From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Student Teachers

Friday, May 22, 2015

End of Semester Thoughts #1

What value did student teaching in Chicago have for you, particularly as it impacts your future goals?

Betsy Wallin – Northwestern College
I have realized my passion for inner city teaching. I loved my experience in Chicago, and grew both as a teacher and a person in this city. I love the cultures and differences that those cultures bring to your classroom. I have decided to become a teacher in an inner city school, and plan on doing so next year. I have received job offers to teach in inner city schools in Minnesota, Arizona, and Cambodia. My experience here in Chicago has prepared me for all of these possible job opportunities.

Hannah Lee – Calvin College
Student teaching in Chicago has confirmed my passion for working in public schools and urban areas. This is the setting that I want to continue to teach in the future. Through this experience I have been able to observe how students' home lives affect their school life and I hope to continue to strive to be someone they can look up to.

Anelise Schrammen – Bethel University
I have a heart for children in the city. Teaching in this setting has made my heart grow so much more and my passion for the students in the city has turned into a reality. Pushing myself outside of the comfort of my familiar setting, people, and places I have learned that I am capable of anything.

Kelsie Wojcik – Hope College
Through student teaching in Chicago I was able to value the importance of sacrificial love. Whether it was my students or a staff member, I have gained insight on the importance of building rapport and respect people who are different from me. I have learned how to serve others with an unconditional heart. In the future, my goal is to serve others through this value and create a classroom that fosters safety, security and love.

Alyssa Huizinga – Trinity Christian College
Doing my student teaching in Chicago gave me the value of teaching a set of diverse students. Going to a Christian school my whole life, I have not been accustomed to students/classmates from low socioeconomic statuses, or simply from coming from all over the world. I have learned so much from the students in my classroom this semester. I have learned the importance of coming to school being a loving and open teacher. A lot of the students in my classroom don’t feel the love they deserve at home, and it’s important as their teacher, the one who sees them 8 hours a day, to give them that love and respect they deserve. I have learned, that a competent teacher is a creative teacher, a teacher who can use whatever is in the classroom to make learning fun, excited and educational for her students. This experience has inspired me to be the best teacher I can be wherever God leads me, and I look forward to seeing where I am going to go. 

Amanda Mast – Central College
I had never had any urban experience teaching, so the main reason I did this was to push myself and see if I enjoyed the larger setting.  Again, I did not think I liked it very much in the beginning, but it grew on me.  For the future, I am looking into schools in both Iowa and Illinois which has opened up my options a lot. I also am pretty positive that I want to be a teacher, something I was unsure of before student teaching.  I am not sure I would have reached this conclusion if I student taught in a normal setting because the students here have pushed me to be a better teacher, even if that wasn’t their intent.  Because of this semester, I have decided that urban teaching is a better fit for me.  

Brittany Vollmer – Northwestern College
I believe teaching in Chicago has better prepared me for “real life” teaching because it pushed me outside my comfort zone and into a very diverse area. Because of teaching in a big city, I believe I have become a more well-rounded teacher. I had to learn how to work with my resources and be a patient, supportive teacher for students who do not necessarily have a great home life.

Kathryn Woodside – Trinity Christian College
Student teaching in Chicago allowed me to explore the possibility of living and teaching downtown without a long term commitment. Previous to coming to the city, I considered applying for a teaching job in CPS. Student teaching in the city gave me a greater chance of getting a job in the district in my first year out of college. In the last few months I had also wondered if the city lifestyle would fit me, especially compared to a more rural area. Although I have thoroughly enjoyed the activities and adventures that await each day in Chicago, I was able to determine that I might enjoy being in a place that has less traffic and challenges surrounding transportation.

Emily Benson – Central College
This experience had so much value for me as a person and as an educator. The diversity I was able to work with was phenomenal and I never would have had this in Iowa.  I learned a lot about how to incorporate all students’ backgrounds and their cultures in the classroom.  I was able to work with special education students and see how their minds work. I was able to see the IEP referral process and learn from that. I figured out so much from this academic and culture diversity. Personally, I learned that teaching is definitely the path I want to take.  I found that moving to the city made me grab on to my faith a lot tighter.  Being alone here with no family was a difficult thing for me.  I was able to learn that I need to be close to those people who love me.  I also learned that I would love to have a teaching job at a faith-based school. It would be awesome to be able to talk about God and help my students grow in their faith. 

Erin Czaia – Bethel University
This was a hugely valuable experience for me, especially as I am strongly considering teaching in Chicago. When applying for jobs in the area, I now have relevant experience to add to my application. This will also be true when applying for teaching jobs in any urban center, such as Minneapolis or St. Paul.