During my 13 weeks as a student teacher at Concordia Lutheran High School (CLHS), I was assigned to work with in English and math classrooms. Being a student teacher in such classrooms meant that along with regular lesson-plan-writing, I’d be filling out reflective journals and other paper work on my time spent at CLHS. And to help with this process, I was assigned two cooperative teachers. I liked to think of them as sort of spirit guides on my quest toward becoming a teacher.
Throughout my life, I have been blessed with knowing many mentors along the way. The unique part of cooperating teachers in student teaching is that they are not immediately asked to fill such a role. Instead, they exist as living paperwork, the people who drift in and out of the classroom to evaluate the student teacher. I was blessed to have quite a different experience.
There are a few important lessons one eventually discovers when a mentor walks into a person’s life. For example, my cooperating teachers taught me about the great strength it takes to admit I need help, or that, when typing a parent email, I may need to soften my words a bit. I also learned about living as a role model to my students in and out of the classroom, of making teaching a lifestyle instead of just a career choice. And above all, I learned that even with good communication, I’m not always going to get along with every person I meet. The entire process of student teaching was humbling and required a lot of time with others looking over my shoulder, but with my amazing cooperating teachers, I found it to be tolerable and enlightening in so many ways.
Our heavenly Father comes to us as a sort of cooperating teacher—even a literal spirit guide through the person of the Holy Spirit. In fact, in Job 36:22, it reads, “God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him?” Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we are blessed with the greatest life mentor to ever walk this earth. And while having Jesus as my cooperating teacher would have been pretty great, He blessed me with some amazing women who taught me about loving and serving in His name.