By Anna Herring
Various personality types are represented in my class of 18 students. I don’t play “favorites,” but I have developed good relationships with my students and am particularly close to some of them. One student who I have come to know and love is always ready to listen, anxious to learn, and willing to help others at a moment’s notice. He stays after school due to a challenging home life, but I never see him without a smile. He is such a pleasure to teach. He makes my day brighter, and every day after school while he waits for his family to pick him up, he and I get a chance to talk about what he has learned in class. One day I taught him how to tell time, and we’ve had some other great conversations. When we were talking about American government, I told him that if he ever ran for president, I would vote for him in a heartbeat! He got this little smile on his face and gave me a high five.
Another of my great students struggled with behavior problems at the beginning of the semester. I realized that he needed to know that I cared before I would be able to help him be successful in his schoolwork. I stayed late after school one day to help him with a paper. While we were working, he began to see how much I cared. As I got to know him, I began to see him as a person instead of just another student. Throughout the semester I have learned what makes him stressed and what causes him to act up during class. He knows that I am there for him and that we can work to get over academic rough patches together. I know how to get him to smile! Even though he also has a difficult home life, he knows that he can come to school to learn and that the adults here care about him.
"Throughout the semester I have learned what makes him stressed and what causes him to act up during class. He knows that I am there for him and that we can work to get over academic rough patches together."
My student teaching has been so rewarding that it’s hard to pick a highlight of the semester. I’ll always remember the time when one of my students said to me, “Ms. Herring, I love you like a mom, but sometimes you can be kind of stern.” “Stern” doesn’t necessarily sound positive, but at the time that I received this feedback, I wasn’t sure how much my class respected me as a teacher. The mother of the student who expressed this statement is currently in prison. I am grateful that this student saw me as a caring adult figure, but that she also saw that I had high expectations for behavior in my class.
Anna Herring, a senior studying elementary education who is a member of the MSE Student Alumni Board, is student teaching in Washington DC. Follow Anna’s urban student teaching experience during her semester in our nation’s capitol.