Education majors practice skills in hands-on setting

Student teaching is an experience that education majors work toward and look forward to for years. It is the time when all of their knowledge and skill are put into effect and when they truly get a grasp on what it is like to manage a classroom and impact the minds of young students. This spring semester, many seniors in the education department have the opportunity to embark on this journey. 

Joshua Durig, a middle level education major with a concentration in math and science, as well as Addison Checcio, a middle level education major with a concentration in science and English, are two who were eager to share their input on the program. 

Durig is currently teaching a fifth grade english and social studies class at Canon-McMillan School District. His second student teaching experience will be at the Canon-McMillan Middle School, where he will be teaching a seventh grade science class.

Student teaching to me is my final step in a long and rewarding journey.”

Joshua Durig, middle level education major

“I feel this way about it because I’ve spent the last three and a half years devoting most of my time and energy towards becoming a teacher and my last half year will be spent doing what I’ve been preparing for all this time,” Durig said.

Even though Durig’s daily routine consists of waking up earlier than most university students typically would, he only has positive things to say about his experience.

“My experience so far has been wonderful. I have an awesome host teacher, university supervisor and a wonderful group of students to work with daily,” Durig said. “I have truly been blessed with my experience so far.”

Being expected to create a massive amount of lesson plans has been quite the challenge along with keeping up with all of the paperwork that student teaching entails; however, Durig shared that some successes include teaching entertaining lessons that the students and himself have truly enjoyed and benefited from.

“A goal I have is to pass student teaching. Another goal of mine is to become more organized as a whole since I have never been organized in my life,” Durig said. With an enriching experience thus far, Durig said “this is definitely what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Checcio is currently at Waynesburg Central Elementary School teaching a fourth grade self-contained classroom, which means that she teaches everything. 

“Student teaching is the capstone of my education here at Waynesburg,” Checcio said. “It’s like on the job training for teachers. I learned the theory of teaching in class, and now I get to apply it to my own classroom, guided by my cooperating teacher.”

Although extremely nervous at first, Checcio fell in love with student teaching.

“My cooperating teacher is super supportive and the kids are wonderful. I look forward to growing in my ability this semester and beyond,” Checcio said. 

Adjusting to the schedule of an eight hour work day plus planning lessons, grading and making activities is difficult to adapt to but has been more than worth the effort.

“I connected really well with the class early on. I’m a naturally quiet person, so this was a big accomplishment for me,” Checcio said. “I made sure to introduce myself to all of the students and tried to learn a bit about them. Some of them have really taken to me.”

As for goals, Checcio said, “I want to kick my procrastination habit. This has been a big setback to me in the past. I also want to reach and connect with every kid in my class.”

Despite only student teaching for only one month, Checcio said she has already learned so much.

“At least I don’t have homework,” Checcio said. 

I know that I can do this. My advice to future teachers is to get into the habit of getting your work done well before it’s due and enjoy sleep while you have it. I can’t imagine jumping into teaching without any guidance or support from veteran teachers. It’s also nice that we build up to teaching all the classes, rather than jumping in the deep end,” Checcio said. “Overall, teaching is hard work, but one of the most rewarding jobs for the impact you make on kids.”