For University of Michigan-Flint elementary education senior Jordan Seath, student teaching at Brendel Elementary School in Grand Blanc has fostered his drive to be a role model for young children in the classroom and to nurture their innate desire to learn.
A graduate of Swartz Creek High School who played basketball and golf, Jordan remembered the genuine support he received from his teachers while he was in school, and especially in first grade when his mom passed away. His teachers were there for him and never let him get behind.
In April his student teaching experience in Katie Hoffmeyer's third grade class will come to an end. Then he will transition to a long-term substitute position in the school's resource room working with children who have special learning needs.
"It's just a pleasure for me to get to work with Katie every day," Jordan said of his mentor at Brendel. "She puts me in a position that the only thing I can do is succeed. She has trust in my ability to take over her classroom and she's always there if I need advice. I'm planning and carrying out instruction, grading assignments, and building relationships with the kids."
Gaining Valuable Classroom Experience
Jordan has learned that building relationships with those 24 third graders, by listening to them with an empathetic ear and sharing bits of his own life with them, has fueled his success in the classroom. "I enjoy being a role model and showing kids that working hard is more important than achievement," he said. "Along with instruction, just seeing kids smiling, working hard, and having fun in school is the main reason I'm doing this. I've enjoyed student teaching so much."
UM-Flint elementary education courses have prepared him well to manage a classroom effectively and to carry out all of the challenging aspects of a professional teaching role. By combining his classroom mentor's guidance with research-based teaching skills and knowledge gained from the program, Jordan has solidified his own passion for shaping each child's future.
He knows that whatever comes next for his career, he doesn't expect to teach a classroom of children by himself. It takes a dedicated team of educators to support each child's growth and to show them how making mistakes and pushing through a tough task is just part of the process.
"Teaching is so much more than teaching subjects," Jordan said. "Teaching is instilling into a child that they need to be a lifelong learner. It's about building positive relationships with students and staff you work with. You don't attack that job all by yourself."
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