Children. Chaos. Crayons. These three words probably make you think of elementary school. Well, you’re right. However, there is a lot more to teaching than most people realize.

Recently, I started my student teaching in a preschool autistic support classroom. Although I had requested autistic support, I was worried when I found out I would be in a preschool classroom. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy educating young children, but I have never had much experience teaching students younger than first grade. I told myself, “David, the education department at Gannon has prepared you to be a great teacher, no matter the grade level. You can do it.” In my mind, I envisioned students running around the room and coloring pictures. I was concerned that I would be more of a “babysitter” than an “educator.”

I was wrong.

Although I am only a week into student teaching, I am learning a lotof information. Teaching students in the elementary grades requires more than playing games, coloring with crayons and singing songs (even though these are important for social interaction). Teaching involves knowing your students’ goals and objectives, IEPs (Individualized Education Programs), differentiating instruction for all the students, communicating/collaborating with other teachers and monitoring student progress.

I am enjoying every minute of student teaching and applying the methods and skills that I have learned in classes at Gannon. After student teaching in the preschool autism classroom, I will be in a fifth grade science classroom. Yes, a big jump!

I will continue to share more about my student teaching experience in my next blog!