‘It’s definitely no daycare:’ Student teachers discuss a day in their life

Student teacher, Hannah Grace Lemanski, prepares for her classroom and shares the difficulties that students in Baylor's School of Education face daily. Olivia Martin | Photo Editor

By Lauren Combs | Reporter

Students in Baylor’s School of Education discuss the stigma surrounding teachers by detailing the difficulty of their everyday schedules.

Grosse Point Park, Mich., senior Hannah Lemanski said she typically begins each day at 5 a.m.

“I get two hours at home, in the Bible and in prayer,” Lemanski said. “I get time to be with the Lord, and then it takes me five minutes to get ready. I make lunch and then by 7:15 a.m. I’m out the door.”

Lemanski is an intern and teaches a class of second graders, through the School of Education, Monday through Thursday at Bell’s Hill Elementary School. Lemanski said interns are expected to be there at 7:30 a.m. and the students arrive at 7:45 a.m.

“We start with reading, kids have specials, then writing, and then after lunch is math, recess and science or social studies,” Lemanski said. “The kids are dismissed around 3:10 p.m. for car dismissal — student dismissal takes about 30-40 minutes, and so depending on if we have a faculty meeting or not, I’d say on average I leave the school building around 4:15 p.m.”

After school, Lemanski works out, hangs with friends, participates in sorority intramural games, serves in a church prayer team, completes her benchmarks and lesson plans and is in bed by 9:30 p.m. Lemanski said she learns best through experience, so she loves the schedule of full-time teaching and learning from mentor teachers.

“It’s really different because a lot of universities and colleges have their education program [where] you have four years of undergrad, you do your classes and then after your undergrad, you have a fifth year of doing your TA — you’re student teaching somewhere,” Lemanski said. “ Baylor does it like you’re done with your classes in three years and by the time you graduate, you are ready to go get hired, which is amazing and really rare.”

To prepare seniors to teach full time, the School of Education requires juniors to become teacher’s assistants and alternate teaching small and large groups of students for half of the day Monday through Thursday.

“I think junior year was actually more difficult because I was having to balance teaching in the mornings and then taking classes in the afternoons,” Lemanski said. “I like [senior year] because I can focus all of my efforts and energy into teaching. It’s not like I’m teaching here, sort of, but then I also have to study for all my other classes, and it’s kind of like you’re split between these two different worlds of Baylor and teaching.”

Mesquite junior Shelby Taylor is also a teacher’s aide for a third grade class. Along with teaching half days, Taylor takes a math, science, literacy and teaching seminar class.

“Tuesday, Thursday is a doozy because I have class at 11 a.m. So I pack my bag with a change of clothes and lunch, hopefully leave my classroom by like 10:30 a.m. at the elementary school, get back here, find a place to park, go to the SOE and change clothes,” Taylor said. “Hopefully [I] have time to eat a snack or like half of a lunch. Then, I’m in my math class from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., and then from 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. I have my science content class.”

Robinson senior Rosendo Montoya, who teaches fourth grade, said there is a stigma surrounding student teachers that is incorrect.

“It’s definitely no daycare,” Montoya said. “We’re teaching to a standard. We’re not just making up stuff to have fun and paint and color. It’s nothing like that at all.”

The Texas Education Agency website outlines the curriculum requirements for every subject and unit from kindergarten through 12th grade. These requirements are referred to as Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills — TEKS. Montoya said this is the standard that is required by all teachers to follow.

“My responsibilities for my students is to teach them,” Montoya said. “To make sure they are understanding the concept I just introduced to them, and not only to have them learn it, but apply it to their daily work and to their lives.”