So you want to be a teacher? One of the major steps along the way is student teaching, where college education majors step into a classroom to put their own classroom learning to the test in the real world. We asked Morgan Green, a senior music education major at University of Mobile, to give us an inside look at the student teaching experience, how she prepared for it and what she learned.
Who is Morgan? She’s from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and enjoys studying both music and education as well as being a part of the ensemble Voices of Mobile in the Alabama School of the Arts. Her focus is on choral and vocal music. She has taught vocal and piano lessons through The Academy in the Alabama School of the Arts and enjoys reading and spending time with her friends in her free time.
Q: What has student teaching taught you?
A: It has taught me so much!
* Your students often reflect your energy and attitude. Start each day/class with a warm greeting and a smile. You will never know how much it means to someone.
* When the students get something right, make it a BIG deal. Celebrate! When they mess up, don’t sweat it. Just try again!* Have a plan and be fully prepared but know that it may go nothing like you’ve planned. So be flexible!
* Middle-schoolers have a lot of questions. Don’t be overwhelmed by that. Most of their questions can be used as new, sometimes unexpected, learning opportunities!
* When you’re the teacher, you are the expert in the room. * Trust God for each day, moment and hour, and don’t let fear or stress get in the way.
Q: How have your teachers/classes prepared you for this? How have student/teacher relationships in college helped you prepare for student teaching?
A: I am so grateful that my teachers at UM, both in the School of Education and the Alabama School of the Arts, worked diligently to prepare me for student teaching and for my career. They were honest with me about the challenges I would face and how hard I needed to work, but that I am capable. Though they all taught me well, I want to specifically thank, Dr. Charlotte Hester (associate professor of music education). I frequently found myself in her office or staying after class to have another helpful discussion. She never hesitated to provide me with the resources, wisdom and prayer I needed. I truly love that UM is a place where our professors know us and care about us on a personal level.
Q: How have the opportunities and experiences UM has given you prepared you for leading a classroom on your own?
A: The performance opportunities at UM taught me how to stand in front of a crowd (whether students or adults) and present music with confidence. The spiritual training at UM (chapel, Bible studies, Christian studies classes, personal relationships) taught me Christ is my foundation and apart from Him I can do nothing. The lessons in piano and voice at UM taught me how to be a better musician and always keep learning. My friendships at UM taught me to rely on a community of believers for my needs and to also serve others to meet theirs. The traveling I’ve done with Voices of Mobile opened my eyes to how our God is at work all over the world, in many cultures, languages and nations.
These are only a few of the ways that studying at UM has positively and permanently impacted my life. I know that each of these experiences has helped me to develop the skills I will use for years to come as a music educator.
Q: Why are you at University of Mobile? What do you love about the university?
A: I treasure being at University of Mobile because it has given me the opportunity to grow academically and spiritually and to learn how I can exalt Jesus within my career. This is truly a special place that provides a unique, Christ-centered education. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I’ve also had the chance to travel with Voices of Mobile to places like Cuba, Israel, the Bahamas, and countless churches in the U.S. I’m so grateful for those opportunities to apply the skills I’m learning, expand my perspective, serve others, and spread the name of our university and of the Lord Jesus Christ.