Editor’s note: This story was written by Alex Bader for COM 301 Advanced Newswriting.
Seniors at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota who are elementary education majors have to do a lot of work in the fall; they need to prepare for class, teach the class, grade assignments, and prepare for the EDTPA.
For the last two months, while most Saint Mary’s students stay on campus for school, a small amount of fellow classmates majoring in elementary education have been teaching their prospective grades.
Catherine Seifert, a senior at Saint Mary’s, is currently student teaching fourth grade. Jared Hippman, also a senior at Saint Mary’s, is currently student teaching third grade.
Student teachers have to create the lesson plans for the day and then teach the lessons, said Seifert. “It can get pretty stressful at times. However, for me the fun times with the kids out-weigh the stressful times,” Seifert said.
When it comes to creating a lesson plan, it can take anywhere from an hour to multiple hours, said Seifert. “For me, it depends on what subject I’m teaching,” said Seifert. “For example, when I need to make a math lesson plan it can take me a while because I struggle with math at times.”
Teaching the kids is the reward for all the hard work. “If you don’t enjoy teaching kids then you are in the wrong major,” said Hippman.
When grading, student teachers have time to reflect on how well they presented the lesson plan for the day. “It can be hard for me if I see a student that didn’t do well on the homework because it could mean I didn’t teach it right,” said Seifert. Grading assignments can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, Seifert said.
On top of going to school from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, these students have to prepare for their EDTPA; a teacher performance assessment that all student teachers must complete to get their teaching license, said Hippman. Students spend about 10 hours a week working the EDTPA, Hippman and Seifert said.
Elementary education majors have a lot on their plate. “There is no rest for the wicked, more like no rest for education majors,” said Seifert.