There's nothing like student teaching, huh? Paying someone (a LOT of money) so you can work a more-than-full-time job...ugh. And it can be a great experience, or one you'd rather forget. I'm sure we all know teachers who had one extreme or the other during their student teaching. Fortunately, I had WON-DER-FUL co-operating teachers and learned SO much from both of them!
I did my student teaching in Wisconsin., and with an elementary ed. license we were required to student teach for 9 weeks at the high end of our license, and 9 weeks at the low end (ie. If you have a K-6 license, you'd spend 9 weeks in K-2 and 9 weeks in 3-6). Here in NC, the student teachers I've met stay in one grade level/classroom the whole time.
Anyway, I ended up doing 9 weeks in 6th grade at the school I worked at during that time, and 9 weeks in Kindergarten with a teacher I'd worked with during one of my field assignments (in my program we had to spend 40 hours each semester in a classroom observing and teaching a specified amount of lessons). As I said, both of my co-operating teachers were great!
My 6th grade co-operating teacher, Mrs. Bladow, amazed me with her creativity. She could take the content from a ho-hum language arts worksheet and turn it into an interactive, fun lesson that really engaged her students. It was a wonder to watch her! I think the most important lesson that I learned from her was to trust yourself enough to teach in the way you know will work best for your students.
My Kindergarten co-operating teacher, Mrs. King, was the most loving and genuine person! Her classroom always had such a sense of c~a~l~m...you could feel it the moment you walked into the room. She had so much fun with the children, and was so nurturing and loving toward them. When we walked down the halls, her former students would all reach out to hug her :) Without a doubt, the most important thing that she taught me was that children thrive in environments where they feel loved and accepted.
So, here's my 'best of times' and 'worst of times' from my student teaching, along with a little advice!
Don't forget to go and read some other student teaching stories at The Polished Teacher. That's where I'm headed!