At Mission Hill School, we publish a weekly newsletter that goes out to our extended community, both near and far. Within the newsletter is a short piece from each classroom teacher. Usually, the piece is a reflection on the children’s learning and growth. As I searched a few weeks ago for a topic to write I stepped away from writing about my students’ progress and instead thought I’d share a little about my own reflection as a learner.

Recently it was our student teacher Molly’s last day. Every time a student teacher leaves I am filled with mixed emotions of sadness and joy. It is always sad to see someone leave who has become a part of your community. In a few short months they find their rightful places in our classrooms and in our hearts. However, I am joyful too. When student teachers leave my classroom, I feel confident that they have learned something about our school, our students, teaching, and themselves. It is in this confidence where I find my own growth.

With every student teacher, I become a better mentor. I learn to ask the right questions. I learn to comfort and console and to create the sometimes necessary discomfort that makes us think harder. I learn how to hold the mirror before them that reflects the good they have done and allows them to see the challenges they have yet to conquer. In doing all this for the student teacher, I am holding a mirror to myself. I also reflect the good I have done and acknowledge the challenges I have yet to conquer. At the end of each semester, I too have grown a great deal. I have furthered my understanding of my teaching philosophy, my belief in what children can do, and my unyielding belief that experience in the classroom is the best teacher. I am a good teacher, not so much because I had good teachers, even though I had a few. It is because as a teacher, I have become a good learner. I now understand how I learn best and how to learn from others. It is when I recognize that I am learning that I become a better teacher.

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