Celebrating Westminster Student Teachers
This semester, 19 Westminster students completed student teaching assignments and will become certified teachers upon graduation. Hear from three of them – Michael Schulte, Kayla Foust, and Lauren Spohn – on what they learned as student teachers and how Westminster prepared them for their teaching careers.
Middle School Language Arts and Math
Recently, I found a quote about education by Lee Shulman. He says, “After some 30 years of [analyzing teaching], I have concluded that classroom teaching is perhaps the most complex, most challenging, and most demanding, subtle, nuanced, and frightening activity that our species has ever invented.”
As a future educator, I must agree with Mr. Shulman. There is so much happening at one time in the classroom that at times it is overwhelming. A teacher makes so many microscopic decisions every day and just one tiny mistake can ruin a whole class period. However, because of my education at Westminster College, I felt like I was prepared to not only make the right decisions in the classroom, but also to quickly fix my poor decisions.
This ability to quickly reflect and develop a plan of action to fix my mistakes has been essential in my student teaching experience. Yet what makes it even better is that when I do reflect, I am constantly remembering practical advice from my professors. The knowledge they gave me these last four years has been invaluable as a student teacher. I use it each and every day.
My cooperating teacher at Kenwood Academy in Chicago, IL brags that I am the most prepared student teacher he has ever had. I attribute that preparedness to my professors and the learning activities they have created. These projects, papers, portfolios, etc. have helped me transform from student to educator.
When I came to Westminster I was all business, meaning I wanted nothing but to get a Business degree and enter to enter into the business world after graduation. With Westminster being a liberal arts college you have to take classes in other fields of study, so I decided to take a few Education classes, because I thought it might be fun.
I ended up falling in love with the Education department here at Westminster. I changed my major to Early Childhood Education and later added on Elementary Education, one of the best decisions I made over the past four years. The most important thing I have learned at Westminster is to always strive to your best. I’ve always set goals for myself to do my best, no matter what, and thus I’m graduating with honors in May.
It would have been easy to give up these past two years, after my mom got diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and my grandma had a stroke, all within a month of each other—there was a lot on my plate. But, my professors and many other faculty and staff here at Westminster had my back and were there for me and still are, making these past two years worth it! The Education department has fully prepared me for my future in the Education world.
I have recently accepted a job in the Fulton Public Schools district at Bush Elementary. I can’t wait to begin this next chapter in my life! I honestly couldn’t have done it without the love, support and everything else Westminster has offered me.
Fulton High School
I came to Westminster thinking I wanted to become a lawyer. But, after having experienced the classroom through observations and Practicum, I knew it was where I was meant to be. My political science and my education professors challenged me to think about what I wanted out of life and how my future career should help fulfill my life’s goals. They asked tough questions that forced me to reflect on who I am and who I wanted to be.
Whether it be in education or political science, my professors have modeled what teaching truly is about. They constantly challenge me to think critically and show me compassion during stressful times. They offer useful advice and it is through this advice that I am ready to take on teaching with a passion for my life, my career, and my future students. I could not be more grateful for the experience I have had at Westminster. I truly believe that I would not be where I am today without Westminster College.