Conversations from the Classroom: TESOL student teacher Marisa Militello shares her story ☆
Marisa Militello already knows she is a hardworking, passionate, and caring teacher. But she also knows there is much to gain from her student teaching experience this year. By working alongside her cooperating teacher in a first grade class this semester, she hopes to hone her skills, learning how to challenge and inspire her students, while becoming an effective educator.
Militello, from Long Island, has wanted to teach since she was in middle school. Her enthusiasm for teaching shines through as she describes the rush of endorphins she gets when she has successfully taught someone a new concept. She came to TC because of its reputation and because she believed it would give her a solid education. She also liked the dedicated professors, as well as the hands on and supportive atmosphere.
In her second year in the TESOL MA program, K-12 track, Militello is happy about her chosen career path and excited about the population she gets to work with. “I’m in the TESOL program because I enjoy teaching immigrants. I am in awe of the complexity and richness of cultures in our world, and I love learning about other societies and their customs.” She also believes it is important for immigrant students to have a teacher who understands the confusion and isolation they can feel adapting to a new culture. Her awareness of those issues, as well as her experience living abroad, provides her with an understanding of that process that can benefit her students.
While Militello will get experience in a secondary classroom in the spring semester, her placement school for this fall is PS/IS 218, a dual language K-8 school in the Bronx. This means that every other day, instruction alternates between English and Spanish, and almost every staff member is bilingual. There are 26 students in her self-contained classroom, and the majority of them are Hispanic. Being a Spanish speaker herself, Militello is comfortable in this environment and embraces the opportunity to work with bilingual students.
Militello’s biggest hope for her student teaching is to learn as much as she can from a knowledgeable, open, and helpful cooperating teacher. So far, her expectation has been met, as her CT is letting her get as involved as she’d like in the classroom and has already had her teach a number of lessons.
The most challenging part of teaching for Militello is classroom management. “I’m the kind of teacher that my students will describe as helpful and compassionate, but also very easygoing.” During her placement this year, she’d most like to work on improving her easygoing personality and classroom management skills. Militello admits having a hard time being stern with her students, resulting in them being too talkative during lessons. “In all honesty, I would love for students to call me strict.”
Perhaps the best indicator of Militello’s potential for success during her student teaching this year is her thoughtful self-reflection and honest critique of her own strengths and weaknesses. “I’m feeling very excited and nervous about teaching this year. I know I have a lot to work on.”
We wish her luck as she endeavors to accomplish her student teaching goals this year and will check in with her later in the semester to see how it’s going.