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Part 8: Student Teaching Experience Reflection

Standard 8

I cannot believe I did it. I actually survived teaching 4 French classes this semester! The feelings

of dread and doom that I felt in back January were valid, as I knew I had a daunting task ahead of

me, but without the support of my 2 cooperating teachers, my CSU advisor, my FRH colleagues,

and especially my family, not to mention the wonderful French students that I had the privilege

to teach this semester, I couldnt have finished as well as I did.

My student teaching went well because I was able to build great relationships with my students.

Overall, I sincerely enjoy this age group and find it easy to engage them in discussion and

activities in the French classroom. I remember my own high school years as if they were

yesterday, so I often think back on my experiences as an adolescent trying to navigate life and

school at this age and so I have so much empathy for my own students. I couldnt have asked for

a better placement here at FRH with the 2 teachers that held-my hand every step of the way

whether in planning, dealing with student issues (thats a whole other paper!), field trips, cooking

days, learning how to work the copy machine, or even simply turn on the high-tech lights in the

classroom the list is embarrassingly endless. I never hesitated to go to them for help or advice.

I feel so blessed. This experience was the most authentic and valuable of all of my CSU

Education training and although I felt prepared, I was still intimidated.

My schedule was absolutely perfect I had 3 preps/4 classes and taught 3rd period, 4th period, 6th

period and 7th period. I had a planning period every day but I was usually running around

helping my cooperating teachers, covering classes, or grading, so most of my planning was done

after school or on the weekends. I found that I would stay after school some days until 5pm
planning, and unfortunately my school key badge would stop working automatically at 3:20pm

so I would get locked out of the office every afternoon which was a pain, but someone was

always here to let me back in.

I learned that it is very challenging to take over 4 classes wherein students are absolutely devoted

to their real French teachers. There was one student in-particular that pined for her real teacher

so it was hard for me to teach her because I felt that I was being compared. However, by the end

of the semester she and I had really bonded and I felt that way about almost all of my 94

students. There were a handful of boys that gave me so much trouble with disrespect and

disruption in the classroom although I feel we patched things up, I didnt have the same

relationship with them as I did the others try as I might.

Most of the semester I felt like I was just borrowing these students to accomplish my student

teaching requirements and I felt guilty about that. I didnt want to ruin them with my

inexperience in teaching French 3 (I had a lot of experience teaching French 2 with my

wonderful EDUC 450 cooperating teacher at Fort Collins last year, and I taught two sections of

French 1 here at FRHS 3 years ago), however my students wrote me thank you notes and

personal notes on my last day of teaching to say goodbye and I was so touched and really

finished on a positive note.

If I could have done anything differently in my student teaching experience, I would have liked

to have spent a few days at the beginning of the semester getting to know the students and having

them get to know me. There was no time to do that this semester as I just jumped right in. It was

an awkward start for me because of this in the past I have always given a presentation about

who I am and played games with my students to build relationships those first few days, but I

didnt feel it was my right to tell my cooperating teachers that I wanted to do this and take away
from valuable teaching time. I feel like I had a shaky start and really recognize how much I have

grown as a teacher in confidence and ability over the course of the semester.

Some of my favorite days were when I gave presentations to the AP French 5 class about my life

and education in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. Every year for the past 4 or 5 years I

have been coming to Fossil for a day to teach the AP class about the education system in DRC,

and this year was no exception. Although I was not student teaching in this class, I was in there

all the time working and helping if my cooperating teacher needed me and I was so fortunate to

be exposed to this level of French class and watch my cooperating teacher and learn from the

best. The same can be said for all of the French classes I was known to and comfortable in all

the of classes even if I was not their teacher because my cooperating teachers and I have such a

close relationship and fluidity in our teaching and classroom management that we welcome each

other in our classrooms and share great relationships with all of the French students. Every day at

lunch the 3 of us would hole up in our classroom and try to have a few minutes of alone time

but inevitably, students would trickle in to hang out with us which was adorable and speaks

volumes to how they feel about their teachers and how open and approachable they are.

My 2 cooperating teachers have very different teaching and planning styles I felt so fortunate

to be able to learn from both of them and we often joked that I was their child because I was

exactly a perfect combination of them in my classroom management and teaching style. One is

very disciplined, organized, experienced, professional, and serious. She would spend hours

sitting with me helping me with technology, planning, everything. She shared everything she

could with me her materials, games, activities. She was the lead and I didnt veer off track. The

other was relaxed, hysterical, disorganized, let me do whatever I wanted in my planning when I

took over 2 of his 3 sections of French 2 he was outta there I would deliver his plans that I
wrote to him every day and he would just teach whatever I told him in the plans. I had both

extremes and I loved it. I recognize that I am a combination of both of them in my teaching but

still me, too.

I had a challenging week towards the end of my teaching where a couple of boys were becoming

more and more disruptive during class and affecting the learning of other students, so finally,

after talking to them each privately, I felt I had to get the advice from my cooperating teacher

about what to do when they took my property off the desk without my knowledge, amongst other

things. It was decided that I should notify their parents (which I did) and then I made an

appointment with the Dean and she told me to write the boys a referral. I was so scared that the

boys would be mad at me, however, they were both very apologetic and contrite and things

ended up much better after that intervention with the Dean. They had to perform community

service one of them asked me if there was anything he could do to help in the French

classroom, so I gave him the job of taking all 29 of my French 1 class Au Village buildings

down to the language lab. He was such a hard worker and was so grateful that I let him work in

the French classroom instead of scraping gum off the hallway floors!

My student teaching experience this semester was not just limited to my classroom (I actually

had 2 classrooms which was tricky on Mondays when I taught all my classes and had to run back

and forth, forgetting materials very tricky to not teach in just one space!). I participated on

Wednesdays in early morning tutoring for my French students, tutored during Advisory on

Fridays, attended Staff Meetings, Parent Teacher Conference, World Language Day at UNC,

helped the FRHS choir learn a French song (the pronunciation part, not the music!), went to

students baseball games, tennis matches, swim meets, the high school musical, Addams Family

where I had at least 20 students involved in the production from stage manager, to set design,
to tech, to costumes and make-up. I am incredibly proud of my students they lead such busy

and stressful lives, but the future is bright because they are going to go out into the world and be

successful, contributing members of society.

I still cant believe I made it through 15 weeks at break-neck speed teaching all of my classes,

endless planning, stressing, chasing my students down in the hallways to take tests they missed

or turn in projects. In a few days I will be driving away from FRHS for the last time and I will

cherish my time here and hope that when I find a job teaching French that it will be as fun,

rewarding, and interesting as my 4 months student teaching with 2 of the greatest teachers Ive

ever known.