Student Teacher: 'Today Was a Good Day'
When duty called, Piedmont Tech student teacher Caroline Falls was fully prepared to lead a first-grade classroom for the first time without her supervising teacher, Kimber Burrell, at Hodges Elementary School.
“Ms. Burrell was out one day, and we had a substitute teacher,” Falls explained. “I told the substitute that I was there to assist her, but she told me I should go ahead and lead the class. It was eye-opening, overwhelming even, because the kids are constantly having to be occupied and engaged. I had to constantly remind them to stay on task. Constantly.”
Because of such excellent conditioning from Ms. Burrell, the students are very settled and comfortable with their daily basic routine, Falls noted. As soon as they come in the classroom, they already know they are expected to open their book bags and begin their morning work. That routine turned out to be a big advantage in the overall management of the classroom for the rest of the day. But to keep an unremitting, progressive pace takes a toll on one’s energy.
“After just three hours leading the class, I was exhausted,” Falls said. “It made me have even more respect for Ms. Burrell — 10 times more! She handles all of the children so well. She makes it look easy. She has so much patience.”
After reading a book about an owl, titled “Little Hoot,” Falls was astounded by the sophisticated observation made by one of the students.
“We have this really smart boy. His vocabulary is astounding,” she said. “He simply said, ‘Owls are nocturnal.’ … When I asked him what ‘nocturnal’ meant, he knew the definition exactly!”
If it is possible to be depleted and elated at the same time, that would describe Falls after a day of constantly reminding students to pay attention and stay focused.
“Some aren’t listening because they are distracted. We have to work with them on raising their hands and taking turns and listening. I make sure I repeat everything I say,” Falls revealed. “Today was a really good day.”
The PTC communications staff is “shadowing” student Caroline Falls through her field practice and will provide periodic updates on her experience, insights, challenges and epiphanies. This is the third in a series of insights.
Caroline Falls helps a student in Kimber Burrell’s first-grade class.
Caroline Falls introduces a book the class will read together.