Education students put to the test in area classrooms

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

TOMAH (WEAU)- Education students are put to the test in area classrooms. More than a hundred students from UW-La Crosse are student teaching right now and it requires more responsibility than one would think. We got to follow one student teacher who is finishing up at the Tomah Middle School teaching math, Mary Heisel.

It’s not just the teachers that have to deal with budget cuts. Heisel is in front of the classroom every day, 5 days a week 8 hours a day getting paid only in experience.

“I knew I wanted to get into the education field. I really like youth and I think this is a great way to impact lives and help them make smart decisions,” said Heisel.

She takes on full responsibility as a teacher, having more than 100 students, making lesson plans and having to make sure all students are learning at the same level.

“Not only do I have to teach a specific lesson I have to make sure those students get extra help to bring them to where everyone else is at,” said Heisel

UW-La Crosse Director of Field Experience Shelia Wirkus says that the experience ends up being a win-win for both the student teachers and the pupils.

“Most teachers and administrators look on student teachers and clinical field students as assets in the classroom. Another adult building relationships and teaching skills.” said Wirkus.

Each semester more than 130 teachers in the surrounding districts take on the extra burden of a student teacher. They do it to give the students the opportunity to get the knowledge they need to graduate, despite their ever increasing workload.

“The challenges that teachers are struggling with on a day to day basis with all the expanding expectations testing and all the issues that play a role in professional educators life its one more commitment but our teachers in this are fabulous,” said Wirkus

Heisel says despite the recent major budget cuts to teachers all around the state, she will follow her heart and not the money in her career choice.

“Being the one who takes on the most responsibility I think I will be prepared,” Heisel.

Mary will be walking the stage Saturday at UW-L as a 2012 graduate but won’t finish teaching at Tomah Middle School until January.


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