In a blur, I graduated high school, even took off a year of school for state office, and then went to college. I somehow breezed through 3 1/2 years of college made it all the way to student teaching. It was the semester I thought would take the longest and yet, I am standing here no longer titled "the student teacher" and facing two weeks until I graduate. These precious fifteen weeks have passed by too quickly. But when I look back, I realize that I've done so much and seen amazing growth in myself.
In this final blog, I want to reflect on some moments that stood out in my educational development this week, and then reflect on student teaching as a whole. Even though time is constantly running, I hope through these blogs, I have preserved my learning and captured my growth.
|My last FFA event: students helping out at the chicken bbq|
Guest SpeakersThis week, I got to facilitate 2 different guest speakers. On Monday, David Swartz from Perry County Extension came in to talk about the Avian Influenza issue. In an advisory committee meeting, David mentioned the importance of educating others about the hit this country is still taking on the avian flu and how it is impacting farmers. It was neat to see how a comment at a meeting turned into a valuable learning experience for students later on. The students' eyes opened when they learned about the issue (many for the first time) and when they started connecting just how impactful it is to everyone, not just poultry farmers.
|David Swartz talking about the Avian Influenza|
On Wednesday, I tried out the Skype in the Classroom. We took a virtual field trip to Kenya to visit the Mitahato Education Fund to talk about crops and agriculture in Africa. The students and I had touched on some global agriculture in my agronomic crops unit and were creating and presenting their own lessons on crops grown in the United States. So it was neat to connect what they've learned to what others were doing across the globe. I only wish we could have had more time for questions!
|A farmer from the Mitahato Education Fund speaks about agriculture in Kenya|
|Students teaching each other about ornamental crops|
Speaking from the Heart
In my Leadership class, I was having students perform their This I Believe speeches. Students had been developing and expanding their personal beliefs and engaging in meaningful discussions about their life philosophies. I loved posing questions to them to get them thinking. They weren't afraid of sharing their thoughts and being open to new ideas. We had some good stories and discussions come from it!
Through their final personal This I Believe speeches, students were tasked with explaining their own beliefs and sharing a personal experience to shape that belief. The students did a great job sharing their beliefs and some were truly touching. It really connected the students in the class and allowed me to learn more about them. In this I realized how much I can connect with them through my own experiences. I only wish I did this unit earlier rather than the last week of school! Despite this, I think it was a great way to end this class as I ended student teaching.
A reflection of student teaching
Fifteen weeks has come and gone. Student teaching was a true test of my willingness to work hard, be flexible, to embrace and empower the unknown and uncertainties, and to realize the value of progress, not perfection. If you have been following my string of blogs, you may have seen each of these themes from time to time. I value each of these lessons I have learned from my mentor teachers and students. Each moment I was at Greenwood was a chance for me to practice those characteristics.
I have uncovered a part of me that I didn't know existed through this internship. Having been a student all of my life, I only saw education through this lens. But when I flipped perspectives, I almost had to relearn who I was and how my current skills and characteristics blended into who I was as a teacher. I now feel a sense of maturity and understanding as I balance the person I always was and will continue to be, with the type of teacher I am aspiring to be. I have not changed; rather, I have made myself better and refined the skills I had all along.
I look forward to my future in agricultural education and hope that I will continue to grow. I can't wait to see what the future holds for me. Even though it hurts to leave and I feel like there is so much more I wish I could have done at Greenwood, I know that my time is done and I have put my best foot forward. We were taught at Penn State that time is an ag teacher's most valuable resource. Time is the one thing that we cannot control so therefore we must live out our lives in such a way that time does not pass by wasted and gone. I hope that I have used my time in the most effective way possible. I believe that each moment spent was a moment worth spending. Now those moments are memories that I will cherish forever.
|A jar full of notes from my students!|
A time for gratitude
I wanted to take a moment to say a big thank you to everyone at Greenwood for their amazing support. I wanted to share a special thanks to Krista Pontius and Mike Clark for their wonderful mentorship and guidance throughout these fifteen weeks while serving as my cooperating teachers. I couldn't have done it without them!
"1 Year = 365 Opportunities" -- Unknown
"New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings" -- Lao Tzu
"Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created" -- Esther 4:14
"There's only one thing more precious than our time and that's who we spend it on" -- Leo Christopher