Student Teaching is a time of transition, growth, questioning, and daily ups and downs- but after taking some time to reflect this incredible experience I've narrowed it down to the fact that it's not about me. Yes my role as a teacher is essential, but it's really about the students, the mentors and supporters, the community and culture and going back to the basics of what it takes to teach day in and day out.
It’s about students….It’s about David, Bryce or Jess… (names all changed) the ones that pushed me away all semester, challenged me and some days made me so frustrated by their comments, actions or lack of actions. But they are the ones I will remember, the ones I will wonder if they stayed in school after we tried time and time again to give them opportunities to succeed. It’s about caring even though they don’t. It's also about the ones that get just excited if not more about content and agriculture as I do. The ones that make you laugh, make your day or make you think. It's the students that make us work harder, and I love it. My time at Pequea Valley taught me the importance of the quote ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ I know I need to remember I teach students, and my subject area just happens to be agriculture.
There is a reason they don’t throw teachers right in a classroom, because mentorship is important- and I was blessed with the best. Doug Masser and Jasmine VanSant are the real MVPs. Laughing with these two and learning from them and with them was one of the best parts of this semester, because I know it doesn’t stop here, they are two people I can call in the future as I navigate being a new teacher. They let me be part of the team. The times they were silent, were necessary- for me to grow as a teacher, but also personally. In the last week watching both of them teach showed me how extremely lucky those students are to have them.
It’s about community and culture…..One part of my teaching philosophy is all about contextually and culturally relevant teaching… it honestly came about because of the time I spent studying ESL and studying abroad, but this is so much more. I have realized that no matter where I am, or the program I lead is in- it must meet the community's needs. I could have done a flower workshop or arrangements for the nursing home, but here it made more sense to provide something free of charge at a location that exists to serve our students, and those in poverty. Place based education and culturally relevant curriculum and events look different everywhere- which means the three circle model will look a little different everywhere- and it should. And the culture at Pequea Valley is different, yet so awesome, I think I will always carry the PV pride.
It’s about the basics…From Clarity of instruction, to basic directions, lab setup, check in or assessment…. It’s all about going back to the basics when something doesn’t work. It is so easy to say ‘I could have done so much better’ and in all honesty I may have been able to, but only because I have done it a few differetn ways and learned what worked and what didn’t work. Thankful for mentors that showed me the ropes and offered countless helpful hints in learning the basics.
It’s so much bigger than me, it’s about preparing students to be leaders, problem solvers and the agriculturalists our country and world needs. Thank you Pequea Valley for making me a better teacher, giving me a little sass once in awhile, and always making me laugh. With all the PV pride, Ms. Hack