Learning Through Teaching

Learning Through Teaching:

Student Teaching Challenges and Opportunities

Janine Kolinski, a 2012 music education graduate, reflects on her student teaching experience.

Where did you student teach? I student taught with two different traveling music teachers. So, I actually taught at four different schools: Slinger Middle School, Slinger High School, Slinger Elementary, and Allenton Elementary.

How well did Maranatha prepare you for this student teaching experience? I went into student teaching feeling very confident and ready to teach. My music education classes prepared me to be able to adapt to the many responsibilities and leadership roles I had during my public school student teaching experience.

What are some of your favorite student teaching memories? High school was great because I was able to build a good rapport with the students. I learned that when a teacher shows kindness and a genuine interest in their students, the students not only open up, but they also respect the teacher. Elementary is SO different, but each one of my elementary students was a joy to teach. Due to the rural location of one of the elementary schools, I heard many stories of my students’ daily activities on the family farm from feeding pigs and chickens to birthing cows! I truly have to say, elementary music teaching was a blast.

In what ways did student teaching challenge you to grow? Student teaching challenged me to always be prepared for my classes both from a musical and educational standpoint. Also, the experience challenged me to turn every situation into learning opportunity for the students (and me). I also learned that being a teacher goes way beyond the classroom hours. :->

What was the most valuable aspect of your student teaching? By far, the most valuable aspect was learning effective systems of classroom management. Being placed in front of a 115 member band on the first day of student teaching was a huge learning experience for me!! I am really excited about all of the different strategies and techniques for effectively managing elementary through high school music classrooms that I learned.

What was having a Maranatha alumnus as a cooperating teacher like? Working with Maranatha alumnus, Mr. Adam Kieckhafer, was great!!  Mr. Kieckhafer is a wonderful example of how to maintain a Christ-like disposition in a public school classroom while effectively educating his students. Without question, he is a great model to me, as well as his students.

What opportunities did you have while student teaching? Quite a few! At the high school level, I was able to conduct three different bands in a concert, and I also conducted Slinger’s Wind Ensemble at Marquette University’s band festival. At the elementary level, I had the opportunity to direct all 300 students during the last “All School Sing.” As a result of my student teaching, I was offered the opportunity to teach the Slinger school district’s summer school music class “STOMP” (“STOMP” is a percussion class where only every day objects or “homemade” percussion instruments are used).

If you could take your college courses all over again, what would you do differently? I would have gone above and beyond in my education classes!!  I used every bit of what I learned, and more.

What advice would you give to music students preparing to student teach? Take advantage of every possible opportunity to observe in both public and private school settings. You can learn so much from both settings. Most importantly—never ever turn down the opportunity to learn.

Will you be teaching music next fall? Yes! I will be directing Maranatha Baptist Academy Band as well as Calvary Baptist Christian School 5th grade band.