The final semester of college for most education majors is one of the most anticipated as they finally take on the role as a student teacher. Students are nervous, excited, anxious, and optimistic as they go into their student teaching position. Most students do not know what to expect during student teaching or how to prepare. Chelsey Oliver, UMF Class of 2017, felt the same way, as she would go to the symposium presentations every year looking for one about the student teaching experience. Year after year her searches came up short, so when it was her time to serve as a student teacher she decided to present at symposium about her experience.
Chelsey Oliver just graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in the spring of 2017. During her final semester as a secondary education mathematics major, Chelsey completed her student teaching at Cony High School and Messalonskee Middle School. While education majors share their student teaching experience through portfolio presentations, Chelsey wanted to go beyond the units, lesson plans, and standards highlighted in portfolio presentations and also focus on the day-to-day experience of being a student teacher in a classroom. “A big part of my philosophy is collaborating with your colleagues, students, and teachers,” said Chelsey, “so this to me was the most exciting presentation I would give.”
Chelsey started her presentation by going over the daily schedule at both schools and comparing them. She touched upon some of the ‘out of the classroom’ components that came with student teaching, such as leaving the house in the morning when it is still dark out and getting home when it was dark out. Chelsey described some of the various programs and blocks in the school day, such as “RAM Time” at Cony High School, which was when teachers could meet one-on-one with students who may need help if they were absent, falling behind, or needed to finish a test. This was a great time for teachers to check-in with their students.
After going over the schedules, Chelsey emphasized the importance of self care and scheduling “me time.” As a teacher, you are constantly planning, grading, teaching, and working even when you are not at school. It is important to take care of yourself, and Chelsey did so by getting fresh air, meal prepping for the week ahead of time, and reflecting on her day.
Chelsey then gave a few classroom management tips, such as having a bin to leave work in for students who were absent. She also discussed making homework meaningful. She found that her students would do their homework, she would give feedback, and they would toss it in the trash. Chelsey then began assigning homework that required the students to talk about their struggles, their mistakes, a conversation they had with her that day, and to just personally reflect. This gave Chelsey a more personal look into her students’ lives as well. Chelsey then discussed technology and how it can be integrated into the classroom. Then, Chelsey touched upon her experience in UMF’s Student MEA (Maine Education Association) and how the various conferences, experiences, and collaborations that she participated in helped her develop as a professional.
Finally, Chelsey discussed the benefits of social media and how teachers can learn from each other. There are various Instagram pages, bloggers, and websites where teachers share their lessons, ideas, classroom management tips, and anything else you could imagine. Chelsey has also taken to social media and created a professional Twitter account (@countonlearning) and Instagram page (@countonlearning207) to share her teaching experience.
Chelsey’s student teaching experience was very meaningful to her, especially since she was able to personally share it at her symposium presentation. As the first student to present about their student teaching experience at symposium, she may have started a new trend as other UMF education majors will wish to share their experience as well. Congratulations to Chelsey and the rest of the UMF Class of 2017, and good luck as your begin your teaching career!