Life at Ripon — Sara Driebel ’16

Chapter 3: Student Teaching

[Editor’s Note: Chuchen Tan ’16, Sara Driebel ’16, and Jacob Sahr ’16 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their senior year experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life At Ripon!]

This semester is sure to be different than any of my others as a student here at Ripon College. I began my new adventure as a student teacher in January, and I have loved every moment of it! It is certainly strange to balance a full day’s worth of middle school classes with the mass of athletics and extracurricular activities that most Ripon College students are quite familiar with, but I would not change how this semester is going for anything. It seems crazy that when I started here as a freshman, I took at least two weeks to plan and draft a sample lesson plan. Now I am planning, writing, and executing around 10 of them a week!

When I entered the classroom on my first day, my cooperating teacher cleared off the teacher’s desk and told me it was mine. It seems like a simple enough gesture – a place to put my laptop when I am not working and a place to sit during study hall – but I was thrilled. I have a stapler and a cup of pencils and a pile of post-its that sure look like I am a real teacher, but I also have a picture of my sisters and a statue of a stegosaurus that make me feel like I am myself. I was so jazzed to sit at this desk and do teacher things like grade papers and meet with students, but the more that I experience life as an educator, I am realizing just how little I am doing “teacher things” behind that desk. A teacher does not just sit and own a stapler and a pile of post-its. A teacher is moving, helping, getting to know his or her students on a personal level. I am so excited and happy to finally feel confident in my teaching enough to get away from the fancy rolling chair and start to work with these students!

During the month of December, I was lucky enough to participate in an amazing project titled “Letter to Your Freshman Self.” Through this experience, I was able to reflect back on my time as a first-year here and think about all that I have learned since then. It seems only fitting that, as I embark on my student teaching adventure to help students learn, I should look back at all I have gained at Ripon that has helped me prepare for this huge chapter of my career.

Beyond the ability to write a lesson plan, I have learned so much in only a few short years here. The leadership opportunities I have found, the professors who have pushed me, and the sports that have shown me passion and drive have all made me feel far more confident in who I am than when I began my collegiate career. Four years ago, standing in front of my class sounded like a nightmare, yet here I stand each day in front of 30 middle schoolers! Ripon has taught me so much that I am using as I prepare for my future as an official educator, and I am so thankful for all of those skills. I also have met so many incredible and patient people who don’t mind if I need to stay up late to finish a PowerPoint on the city-states of Ancient Greece or if I will be late to practice because of parent-teacher conferences. This place certainly is special, and I am certainly feeling crazy about how much time has passed already!

As I continue to student-teach, I plan on making each and every day one to remember. Whether it is making lesson plans to continue to engage my students or making the time to spend with the amazing friends that make this place home, I am thankful for each moment! Senior year student-teaching is going to be a semester to remember.

Sara Driebel ’16

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