Career Connections

Katelyn Brackens

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: KIN-Physical Education Teacher Education

Year: Senior

Type of experience: Student Teaching
Company/Organization: Hoover High School & Fellows Elementary School
Company/Organization website:
Title: Physical Education Teacher
Destination: Des Moines, IA & Ames, IA
Timeframe: 01/04/16 - 03/03/16 & 03/07/16 - 05/04/16

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
I was required to plan and teach as a full time teacher for at least 2 weeks. It was important for me to get to know the schools' staff and cooperating teachers. I reported to the schools just as a regular, full contract teacher would on a daily basis. I was also required to attend all meetings and in-services, just as a full-time teacher would on a regular basis. I had to take attendance and lead classes. When I was in charge of teaching, I created units and lessons that had to be done in a timely manner so that my cooperating teachers could check them over and approve them for me to begin teaching. I also had to handle all behavioral disruptions as they came up within the classrooms. It was also required that I reflect on my teaching and my experiences in the classrooms. Finally, I had to meet all standards and show how I did that by entering artifacts into an E-Portfolio, as well as by turning in two physical portfolios showing all of my reflections, units, lessons, and all other required materials for each placement.

I will never forget...
My most memorable experience from student teaching happened at Hoover High School. It was towards the end of my placement, and my cooperating teacher was gone. There was a substitute teacher present, but I led the class like always. As I had the student working through fitness stations, one of the students stated that I was the most fitness oriented P.E. teacher they had ever had. Though I don't think he was saying it in a good way, as in thanking me, I felt very proud at that moment. It showed me that I had gotten my point across to the students. They knew that I believed in the importance of being healthy and active, and it was coming through in my lessons and conversations with the students.

A surprising discovery...
I thought that I would really enjoy working with the high school students much more than the elementary students. However, I was surprised when I switched to the elementary. I found it really enjoyable as to just how willing and excited they were to participate as compared to the dragging feet of the high school students. I really had to work so much more on my motivational techniques while working at Hoover, but at the elementary, I had no trouble getting them going. Instead, at the elementary level I had to work much more on my behavioral and disciplinary actions.

Advice for others...
My advice would be to stay organized! There is a lot of planning and paperwork involved with student teaching. If you are not organized, it will be hard to pull everything together for you portfolios in the end. Try to iron out your lessons and start placing them in your portfolio as you go along and after each lesson is done. That way there will not be so much work at the end. Also, be willing and open to constructive criticism, suggestions, and comments from your cooperating teachers. Remember, they have been doing this much longer than we have, and though their style may not fit well with yours, I'm sure they will have helpful information to share with you that could be beneficial to you as a future educator. Be willing to take what they give you and adjust and reevaluate your original plans so that they become even better.

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