Marginalia, Graduate Blog

The Life of a Student Teacher

Ashley Saunders

I think all of my posts for the past few weeks have been student teaching related. That’s because student teaching pretty much defines my entire existence these days. Sleep and what little free time I had has gone by the wayside. The funny thing is, I’m not even grumpy about it.I wake up every weekday around 5 am (mostly because I HAVE to eat breakfast or I’ll curl up in a ball and die before lunch) and take two buses to get to the school where I student teach. It takes about an hour for me to get there by bus or train. I try to be there by 7:30 am at the latest every day.

On Mondays and some Tuesdays, I spend my bus time prepping for the grad school classes I have at night. When I get into the school and sign in, I have a little over an hour to start prepping for my three morning classes. Depending on the day, I’ll have:

  • 1st class- 1st or 2nd grade
  • 2nd class- 7th or 8th grade
  • 3rd  class- 5th or 6th grade
  • 45 minute lunch break
  • 4th class- kindergarten
  • 5th class- 3rd or 4th grade

My cooperating teacher has a pretty nice class schedule. Kindergarten, while we may not be able to have deep discussions about Picasso’s Blue Period (I tried that with the third graders), is by far my favorite hour of the day. All they want in life is to know you’re happy with them. When I started this program I thought for sure I was going to be a high school art teacher. Working with the little ones is starting to change my mind!

Wednesdays are amazing. The school day can get a bit rough on Thursdays and Friday mornings. Certain days just seem to have rowdier kids, and it takes more effort to manage the classroom with  5th- 8th grade. Part of it was getting them used to me being in charge of the class instead of my cooperating teacher. The other part is that my Thursday and Friday classes are significantly larger than my Monday through Wednesday classes.

Overall I’ve been finding my elementary student teaching experience very rewarding, even when it’s been challenging. A friend of mine who is a former teacher asked me if I’ve had a day where I’ve questioned whether or not I’m doing the right thing by going into this field. I haven’t yet. I’m taking that as a sign that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Next week, I’ll be having a guest blogger, Art Education MAT Cohort 21′s Melissa Miller. The NAEA National Convention is next week, and she’ll be blogging on her first NAEA convention experience!

The Life of a Student Teacher

I think all of my posts for the past few weeks have been student teaching related. That’s because student teaching pretty much defines my entire existence these days. Sleep and …

Art Education (K-12) MAT Ashley Saunders, ashley.saunders@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Graduate Experience