Student teachers prepare to test out the real world

Student teachers prepare to test out the real world

Dec 12
Jennifer Boberg, Senior in Agricultural Education
  

We’re finally here! We’ve come to the point in our college career that we have been diligently studying and working towards for the past three and a half years -- we’ve made it to the beginning of our student teaching experiences! The twelve of us—Jeff Reale, Amanda Goin, John Andress, Josh Evans, Malory Hughes, Brandyn Smith, Nic Turner, Brianna Harmon, Sarah Moore, Jacob Dickey, Claire Geiger, and myself—have been through a lot together these past couple of years, working towards a common goal, building on our experiences to better ourselves for a career (or at least a degree) in agricultural education. I don’t know about the others, but for me, it’s a bittersweet feeling to know that our time here at the University of Illinois is coming to a screeching end. This next semester is our time to test out the real world—to see what it really takes to be an agriculture teacher. It’s going to take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get through these next few months of our lives, but I have full confidence in each and every one of us and I know we will succeed. 

I also know that the “Real World of Teaching” sounds an awful lot scarier than what we’ve read or discussed. This is our final step. We’re leaving our close-knit family that we have found in the Agricultural Education Program and into the world that our teachers, advisors, and friends have prepared us for. There’s no telling what will stop us now! As my final semester on campus comes to an end, I look back at the first day of this semester. I remember being excited and ready for student teaching, counting down the days until the semester would come to an end and I would officially be in the classroom every day. I and the other student teachers in my class have hit a lot of obstacles since that first day of school. We’ve been frustrated, discouraged, ready to pull our hair out, and asked ourselves many times, “why am I doing this?!” During the moments of calm—when we weren’t writing assessments, completing AGED 350 requirements, rummaging through our brains for a piece of memory that contains a learning theory definition, or trying to figure out that edTPA thing—we’re able to take a moment to remember what brought us to Agricultural Science Education in the first place—a passion for agriculture, a teacher that saw something in us that no one else saw, a desire to share agriculture and inspire students.

Each of us who are preparing to test out the real world have a similar passion that has sparked a bond between us. We’re all going to be far away from campus, from our family and home we have found in the Agricultural Education Program at the University of Illinois. I look at a map of Illinois and I see the small towns where we are all student teaching. We are preparing to branch out across Illinois—some 2 or 3 hours in every direction—and I see the branches of our passions and our love for agriculture and students spread like a web across the state as well. We’ll be working with cooperating teachers who share a similar passion and who care about preparing the next generation of agriculture educators. I think I speak on behalf of us all when I say that we’re proud of how far we’ve come and we’re excited to take this next step into the real world and put all that we’ve learned to the test. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I know it will be beyond rewarding. I’m already excited about coming back to campus in April to share my story and to hear the stories of my fellow student teachers—to laugh and even grumble a little about all of our student teaching experiences.  I know each us has the motivation and the heart to be an incredible teacher. Good luck and have fun in the “real world!”