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The Current

Student teachers learn alongside Bruins

Multiple student teachers, including Nick Gailbreath, have been warmly welcomed into the Bruin community. Photo by Salvatore Ginexi.

In recent American history, especially in 2019, teachers are very hard to find, especially in small areas similar to our community. So it’s a shining beacon of hope to see that there are those still willing to teach the next few generations of students to continue the very progress of humanity.

For all adults around the world, money is relied on heavily for essential resources, like food, water, and to buy power to run our homes. So jobs and professions that don’t make a lot of money are only sought by those who are passionate about the profession they’re applying for. Working at a school in general doesn’t produce a lot of money, which deters those looking to teach. But those who continue to become teachers are very passionate and determined to teach the next generation of students. So for the 2019-2020 school year here at Bear River, it’s good to see not only new teachers filling the shoes of those who’ve left the Bruin family, but those who are learning to teach for their teacher’s permit so they can become teachers in the future. 

One of these new teachers in training is Kesley Haggerty, who is under the wing of Science teacher Jennifer Weir. She described her great experience so far.

“Bear River has been amazing,” she said. “All the staff and students have been so welcoming and supportive, it has made my transition into student teaching so much easier. I recently began my own unit after observing and assisting Mrs. Weir and all the students have been so respectful and have given me so much positive feedback that I feel really encouraged and excited for the rest of the semester.”

Nick Gailbreath, the student teacher for History teachers Jeffrey Carrow and Matt MacDonald, also had a positive response when he joined the Bruin Family.

“I graduated from Nevada Union, but teaching at Bear River has honestly made me wish I had gone to Bear River,” he said. “The campus is beautiful, the staff have been universally welcoming and amazingly helpful, and the community between students and faculty is outstanding.”

Sophomore Emily Bucher expressed her appreciation for Mr. Gailbreath’s help.

“[Mr. Gailbreath]’s super helpful and he sounds just like a teacher,” she said.

Sophomore Ella Goodman had a bit of constructive critique for Anthony Dechene, the student teacher in Vikki Burrell’s math class.

“Mr. Dechene … is very nice,” she said. “He isn’t super informative, but he’s pretty good at his job.”

Sophomore Jordan McAlister had nothing else to improve on with Mr. Gailbreath’s teaching methods.

“I like [Mr. Gailbreath],” she said. “He’s very charismatic about teaching history – he seems very passionate about it, which is very good if you’re going to teach a subject.”

Being a teacher can be a difficult job for the shy or meek, especially if lacking a lot of experience presenting in front of large crowds. So, it would be understandable for the teachers in training to feel nervous about teaching for the first time.

Ms. Haggerty explained how she occasionally feels stressed when helping teach Biology with Mrs. Weir, yet she doesn’t find teaching unpleasant.

“Most of my stress comes from the coursework I’m completing while I am student teaching,” she said. “Teaching itself is challenging but I love it and wish I could put all my time and effort into creating the best lessons I can for the class. What makes me most nervous is the idea that I am still learning and these kids deserve the best education they can get, I just hope I can help provide that for them.”

Mr. Gailbreath, however, hasn’t felt stressed or nervous yet while teaching history.

“No,” he said. “The public speaking side of it is really not a bother as I overcame those fears doing community theater and the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival. Getting all the paperwork right can be nerve-wracking as there are a lot of requirements from my own university, and the requirements of the State of California. Getting in the classroom, talking about history, and engaging with my students about how much I love this stuff makes any amount of paperwork worth it though!”

Mr. Dechene can feel nervous sometimes while presenting to his students, however, as he clarified.

“No, I wouldn’t say learning to teach makes me stressed and nervous, but I would say being in front of the classroom and presenting can be stressful and makes me nervous,” he explained. “So, I would say the presentation than more nervousness than learning to teach.”

As a master teacher tasked with helping Mr. Dechene in the classroom, Mrs. Burrell was able to elaborate on what it’s like to have a teacher in training at this school.

“I enjoy having a student teacher,” she said, “I like seeing the different ways people interpret math and how they want to try to relay it to other people, and I really like helping a new person who wants to come into this field.”

So, to you, teachers in training, we welcome you into the Bruin Family, and we wish you success and a fun (as fun as dealing with teenagers can be) career for you all. Good luck to you all, and we hope you have a good time at Bear River!

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Student teachers learn alongside Bruins