As a Junior in the Teach Education Program at Benedictine University, I have begun a huge transition in my life. I am crossing that boundary from student into teacher and it is extremely nerve wracking. Once you are admitted into the program, you can begin your Preclinical experience. This is your first opportunity to get your feet wet in the education field. Before this time, you have only been taught about what goes on in the classroom. Now, you get the chance to experience it first hand. Although this is exciting, it can be daunting because you can finally answer the question: “Is this the career for me?” The scariest thought for me right before I entered my first Preclnical was something along the lines of “What if I enter this classroom and feel completely out of place?” If that’s the case, the dream that I have had for 6 years of being a teacher means absolutely nothing.
Luckily, my first preclinical experience has been an interesting and positive one thus far. I have been placed in a freshman Biology classroom at Benet Academy. Once I entered the classroom on my first day with my professional atttire and coffee in hand, I must admit I felt pretty awesome. It was cool to see the excitement the kids had towards a new face in the classroom. One girl even raised her hand at the beginning of the class to say “I want to know what her name is!” While watching the lectures the teacher performed in class, sometimes it was easy to forget that I wasn’t a student. I found myself listening to the lecture instead of observing the teacher and students. The hardest part for me is taking that initiative in the classroom and putting myself out there to develop a relationship with the students. It’s difficult to realize that you are an authority figure, and you have to take things into your own hands.
After each week of site visits, there are at least two analysis papers that must be written, as well as notes on each site visit. You always have to connect your experience back to the teaching standards and student learning. I will not lie to you, the preclinical experience at Benedictine University is A LOT of work. It is tedious, it is long, and it is extremely time consuming. If you are a Biology major, student worker, and cross-country and track runner like I am, you will probably be extremely over-worked and stressed to the max ( I have come to accept my fate this semester). But hopefully, at the end of it all, you will come out with the satisfying feeling that this is what you want to do. When I heard from my cooperating teacher during me second week of visits that the students were asking where I was all week, I know I got that feeling of satisfaction.