Northwood Student-Teachers

Rachel Gima, Staff Writer

Whether they’re working at a desk in the back of the classroom, conferring with their master teacher, clarifying concepts to students or teaching their own lesson, the student-teachers at Northwood are constantly on the move. 

“I chose to student-teach in order to gain the experience necessary to eventually take on my own classroom,” Instrumental Music student-teacher Johnston Nguyen said. “I find great joy in leading students to find success, big or small, either in music or in life.” 

To fulfill their goals, student-teachers start by observing Northwood teachers, eventually transitioning to teaching themselves — taking on certain class periods, directing activities or lessons and hosting office hours in the mornings—to gain experience in different classroom settings.

“As with any skill, teaching requires a significant amount of practice,” science student-teacher Sarah Smith said. “Being able to student-teach gives me the opportunity to get that practice and develop my skill while receiving feedback from experienced teachers.” 

With all the valuable experience and skills one can gain, student-teaching is definitely a rewarding experience, but also comes with its fair share of challenges. A notable one for many student-teachers is one that all students can relate to: time management. Student-teachers juggle teaching, attending their own classes, working and spending time with family and friends. 

“The biggest challenge for me is definitely navigating between student-teaching and finding the time to do all my schoolwork for my teaching program,” English student-teacher Alessandro Louly said. “It’s been a rough school year and Zoom is not always the best format for learning, but we’ll get through it.”

Having a busy schedule is something no Northwood student is a stranger to and neither are our student teachers, but there are some ways to manage that. 

“I try to stay on top of things the best I can,” Nguyen said. “This not only means writing things down so I don’t forget and setting to-do lists to organize my day, but also knowing when to stop. The harder we work, the more important it becomes to remind ourselves to eat three meals a day, to take time to relax and to sleep at a reasonable time.”

The stressful busy schedules are not the only thing Northwood students have in common with their student-teachers, but they also have a growth mindset in  viewing obstacles as learning experiences.

“Before you begin teaching, you have developed notions about how you are going to be in the classroom,” Smith said. “More often than not, these beliefs do not execute. To overcome these flops, I have had to constantly assess and reflect on what I did in the classroom that day and determine how I can turn that failure into a success.”

The student-teachers on campus all work hard to ensure that the students learn as much as they can in a variety of ways and become the best versions of themselves that they can be.

““The students here at Northwood are amazing,” math student-teacher Gregory Dharman said. “They are so smart and thoughtful in all ways, shapes and forms.”

Students often are unaware of how they are perceived, but knowing that hard work is being recognized is an encouraging incentive to continue learning. Student-teachers, rather than solely teaching, learn from students as well. 

“There’s a certain vibe that the students bring that I really enjoy being at Northwood,” Nguyen said. “The interactions I’ve seen, whether it be with each other or with the music, have been quite inspiring. I love seeing the students running the show, teaching each other and creating a positive learning environment.”