From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Student Teachers

Friday, March 31, 2017

Planning for the Future

Sarah Schmitt - Cooper Dual Language Academy

This was a busy week for me outside of the classroom. My students were taking PARCC tests almost the entire week, which meant that I was banished to hallway patrol. This wasn’t as bad as it sounds because I quickly learned that it provided me with free time to check up on emails, get advice from other teachers, work on homework, and … FINISH MY EDTPA!

This has been a long-time coming, friends. I am thrilled to say that I have completed the last major assignment of my undergraduate career (assuming that I passed all sections, knock on wood for me, will you?) This marathon of an assignment has been the bane of my existence since sophomore year. While I think it is beneficial to critically examine and reflect on teaching practices, this was a bit excessive and a huge stressor to add to the already rigorous student teaching process. If you are reading this and haven’t yet completed your edTPA fear not, there are resources and people available to help you! You will get through it, I did!

In other news…

Since I wasn’t able to be in the classroom much, I decided to attend two job fairs. The diversity job fair I attended on Thursday was unsuccessful. I had signed up for it thinking that there might be some teaching positions available working with bilingual students. I quickly discovered that all they had to offer was jobs selling Italian cookware (which was quite nice since I was in the market for a new strainer) and medically based jobs. The vendors I talked to politely tried to make their positions fit with my elementary education major, but it was clear that this job fair wasn’t meant for me.

The job fair I attended on Saturday was much more successful since it was only for CPS charter schools. I have had some reservations about charter schools in the past, but I decided to attend to see what was available and gain some practice talking to potential employers. In the end, I was able to apply for a job, talk with principals, and provide my resume for further contact.

This week, I will finally return to a normal schedule of full-time teaching. I have noticed some behavior issues so I have created a new “Goal Setting” chart for some of our students. The chart will allow them to evaluate their own behavior on a daily basis and get teacher feedback at the end of the week. This week we will finally be wrapping up the book Frindle, opinion writing, and our Human Body units with assessments.  

Monday, March 6, 2017


Sarah Schmitt - Cooper Dual Language Academy

It is week 5 of my student teaching experience – which is something to celebrate! We are 1/3 of the way through the semester! Although it is only a short while away, there is still a lot of lesson planning, edTPA, and job fairs that stand between me and graduation.

On Tuesday we celebrated Valentine’s Day and we had a party with my homeroom class. We played music for the kids to dance to, they passed out their Valentines to the class, and we laughed… a lot! I opened up the white board for the students to write on which ended up being pretty hilarious and sweet. Here are some quotes from the students:
“Don’t worry Ms. Schmitt, even when you leave you will still be in our heart.”
“Ms. Schmitt and Ms. V, you girls are the best!”
And… “You look like my mom.”
It was a nice reminder to enjoy this experience and the kids I get to work with every day. While it may be easy to focus on what didn’t get done that day, ultimately I am there for the students and to help them learn and grow.

On Wednesday, I decided to cook for my roommates (with their help of course.) It took a little longer than anticipated, but the end result was a success – pasta, laughter, and storytelling.

On Thursday, my teacher texted me before school to say that she would not be coming in because she was sick. I wasn’t too concerned since I had already experienced full control when we had had a sub earlier and I had a plan this time.  Since it was “A Day Without Immigrants” many of the students in my classroom and throughout Cooper were not at school, which made class sizes much more manageable and kept behavior problems to a minimum. The day didn’t go quite according to my plans since I had to postpone filming and teaching lesson 4 of 5 for edTPA until Friday when all the students would be there. Other than that, I felt much more comfortable “subbing” this time since I knew the students and the curriculum plans.
Overall, my biggest celebration is that every day I am getting closer to graduation and becoming a better teacher through this experience! This coming week I take over another science class and have my second observation – this will be my final week of partial control before six weeks of full control!