For Ms. Harris, one of Leesville’s many student teachers, the decision to pursue a career in education was obvious.
“My mom’s a teacher, everybody else in my family’s a teacher, and I’ve always been a mentor and tutor,” said Harris. “I’ve kind of been teaching since [I discovered] I was able to help others.”
Currently enrolled in North Carolina State University, Harris is busy working towards becoming a high school English teacher.
“College is really good and essential. I think the courses that helped me the most were my English classes since I’m teaching English education. It was helpful to kind of see [the] texts and once I knew I wanted to teach English, I [watched] how my professors would teach English and I learned from their examples,” said Harris.
Now in the final semester of her senior year, Harris is putting all of her energy into student teaching under Mr. Broer. A typical day as a student teacher is busy for Harris, but well worth it.
In her own words, here’s a closer look at a day in the busy life of Ms. Harris:
4:30 AM: “I get up and get ready for the day. I might go over my lessons for first and third and fourth, and then my commute is about 30 minutes, about half an hour from the [NC State] campus to Leesville.”
7:25 AM – 2:18 PM: “Throughout the day, I teach in first period and then my planning’s in second…I try to plan during that period but I feel like there’s always something else to do, or there’s always somewhere we need to be or a conversation that needs to be had. But I try to grade and plan for the rest of the week and then of course I continue through the day…I just finished one complete text with a group of tenth grade honors students and I’m almost wrapping up To Kill a Mockingbird [with ninth grade]. Two texts is a pretty good amount.”
2:35 PM – 4-4:30 PM: “I’ll have meetings after school normally…I go to all of the meetings and department meetings and faculty meetings. I’m just like a mini teacher. I do what normal teachers do, go where they go, just without a paycheck. I get home around 4-4:30, at the latest.”
4:30 PM – bedtime: “I do a lot of lesson planning at home. There’s [also] a lot of grading involved. It’s definitely an all encompassing, time consuming career choice but it’s fun when you actually get to teach.”
Although she thoroughly enjoys practicing as a student teacher, Harris still comes face to face with challenges and difficulties, just like you would any other job. Her motivation to keep going is inspiring.
“What keeps me going are the days that really work out well or that activity that clicks, like that kid actually gets something or learns from you, you know, everything’s gone well that day, nobody had their phones out, you didn’t have to yell at anybody, nobody’s mad at you…Those days are just the best days ever. Those days are worth it. They make the bad ones worth it,” said Harris.
As Ms. Harris finishes up her time as a student teacher and begins her transition into a full-time educator, she hopes to bring with her a lot of the teaching and communication skills she learned after working directly with students.
“I hope to take away a lot of different styles of teaching and how best to communicate with kids and kind of get them interested in learning. I feel like I’m so close to y’alls generation. I’m only four years older than some people but y’all are still so different from I was, the learning was so different. I want to get on board with how you guys need to learn versus how I learned when I was in high school,” said Harris.
It’s evident that Ms. Harris is a great student teacher and will be an even better professional teacher. Harris is very bright and filled with new, creative ideas about how to teach information. This creativity is something teachers often lack, making it hard for most students to learn effectively and to the best of their ability. Ms. Harris will be a big hit with her future students and give them the foundation they need to be more than successful.