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Here goes nothing

Michelle Otto | Monday, October 11, 2004

Oh mid-terms week, mid-terms week…

When I think about what the end of this week means for me, I get a little scared. This week marks my last mid-terms week at Notre Dame. I am halfway through my last semester as a college student.

No, I’m not graduating in December. I will still be here in South Bend, I will still be paying tuition to Notre Dame (sadly). But I will not have any classes on campus. Instead, I will spend eight hours a day (at least), five days a week at Mishawaka High School (MHS), student teaching in the English department.

That’s right. I’m a Notre Dame student who doesn’t spend a lot of time on campus. I am at Saint Mary’s College for half of my classes this semester, and I spend a few hours a day, three days a week at MHS.

The time at MHS is a requirement for my education methods class. For all of the science majors out there, think of it as a lab; I spend the time in a controlled (and sometimes not so controlled) environment, doing hands-on work that relates to what happens in the coordinating class. That’s basically what a lab is, right?

Right now, I have three experiments, so to speak. I work with seniors in a college-credit course and two remedial sophomore classes. And wow, are they fun. The difference between the classes is astounding.

My seniors, well, I think some of them are on the same maturity level as myself and my supervising teacher (their real teacher, Mrs. Fisher). My sophomores, on the other hand, well, I wouldn’t know where to begin. But getting them to pay attention to early American Literature (e.g. The Declaration of Independence, Anne Bradstreet and Jonathan Edwards) is like pulling teeth.

I love these kids, though. They may have their quirks and may be a handful sometimes, but I’ve been getting to know them for the past six weeks, and I look forward to the challenge I face next semester when Ms. Otto takes over the classroom.

Which brings me back to this week and the scared feeling that it excites. Next semester, I will be in the quasi-real world. I will be the teacher, not the student, full-time. I won’t be living the typical second-semester senior life; I’ll be getting up at 6 a.m. every day and will actually HAVE to go to class – and be awake for it.

But even scarier is the fact that those crazy sophomores and over-achieving seniors will be looking to me as the teacher. It’s one thing to go in there every other day and play assistant, but it’s another to completely take over. I said I look forward to the challenge, but I’m still nervous about it. So come January, here goes nothing…