Student Teachers at JHS

Maida Jusufovic, Staff Writer

It is the time of year again when student teachers are a big presence at JHS. Student teachers hold the role of both pupil and educator. As they wrap up their college education, they are able to dip their toes into the world of classroom education. Student teachers are scattered in classrooms all around JHS.

For every student teacher, the process of being placed at a school looks a little different.  Student teacher for John Chai, Benjamin Wyberg, discusses the process that he experienced, “At Iowa State, we had a survey and an interview with one of the coordinators. They just asked us for our preferences… The coordinator pretty much was able to assign us a location with a teacher in our subject of interest.”

Student teacher for Rachel Jensen and Drake University student, Adrianne Herbert, had a different experience from Wyberg as she held previous experience at Johnston. “I had been to Johnston before with Kyla Burns for a practicum and I really enjoyed Johnston… I just requested suburbs and I really wanted biology or anatomy, so I’m really happy with my placement,” said Herbert.

Making the decision to become a teacher and throw yourself into the world of education varies for every teacher. “When I started at college, I was a biochemistry major and I was going to do research or med school. Then, I just decided that that wasn’t really for me. I was really stressed all the time and just wasn’t happy with where my life was going at that point. I switched to education my sophomore year of college, and I’ve just been really happy ever since,” said Herbert.

Wyberg shares his experience of how he came to the decision that he wanted to pursue teaching, “When I was looking at careers in meteorology, which is what I graduated with, none really struck gold at something that I would like to do… Between being a TA for a class in college and being a peer mentor, I considered teaching as a good career and so far, I don’t regret it.”

As student teachers come closer to starting their professional teaching career, they have to consider what level of education and field they would like to pursue. “I’d really like to stay with high school. I like the content at a high school level better than at a middle school level… I’d like to do just biology, or I really enjoy anatomy if I could find a school with that opening,” said Herbert.

The experience of being in a classroom has given student teachers the chance to view the classroom from a teacher’s perspective and discover their preferred instructing method. “I’m still trying to work out what I like or what works well for me and what works well for only Mr. Chai. I’m trying to figure out where my style lands,” said Wyberg.

While viewing the classroom from a teacher’s perspective, student teachers also get the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with their students. “Getting to know the students has been really exciting. I feel like I’m building relationships and hopefully am being impactful, which is the goal of teaching. I really just want to make an impression and help students learn and grow and be their best selves,” said Herbert.

The student teaching experience comes with many highs, as student teachers get to discover what they truly love about the job. “My favorite part is the actual teaching portion of it, like when I’m helping students with questions or presenting some information and asking students for feedback or responses. The in-classroom portion of the job is my favorite,” said Wyberg.

Just like every other job, the student teaching experience also comes with lows. “Getting used to planning things out is kind of tough. Whenever we did lessons at school at Drake, it would just be like planning a random unit for a random time. There’s no before or after… Just actually thinking about lessons from a student perspective, rather than just a teacher perspective, has been, not necessarily difficult but, an adjustment for sure,” said Herbert.

Along with the lows, there are many tasks that student teachers have to accomplish behind the scenes. “For getting my teaching license, there’s a lot of side assignments that I have to do and that is probably one of my least favorite parts of the job,” said Wyberg. 

As their time at JHS continues to grow, student teachers have the chance to reflect on how they feel about the school. “Being a student teacher here, I really liked the openness of the community and… how much of an open communication system we’ve had here. It’s really nice how us teachers can work together to help as many students as possible… It’s been a lot smoother than I was expecting,” said Wyberg.

Student teachers also get the chance to compare and contrast their teaching experiences to their peers’ teaching experience at other schools. “I have friends at other schools who just don’t have this many resources for teachers. I know at Johnston, we have a lot of resources. There’s nothing I’ve needed that we don’t have or that we can’t get. I feel very supported,” said Herbert.

Student teachers aren’t leaving JHS just yet. As they continue to pursue their career dreams, both students and teachers will be wishing them the best of luck. “I wanted to be impactful to the youth. I’ve always thought teaching would be a great way to do that. I definitely made the right choice,” said Herbert.