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Teaching and Learning-At the Same Time
By K. Manchester

Last semester I worked with seven student teachers, undergraduate and graduate, and enjoyed watching them transition from students themselves to teachers at the middle and high school levels. Throughout the semester they experienced moments of self-discovery, but especially so at the beginning of their student teaching. Here are a few excerpts from their journals that show the fine line between teaching and learning. At times that line dissolved, and they taught and learned simultaneously.

  • I find that my cooperating teacher and I are getting to know the students through all the different team activities we use. [But] it is much harder to figure out who they are as learners. I was able to gather some information from the EST meeting on what some students have as weaknesses and accommodations. (A.T.)

  • Planning for the lesson was fun, and I found that by doing my own lesson plan that I was able to have "ownership" over what I was teaching. It was mine, no one else knew what was coming next, and only I could sway the direction of the lesson. I was ridiculously nervous, and I of course over-planned, over-researched, planned for the worst and best, had about three back-up plans--I was ready! (T.M.)

  • Teaching style was a big concern of mine when I first began my student teaching. Greg told me that in order to be successful with style, you have to be yourself and do what is comfortable. Greg is known for being a teacher with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but "If that is not really who you are, the students will see right through you." This is definitely something that I do not want to happen, so I've been trying to find my own style. Whatever style I do bring to the classroom, I want the students to be able to feed off of it. (L.S.)

  • If my main concern going into class each day is really teaching the students something that will be important to them and that they will understand and retain, then my second goal is making sure that I am learning all that the students are-intentionally or unintentionally-teaching me as well. Being sensitive and being perceptive are two of the biggest things that help me each day. (K.S.)