Also known as teaching internship and, now,
teaching residence in our state, it's a semester all education majors work toward and approach with a mixture of excitement and dread.
I remember, just like it was yesterday, all the emotions roiling around in the pit of my stomach as my first day approached. I recall my internal pep talks as I parked my car that first day, the calm that settled over me as my cooperating teacher introduced me to the students and I observed the first couple of days, and the confidence I started to feel as I assumed responsibility for instructing more classes as the days progressed. It was almost a tangible feeling of being that butterfly you watch on the nature channel as it emerges from the cacoon, unfolds its wings, and starts to move them up and down to test how they feel before taking flight.
The recollections resurface at the beginning of each semester, now. I get the privilege of helping prepare future agricultural educators and watching them emerge to test their wings as student teachers/interns/residents. I absolutely love this point in their careers. They have no idea how amazing they are but I can see it in them. I see how incredible they will be in a few short years. I get to see their confidence grow with each observation, how they transform from nervous, even timid, to instructional leaders in their classrooms.
It all culminates with a shared meal and donning our graduation regalia on a Saturday in either May or December. It is at that point they flutter and fly away. My joy returns every time I see them as full-fledged teachers. Such a rewarding way to spend this last third of my career.