I am here in Denver to complete my student teaching. Right now, I am at Knapp Elementary in a 1st grade classroom. I came out West because I wanted a more urban and diverse environment in which to complete my student teaching. My wish has been granted.
In my time here at Knapp, I have gained a new outlook on teaching to such a diverse group of students. There has been so much I have learned in just these short seven weeks. I have some students who still do not know the alphabet and cannot write their names, but I also have students who can write five or more sentences without any assistance. I have one boy in particular, Izaiah, who had not been in school before this year. Since he is six years old, they could not start him out in Kindergarten, so he jumped straight into 1st grade. It has been a challenge working with him, but I have learned a lot throughout it. One strategy that I learned from my cooperating teacher is to write in highlighter or yellow marker the sentence that he needs to write, and then he is able to trace the words. This has been such an effective strategy to use for him since he does not know how to write letters correctly. Once he is finished with tracing his sentences, he is so proud of his work, and the smile on his face is what makes this job worth it throughout all of the hardships.
I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else. I have grown not only in my teaching, but also in my confidence to be away from home and in a completely new setting on my own. The friendships that I have made with other Wartburg West students along with me through this journey will be something I have for the rest of my life. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to come out here to Denver to learn and grow professionally and personally.