Best, Worst of Times in This Tale of Two Student Teachers

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 5, 2001 | Go to article overview

Best, Worst of Times in This Tale of Two Student Teachers


Byline: Burt Constable

This is the time of year when engineers, sales people, middle- managers, paper pushers, columnists and other working stiffs start thinking, "Man, wouldn't it be great to be a schoolteacher and get the entire summer off?"

Friday, two young women studying at the University of Illinois to become English teachers finished their student teaching gigs.

For Diana Kass, who graduated high school at Benet Academy in Lisle, the often grueling experience couldn't squelch her burning desire to teach high school English for a living.

For her friend, a graduate of Elgin High School, we'll call her Paula, student teaching was the trump card proving that she won't leave college with a teaching career in mind.

"It's more work than I ever thought it would be," admits Diana, the one who comes from a family of teachers, just finished student teaching at Buffalo Grove High School and relishes her future as a teacher. Her alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m., so she can get from her home in Downers Grove to school by 7 a.m., where she will work until 4 p.m. or so, except on those days when she'd stay until 6 to work on the school play.

"And when I get home I have papers to grade," Diana says. And lesson plans to write. And assignments to read. And double- checking.

"Saturdays, I grade for three or hour hours," she adds. Sunday, from 6 p.m. until bed, is the time for finishing up last week's work and making final plans for next week's work.

Still, this woman can't wait to start her career as a teacher.

"Yeah, it's exhausting," Diana says. "But at the end of the day I can say, 'Today was a pretty good day.' I wake up every morning and I really like being here. It's different every day, even with the same group of kids, it's different every day."

Her friend can tell a very similar story about student teaching downstate. She just doesn't feel the same way about it. Paula describes student teaching as "a 60-hour-a-week job for no pay."

"Actually, you're doing someone else's job and paying for it," Paula quips, figuring in her college tuition costs.

Diana and Paula say they wanted to become teachers because they have a passion for English, love working with kids, benefited from "many, many good English teachers who were role models," appreciate the rewards of teaching, dismiss those critics who say teaching is "a waste of your talent" and discovered they do have a genuine knack for it. …

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