This is What it's Like to Teach

by The College of Education   /   May 20, 2010

Carrie Busey Elementary

"Our students do rock!" says Cheryll Douglas, director of the Office of Clinical Experiences (now called School and Community Experiences), which coordinates field placements for student teachers. "We continue to prepare strong candidates for the teaching profession by making their career goal to teach so that all students are successful and to build a community within the classroom to foster a feeling of trust. Our students are strong in instructional knowledge of using universal and selected interventions to meet the needs of all learners and using methods of inquiry to develop higher thinking and achieving students."

Read what our student teachers have to say about their experiences in the classroom:

I learned an ample amount of information during my past four years at the University of Illinois, and especially during my full takeover during the spring semester of 2010. I learned a lot about how to write inquiry-based lesson plans and be able to carry those out into the classroom, along with being able to manage the class at the same time. I learned that it is crucial that you listen to the students' ideas and thoughts because those can help lead the instruction in a totally different direction. Finally, I learned that students are willing to learn anything if you make the subject worth learning about. For example, I taught my students a unit on the holocaust, and I was blown away with all the knowledge that they gained from this unit especially from my perspective of being someone who is Jewish. I loved my fifth grade placement in Mahomet. Those students will always have a place in my heart.

Jori Kovarsky,

Elementary Education, 2010

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My student teaching experience was very rewarding. I was given many opportunities to apply what I have learned in my University classes in my first grade classroom. Student teaching taught me a lot about planning, instructing, reflecting, and revising lessons in order to ensure that all students are succeeding in the classroom and meeting goals. The staff at my placement was very kind and supportive. They made me feel very welcome. I had a lot of fun and have many memories I will take away with me.

Hayley Janney,

Elementary Education, 2010

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Student teaching has been one of the most exciting, as well as challenging parts of my college career. Saying farewell to my kiddos is a bit sad, but I will take with me all of the light bulb moments that students had from my teaching, silly outbursts that had the entire class giggling, and the trying moments that kept me on my toes. I am ready to shine in a classroom of my own and thank 4S of Unity East for all of the fun this semester!

Chrissy Garcia

Elementary Education, 2010

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My semester student teaching was amazing, in part to the wonderful people I worked with. Both my cooperating teacher, Mary Cecava, and my supervisor, Ann Sargent, encouraged me to take risks with my teaching and discover what worked for me. They were there to support me when things didn't go as planned and to cheer me on when things clicked. Being able to try new things and to experiment in applying educational theory in the real world (which, ironically, doesn't always work as easily as professors made it seem) was priceless.

Kris Ackerman,

Curriculum and Instruction Masters with Certification, 2010

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Student teaching was one of my best college experiences. I was placed in a warm school environment where I was welcomed and comforted by staff everyday until my very last day. I always looked forward to seeing the children who were insightful and taught me something new daily. Most of all, my cooperating teacher and supervisor were always available for guidance, encouragement, and open minds.

Sherri Feagins

Early Childhood Education, 2010

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I learned so much through my student teaching. For one thing all three teachers that I was assigned to were great. They all wanted me to succeed. If I had any problem at all, they were more than willing to help out. I think this is in large part due to the University picking out cooperating teachers who are good at and love what they do. The most beneficial thing about being in the classroom was learning how to deal with classroom management issues. The classes that we take tell us how to set up management plans and so forth, but it is not until you are in the classroom and working with the students that you are able to see what works for you.

Ryan Abel

Elementary Education 2010

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The thing that made my experience the most special was great placements. I am very blessed to be around professionals that care about their profession and assist new people to the profession. Another thing that made my experience special was being a head coach for the local Champaign district. Because of the knowledge I gained from the education program I was able to perform the job well. One of the most important things I learned through my time throughout the education program is to be versatile. Because of the fact that society is changing, teachers need to be lifelong learners and have a strong desire to stay on top of new ways of teaching.

Kristine Anderson

Elementary Education, 2010

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For more information about the College of Education, contact our Communications Office at 217-244-8335 or email communications@education.illinois.edu