Since the 1980s, the College of Education has partnered with the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio to provide diverse student teaching placements for Redbirds. The eight aspiring educators migrated to Texas in early January. Middle-level education majors Nikki Carli, Amy Wieting, and elementary education major Brittney Rozeboom shared their experiences from their first month:
Even though we are learning new things every day, Illinois State has more than prepared us for this experience.
Although we have only been here for about a month now, we couldn’t be happier about our decision to come to Texas to student teach. We liked the idea of being able to get out of our comfort zones. It is a big change, but we feel that it has made us gain a sense of independence. It is a whole learning experience, not only in the teaching aspect, but getting to learn more about ourselves as well.
With regard to our student-teaching, we’ve found that it isn’t too much different than Illinois other than the fact that their standards are very intense compared to the Common Core Standards. Amy and I are both placed at Connally Middle School. She is teaching sixth grade math while I am teaching sixth grade English language arts.
The staff and administration have been extremely helpful and welcoming with our transition here. Amy is placed in a collaborative classroom for every class period but one, and I am placed in a collaborative classroom for one class period. Our biggest challenge is trying to adjust to the collaboration as well as figuring out how to meet the students’ 504 and Individualized Education Plans. We’ve already been given the chance to teach and share some of our ideas, which has been very rewarding. We have been to two seminars that have been extremely informative and beneficial to us, especially since we will be having our own classrooms so soon.
Even though we are learning new things every day, Illinois State has more than prepared us for this experience. If anyone was contemplating coming to Texas to student-teach, we would definitely recommend it!
We are loving the weather down here! It is nice not having to bundle up to go teach. Everyone is so friendly as well! We have gotten lost a couple times, but our Illinois license plates give us leeway. Teaching is not too different from in Illinois other than getting adjusted to the TEKS (Texas standards).
I have only been here a month so far and I already feel as if this is my home. I was nervous that I was going to be home sick and really miss my friends and family but this program does a really amazing job with making sure we are happy and comfortable. We all did tourist-type activities our first week down here such as going to the River walk, the Alamo and different other places in San Antonio. We quickly became our own little family.
Student teaching then began and it all made sense. This is exactly why I am here. I fell in love with the students, the atmosphere, the administration and everything about this school district. My cooperating teacher was the icing on top of the cake. She has helped me more than I could have ever expected. I am beyond thankful for her patience, willingness and flexibility to allow me to join her classroom.
All because ISU gave me this experience, I have met friends that I will have for a lifetime, traveled to a place I have never been and allowed me to feel 100% confident to have my own classroom in just a few months as a certified elementary education teacher. My life has forever been changed and I am grateful for every moment. —Brittney Rozeboom