Student teachers influence lives of children in classroom interactions

Keith Robertson - Director of Clinical Field Experiences

Keith Robertson – Director of Clinical Field Experiences

The impact of a teacher is enormous. When you consider that a teacher’s actions alter student behavior regularly, and that those students in their turn, also influence others – you can see how exponentially influentil a teacher is, not can be, but is.

The goal, of course, is to make those initial influences fruitful and positive-to make a “ripple effect” that positively impacts far beyond the original action and setting.

Seventy-five student teachers from Missouri Southern began their 10-week field experience last Friday. Upon the conclusion of this final component of their training regimen, they will have completed a rigorous, often stressful, always challenging course of study that officially qualifies them to be teachers in Missouri.

Their learning curve is intentionally elevated during this time, and while they are mentored by caring master teachers in their receiving schools, and are advised by “University Supervisors” who have years of experience in guiding and cajoling and assisting in the development of beginning teachers, they must still show they have the compassion, the intelligence, the patience, and the courage to engage their assigned students daily, and provide those students with new challenges and experiences and opportunities for learning, and show that they are worthy to be selected to fulfill the role of Teacher – one who touches lives.

As Director of Clinical Field Experiences at Southern, I have the privilege of supervising the Student Teaching Program. During my work with the current Student Teachers, I have watched them encounter artificial learning situations in seminars, debate the merits of various educational techniques and theories, and weigh and judge the appropriateness of choices within the context of school settings.

It is my opinion that this group has all the ingredients required for success outlined above, and then some. I have watched them laugh and cry, protest improprieties and show outrage at injustices, sometimes even challenging their own teachers with their creativity and fearlessness; and in general, prove their worthiness of deserving a chance to show that they, too, can be teachers.

During the next 10 weeks they will be given that chance. I am betting on them. I feel they will touch lives positively and exponentially, both now and in the future. I believe they will fashion learning opportunities that will influence and motivate their students.

I feel they are led by a calling difficult to describe, but easy to detect. I feel they will manage excellent learning episodes for their kids, and will be renewed by the positive feedback they receive-charged with the energy to become the teachers they have dreamed of being-the kind of teachers who touch lives daily and make a positive difference in the world.