who recently began her student teaching experience in 9th and 10th grade honors English classes at Danville Area High School. “I’m really not much older than the students I am teaching, so it might be difficult to establish my role as an authority figure and gaining respect.”

     However, despite the possible first-day jitters and concerns, student teaching is by far the most exciting part of an education major’s time as an undergraduate, and one that they look forward to for years. “I’m so excited to get to share my love of reading with my students and invite them to discover and explore their own love of it as well”, says Athena. Her excitement is shared by the many other BU students that are currently in their own student teaching experiences. Ashley Smith, a senior education and early childhood education dual major, shares: “I am most excited to become a better educator so that one day I can have a successful classroom of my own!” Ashley is currently carrying out her placement at two locations, a 3rd grade classroom at Liberty Valley and a Life Skills classroom for grades 5-8 at Berwick Middle School. Despite their very different placements, Ashley and Athena’s excitement for the experience ahead is very much the same.

     Another shared opinion that Ashley and Athena both have is the monumental role that BU played in preparing them to begin student teaching. It is no secret that the Department of Teaching and Learning is one of the best around – and education majors in the program are extremely thankful for that. “I think BU prepared me very well for student teaching. What prepared me the most was that I already had some field experience through a practicum in the Danville School District,” says Ashley, referring to the practicum that BU gave her the opportunity to complete prior to beginning her actual student teaching experience. “I am so grateful to have had such an amazing experience in practicum and I couldn’t imagine student teaching without it.”

     Student teaching certainly is not an easy experience – but it is a rewarding one. As the final step before managing a classroom as teachers themselves, education majors learn invaluable lessons within their student teaching placements. As seniors, they also know the best advice for other future teachers who are just beginning their journey to student teaching. “It’s important to stay on top of all of your fieldwork experience and education packets. As long as you take it seriously and stay proactive, you’ll be ready to start student teaching as soon as possible,” Athena suggests. The advice that these seniors have to offer as they finish up their time at BU is priceless, as they now know what best prepared them to handle their own classrooms and students. “My number one piece of advice for current education majors would be to get as involved as possible now. Find out all that BU and the education department has to offer. There is no better experience than first hand experience,” says Ashley, reflecting warmly on all of the opportunities that BU gave to her.

     “You can never have enough experience and that will only enhance the kind of teacher you will become. Make the most of your time here at Bloomsburg University because you never know where these experiences may lead you.”