I am three and a half weeks into my last semester of my undergraduate years. One of my roommates mentioned a few days ago that he did not know where the time had gone, and I agree. The thought of formally graduating from this place I have come to love is sobering. I intend to reflect more on that theme later; here I want to focus on some of my final experiences as an undergraduate that are already occurring.
In this last semester, I am completing the clinical training portion, as it were, of the education side of my degree: student teaching. I am currently midway through a six-week assignment at Spring Wood Middle School in Hanover Park, applying what I have learned over the past three and a half years under the supervision and mentorship of Karisa Scheifele.
Every time a family member or friend asks how my student teaching experience is going, I am happily able to reply that it is going really, really well. And it really is. I have good rapport with the students (sixth through eighth grade band students), I am using the knowledge and skills I learned in all my music and education courses at levels I did not think possible, and on the whole, I am having fun doing it all. When Dr. Yontz observed me two weeks ago, his comments were overall quite positive. And Karisa, who as it happens is a Wheaton alumnus, has been such a wonderful mentor to me. In sum, my student teaching experience thus far has been incredibly affirming of the Lord’s calling for my to pursue teaching as a profession.
Student teaching is comparable to a full-time internship, so I am off campus from early in the morning until mid afternoon, Monday through Friday. Current student teachers from all departments have senior seminar on Tuesday nights, but besides that class, I no longer have classes or rehearsals at the College. That change was hard for me at first, mostly because I missed seeing my friends throughout the day. I also missed being in the Symphonic Band, because there was another bygone regular opportunity to be with friends.
Happily, though, I have been able to spend quite a bit of quality time with many of my friends through the time-honored experience of sharing a meal. I am really glad that I have taken that initiative to be so intentional about my friendships this semester, because it would sadden me were they to just fade away due to lack of interaction, and at the end of my undergraduate years no less. My Wheaton experience would not have been what it has been without all the amazing people the Lord has placed in my life while I have been here. Thank you to all those people for affirming me, supporting me, loving me, and encouraging me along the way. I hope and pray that our paths cross many times in this world post-Wheaton.
This is Rubio, over and out.
P.S. Completely off topic, but it is momentous enough to warrant mention. The Chicago area is currently under attack from a blizzard of “historic proportions,” enough that Spring Wood has a snow day tomorrow, and Wheaton College has a partial snow day!