Inside the mind of a student teacher

Inside the mind of a student teacher

Mr. Zach Walker, student teacher, looks down the line of students in his freshmen gym class. He checks the appropriate box on the attendance sheet, depending on each kid’s presence or absence, and prepares himself to play the role of what he aspires to be: a certified P.E. instructor.

Walker knew he wanted to be a P.E. teacher his sophomore year of college. He always knew he wanted to work with kids, and when he added that to his active lifestyle, the decision seemed to click.

“It just kind of worked out that this was a profession that I could do that I could fulfill both of those opportunities,” Walker said.

Although this is his first experience teaching high school P.E., Walker is no stranger to athletics. He played basketball and football in both high school and college, and later went on to coach both of those sports.

Walker observes and aids coach King, under whom he student teaches.

“He’s a great mentor,” Walker said of King. “He’s very particular about how things are done, which helps me as someone who lacks organization skills, because he’s so organized.”

Walker says that student teaching at Central has exposed him to the high school system, and has provided him with the opportunity to experience the daily schedule of a high school teacher. There are some aspects of the experience, however, that came somewhat unexpected.

“Locker room talk is surprising,” Walker said. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Even though he is given the same respect and authority as any other teacher at Central, Walker insists that he has things in common with Central students as well.

“I’m being graded like a student,” Walker said.

Walker started his student teaching stint in August, studying at Monroe Elementary School. After eight weeks at the elementary school level, he started student teaching at Central on Columbus Day and will continue to study here until Dec.13.

After he finishes here at Central, Walker will graduate from his current school, Illinois State University, and search for jobs. So far, Walker contends that student teaching at Central has been a positive experience.

“(I will work) wherever I can get a job, but I would say I want (to teach) in a high school,” Walker said.