Old and New Teachers Share Knowledge

College Students Experience High School Classrooms


Kalei Renner

Education Experience: In front of a set of green lockers stands student-teacher Mr. Jakob Henzi. ” With a music education degree, you have the ability to teach K-12 anything,” Mr. Henzi said. “I’ve done other student-teaching and practicum in the middle school band, orchestra, choir, elementary general music and now high school choir.” Until April 30, Mr. Henzi is serving as a student-teacher for music-vocal instructors Mr. Brandon Shostak and Mr. Patrick Ribar.

As the second semester began, two college students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Ms. Amanda Melcher and Mr. Jakob Henzi, were sent to GHS as student teachers for language arts instructor Mrs. Laura Enos (Melcher) and music-vocal instructors Mr. Brandon Shostak and Mr. Patrick Ribar (Henzi). They will be in the classroom until April 30.
“Student teaching is the last requirement before becoming a certified teacher,” Mr. Henzi said. “For the most part, student teachers’ one responsibility is to be paired with an actual teacher and work with them all semester; the responsibilities of the teacher they are paired with are also the student teacher’s responsibilities.”
Over the course of the semester, Mr. Henzi and Ms. Melcher must work with their assigned mentors before receiving their teacher certifications at the end of April. In order to receive these certifications, they have to abide by their college’s course syllabus and undergo weekly conferences with their mentors.
“By being a mentor, I must provide guidance and give feedback and support,” Mrs. Enos said. “Also, through UNL, they have specific criteria; I have certain, specific rubrics they give me that I have to fill out and make comments on. I’ll also meet her (Ms. Melcher’s) supervisor, who is a staff member at UNL, and will conference with them to see if her goal setting is working. I essentially have to give an evaluation to Ms. Melcher at the end of her semester to see whether or not she should receive her teaching certificate; there is a lot of pressure here.”
With aspirations to teach either high school choir, band or general elementary music, Mr. Henzi hopes to complete his degree in music education and earn his K-12 teaching certificate.
“I’m exploring a few options on what to do with my degree,” Mr. Henzi said. “But teaching has always been an option. I’ll likely want to do education as a long-term job, but we’ll see what the future brings.”
Although Mr. Henzi hopes to become an educator long-term, he is also interested in attending the Disney College Program in either Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (FL) or Anaheim, Calif. (CA). This five-to seven-month program allows participants to build leadership skills through taking part in personal and career development classes.
“I’m currently looking at the Disney College Program,” Mr. Henzi said. “They do this thing where college students can take a semester or a year down to the Disney parks down in either Florida or California to intern and work for them. It only made sense to do it after I graduate since you can still do it after you graduate.”
In the language arts department, Ms. Melcher is teaching with Mrs. Enos. At UNL, Ms. Melcher majored in secondary education with an endorsement in English. With this endorsement, Ms.Melcher will be given the ability to teach English to both middle and high school.
“I am currently endorsed in 7-12 grades, but I would like to teach middle school,” Ms. Melcher said. “I have more experience teaching middle school students, but I am open to also teaching high school students; I’ve already started applying for jobs.”
Before becoming a student teacher for GHS, Ms. Melcher had to go through an application process in order to gain approval from her college supervisor.
“Mrs. Enos was actually recommended to me by one of my teachers,” Ms. Melcher said. “I chose to be in Gretna, and I worked really hard to be here; I normally would have went to a Lincoln school, but I had to fill out a whole application and go through an entire process so that I could end up in Gretna.”
Through the remainder of their semester, Ms. Melcher and Mr. Henzi will be given multiple opportunities to interact and engage with students before applying for teaching positions in their own classrooms. We wish them the best of luck this semester.