Student Teachers Experience Future Jobs Firsthand
67 from UT Dallas Assigned to Area School Districts for Hands-On Lessons
Oct. 28, 2010
“Back to school” meant something entirely different for the 67 UT Dallas student teachers who entered Texas public schools this fall.
This time, they were not only learning how to manage a classroom – they also were in charge of it.
Kristina Martin teaches a class.
Kristina Martin, a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies who also is completing teacher preparation through the Teacher Development Center (TDC), was placed with sixth-graders at Evans Middle School in McKinney, Texas.
Like most people, Martin had expectations of what the experience would hold.
“Going into this, my expectations were for hard work and little reward, but I have found the experience to be extremely rewarding and thought-provoking,” she said. “I have learned much more than I ever expected so far.”
Just a few weeks into her 12-week, full time student teaching assignment, Martin already has had an “aha! moment” she can use in her future teaching career.
“I was observing my mentor teacher present a lesson that the students were thoroughly enjoying, when it hit me: She doesn’t have behavior issues in her classroom ever because her lessons are fun and the students are active participants in the learning process,” recalled Martin. “I vowed then to put my time and effort into developing engaging and authentic curriculum and lessons for my future students. Great behavior will inevitably follow.”
Being a student teacher provides a forum for networking and deciding whether certain school districts are a good fit, from a firsthand perspective. Student teaching also allows future educators to put their state-required 36 hours in their content area as well as 24 hours UT Dallas education coursework into practice.
“I have found that many of the things I’ve learned work great - in a perfect classroom,” said Martin. “However, classrooms are flawed and so are school districts. Working within restrictions is something I have come accustomed to.
“I will be taking away from this experience not only the networking I have done, but the amazing teaching practices I have learned from my mentor teacher. She has given me numerous examples and lesson plan ideas that I couldn’t recreate.”
UT Dallas students were placed in 14 school districts this semester. Student teachers will continue working in their assigned schools until early December.
“Student teaching is the culmination of our students’ preparation,” said Dr. Barbara Ashmore, student teaching coordinator with the TDC. “The student teachers tell me that teaching is simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating — that teaching is about helping their students discover the world, how to learn, and how to think.”