Rushville Republican

March 7, 2014

Passing the torch in the classroom

By Marianne Scott For the Rushville Republican
Rushville Republican

---- — All teachers were once student teachers. All have ventured through that one-on-one emersion into the classroom. And for many, the experience becomes the determining factor of where their vocation would take them. For some, years later they will be ask to mentor a student teacher. Thus, the cycle begins all over again and the torch is passed.

For Mrs. Julie Leisure (first grade teacher Mays Elementary School) the request became real last fall.

“Would you be willing to have a student teacher in your classroom,” Mrs. Nancy Schroeder (principal at Mays) asked.

“When you are asked this question a lot of concerns come to mind! Can I do this? Do I have enough time to do this with everything else that is going on in the classroom? And, what will my students lose or gain in the process? I must admit at first I wasn’t sure I wanted to take this on, mainly because I’d never had a student teacher. However, with a little urging and consideration, I decided to give it a try,” Leisure stated.

So, Mrs. Julie Leisure’s first student teacher, Mr. Josh Sanchez joined her classroom in January. Mr. Sanchez graduated from Connersville High School and attends Ball State University. Ball State’s Teachers College prepares committed professionals and leaders in all areas critical to the educational experience. As their name suggests, they educate the next generation of outstanding classroom teachers. For Mr. Sanchez it was time to put his classroom foundation into practice. However, he thought he would be better suited for an upper elementary classroom. When he heard his student teaching experience would be in a first grade class, he was apprehensive and a bit leery. But as with most teachers, he adjusted.

“I was really nervous the first few days and didn’t know what to expect. However, I can now tell you this has been one of the best experiences of my life. Being teamed up with Mrs. Leisure has been great. The daily hands-on experience in her classroom can’t be taught in a class. You have to have a passion and heart for education. This is apparent every day not only in her classroom, but also with the entire Mays family. They go the extra mile for each other and make this a great school. One of the best experiences is when you see a student’s face get that ‘ah ha’ look and you know something just clicked,” Sanchez said.

Mr. Sanchez’s other love is that of technology in the classroom. He wondered if and how that would be applicable in the first grade setting. Well, the question has been answered as Mrs. Leisure’s class uses various individualized software programs, responders, and is now preparing Power Point Presentations.

“Having Josh in our classroom has been a great experience for me and the kids. His presence has enabled us to address a wide range of abilities so we could team teach and be able to differentiate more. He has been such a positive male role model in this class, and I believe I’ve become a bit spoiled. His passion for teaching is apparent every day. He will be a tremendous asset to any school corporation fortunate enough to hire him,” Mrs. Leisure cited.

Mr. Sanchez graduates from Ball State University in May and is looking forward to his first teaching job. Perhaps we should check back in a few years and see who he is mentoring as a student teacher. The torch is lit, has been carried, and is now passed on to the next generation of educators . . . and yes it was a great experience.

(Marianne Scott is the Legacy Fund Director/Information Officer for Rush County Schools)