A Different Perspective

Tomorrow is my student teacher, Yakira Smeltzer’s, last day in our class. I’m really going to miss her! Yakira cares about students, is committed to quality education, is a highly reflective educator, and is committed to student success. She’ll be an asset to the profession, and I’m so glad that she’s going to be a teacher. (I also know that my students echo these sentiments and are so upset that Yakira’s leaving tomorrow!)

I’ve loved having Yakira in the classroom, but I must admit, that I miss teaching. I’ve wanted the students to see her as “the teacher,” so I’ve really taken a minor role in the classroom lately. This is hard. Today, I decided to try something different. While Yakira was circulating and talking to individual groups during math this afternoon, I sat down with one group. They were working on an application question for mean, median, and mode, and they really had to think about both the numbers and the topic. I decided to use my iPad to record a podcast of this discussion.

It’s amazing what happens when you can completely “be there” for a small group of students. I was able to ask questions, listen to answers, ask more questions, and watch the students discover the answer on their own. (As an aside, please note that there are still small things about my interjections, question phrasing, and wait time that I’d like to work on, but listening back to this recording has been good professional learning for me.) I got to get excited with the students because I got to experience it with them — all 100% of me!

So I may miss teaching, but with small group experiences like the one I had today, I saw a whole other side to having a student teacher: the ability to “be there” for one small group at a time. I wish that I had thought of this before the second last day of Yakira’s placement! 🙂

How do you take the time to “be there” for each of your students? What do you notice when you do take this time? And yes, I love guided groups, and I do these all of the time, but today was different: today my eyes weren’t scanning the rest of the room. I was completely devoted to just my small group! These are the kinds of experiences I’d love to hear more about!


2 thoughts on “A Different Perspective

  1. What a wonderful treat to spend that focused time with your students. Wouldn’t it be amazing I have two teachers in each classroom all the time. Mentoring teacher candidates can be such a rewarding experience for both people involved. Thanks for your post.

    • Thanks for your comment, Christine! Yes, this focused time with students felt like such a luxury. It was absolutely amazing, and really made me realize the power of this focused attention.

      Yakira has been fantastic, and I’m going to miss her for sure!

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