Learning to Soar in the Classroom
Elmira, NY (12/07/2018) — This week's #SoaringToSuccess features Sydney Stringham '19. Sydney, an adolescent education, social studies, and history triple major, had the recent opportunity to intern with Thomas A. Edison High School in Elmira Heights, NY. Let's hear more about her experience:
Recently I've had the opportunity to intern as a 10th grade social studies teacher at Thomas A. Edison High School in Elmira Heights, NY, where I spend my days in the classroom teaching global history. Student teachers get placed in regionally local schools with teachers who have chosen to partner with the college to assist in our education--known as cooperating teachers. Cooperating teachers are expert mentors in the field and help guide us through our twelve-week internship at our school location. Though we must take over the classroom at some point, it is up to the cooperating teacher's discretion as to when we take over and how much classroom involvement we have. I was lucky to have a cooperating teacher who gave me the opportunity to walk in on day one and assume the role of teacher. Mind you, I was by no means perfect, my cooperating teacher gave me the scaffolding I needed to become the best teacher I can be. I am now teaching all of the Global II classes, which includes lesson planning, while working almost entirely independently. Through this truly productive experience, I feel fully prepared to take over my own classroom after graduation.
Not only do I enjoy the content I am teaching, I thoroughly enjoy getting to spend the day with my students. After all, being a teacher is not about what you teach, but how you teach it. Do the students want to come to your classroom? Are they engaged? In the beginning of my student teaching, I struggled. I was focusing too singularly on delivering content and not on building a rapport with my students. Successful teaching requires the balancing of both of these components. My cooperative teacher helped to guide my growth in this area. She made me see that students can read a book to receive content but, as educators, we only have forty minutes to keep them thinking and active in the material for the duration or we will lose them. Through the student-directing teaching, my students are more involved than ever. I have enjoyed every minute of my internship experience and cannot wait to have my own classroom!