Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Overcoming Unexpected Challenges

Danielle Holtz

Student teachers live and die by their planners. We plot out and pinpoint every new lesson we want to write, where we want that lesson to lead to, and when we think we should arrive there. We plan ahead for our observations, our grad school papers, and projects. We plan ahead for job applications and career fairs. We plan to take the state required APT test. We lay out every last detail, scratching out what we initially hoped to take place, and we scribe in something better, something that will fit a little easier. And then (if you’re me) in the middle of all that planning, you get hit by a car.

I was exactly a week and a half in to my stint as the “full-time” teacher in my student teaching placement when I was hit by a car. I won’t describe the accident, because I’m not sure that I am entirely ready to relive it. But I will say that it literally and figuratively knocked me off my feet.

In a heartbeat, I saw all my planning for the next two weeks of lessons get thrown out the window. I saw my 4th observed lesson plan (which I had written and was supposed to present the next day) get crunched further into the end of the semester. I saw five days of bed rest, fearful that I wouldn’t know how to plan for the next week because I WOULDN’T BE IN THE CLASSROOM TO SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING. I saw three less days with my kids. I saw my kids faces as they heard that their student teacher was hit by a car. I saw an upcoming APT test, an upcoming unit plan, and an upcoming Teacher Work Sample. I also saw, on a personal level, the inability to continue training for my 5k, which I had intended to run on the day of graduation. And I saw myself benched from Dance Dance Party Party, which is how I relieve stress during the week.

It has been one week since the accident. I was able (painfully) to return to work on Monday. I have to admit that it was hard to come back. I felt unprepared for the first time in a long time. I was scared that the kids would see I was in pain. I was worried that my lessons wouldn’t fit back in and that the start would be rocky. And you know what? It was. And that’s kind of okay. Life happens. Sometimes we have to start over, find that restart button and plan again for what we’d like to happen next.

I’ve made it halfway through the week, and things are starting to run much more smoothly. I’m slowly putting the pieces back together again and rediscovering my plan. I still have a lot to accomplish and less time than I would like, but I was relieved (but not surprised) to find that all my professors were willing to extend upcoming deadlines for my work. Student teaching is hard without throwing in getting hit by a car, but I feel like I’m proving that the work is possible no matter what challenge you might face.

Overcoming Unexpected Challenges

Student teachers live and die by their planners. We plot out and pinpoint every new lesson we want to write, where we want that lesson to lead to, and when …

Elementary Education MAT Danielle Holtz, danielle.holtz@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Graduate Experience