Our school has a set of vocationally funded courses for students who are interested in becoming teachers. In the first year students take Child Development and Careers Working with Children. The second year is Teaching as a Career. For the third year, students enroll in Teacher Internship where they are placed in a classroom according to their interests. It is a high school version of student teaching, I guess. I am lucky enough to have one of these interns in my largest (24) Algebra 2 class this semester.
My intern is a senior who wants to be a High School Math/Physics teacher. He is currently in my Calculus and Physics classes, so the poor guy is in my room for three periods a day.
I have been trying to give him a variety of teachery experiences. He has taught a few of my already-planned lessons. Recently, I had him write a short quiz. When I offered him the opportunity to grade the quiz, he was super excited. I probably shouldn't have told him that he will be less excited about that part of the job later on.
I am remembering what it was like to start out as a teacher and how much of this stuff isn't learned in school. You learn it by doing, and messing it up, and figuring out how to do it better next time. Take this quiz for example: He realized when he went to grade the quiz that some of the directions weren't clear enough, causing students' answers to vary a little from what he actually wanted. He told me that grading the quizzes was a huge learning experience, because it helped him to realize how he could write a better quiz.
I am so impressed by his natural teaching ability. When he explains things, he asks leading questions instead of just giving the answer. He knows how to do whole class instruction with ease -- not too fast to confuse the students, not too slow to bore them. When several students have their hands up at the same time, he helps by going around and answering their questions. The students seem to be just as confident with him answering their questions as me. He is pretty much a Rock Star.
I love that he is getting the opportunity to have some real teacher-like experiences, even before stepping foot into college. I'll be glad to call him a colleague one day soon.