Student Teaching Successes and Challenges: Sam Moxley

By Nashville Teacher Residency Team on February 28, 2017

teacher education

Prior to residents’ first week of student teaching, NTR’s staff ensures that residents and mentor teachers have the tools they need to be successful. Both participate in training and classes to understand the expectations, preparation work and schedule of student teaching. They learn ways to take on unexpected challenges and make a plan to ensure that students don’t lose important learning moments.

Preparation and flexibility were two of the main keys that made NTR Resident Sam Moxley’s first week of student teaching a success. He used the tools and skills from NTR’s bi-weekly resident classes to keep his students on track, rework lessons and ensure a safe learning environment.

Since we last spoke, in what area do you think that you have made the biggest gains?

I have gained the most in emotional consistency. I used to let little things get under my skin. When students got distracted in class, I would get frustrated. Now, I don’t let it bother me. I use the skills I have learned to get kids back on track.

Throughout the year, you have become more independent in your mentor teacher’s classroom. Can you tell me about a challenge that has come with independence? A success?

I had a challenge that with work turned into a success. I wanted to create a safe learning environment where students could be themselves, make mistakes and ask questions. It took time, and it was challenging, but I built good, safe relationships with my students, and I can see the difference it has made in our classroom.

You just completed your first week of solo student teaching! How did you prepare for your first week of student teaching?

NTR provides its residents with modules and resources to ensure you have a clear path to meet your class’s learning goals. Once I knew the learning goals for the week, I used these modules to backwards map my week. I planned how I was going to teach my lessons, and what I was going to say. I created mini-assessments to evaluate student learning. The foundation that NTR provided allowed me to create a structured plan that set me and my students up for success.

What were you nervous about?

My number one worry was that I wasn’t going to be able to get my students to where they needed to be at the end of each day. I wanted to make sure that they were going to be successful!

Tell me a challenge from your first week of student teaching and how you addressed this challenge.

At the end of one of my lessons, my students took a mini-assessment so that I could evaluate their understanding of the concept. The assessment results showed that many of them did not understand. My mentor teacher and I quickly got together and reworked the lesson plan to ensure that any misunderstandings were addressed. It was challenging to readjust parts of the lesson in the middle of the day.

The day after we reworked the lesson, I reintroduced the concept and taught it again. At the end of the class, students had tremendous growth on the assessments, which showed better understanding.

In what areas do you feel like you still need to grow by the end of this year to be able to start your first year of independent teaching successfully?

It is my intention to always have and hold my students to high expectations. I need to continue to improve on not backing down and sticking to it. I know that all students can succeed, and as their teacher, I need to help them get there!