A Student’s guide through the First-Ever CAST Teach Teacher Takeover Experience
What is CAST Teach High School?
Most would say a school built for future educators, or a magnet school for future teachers. They aren’t wrong, but as a current CAST Teach student I can say that it’s so much more than that. CAST Teach gives all eighty-plus students, and more in the coming years, a sense of integrity. What is integrity? After nine months in CAST Teach, I finally know the answer. Integrity isn’t about being noticed or seen doing kind things, it’s doing kind respectful things without caring if you’re going to be noticed or rewarded later on for it. My future always felt like a highway with multiple exits, I didn’t know which exit was the right one or if I’d miss an exit and have to do a U-turn, but being in CAST Teach was more like a street that’s only one way, then a highway that can go multiple ways. Now my future is set and it’s one thing only, an educator. I no longer say, “when I grow up I want to be…”, because now I know and I would thank all of CAST for helping me realize what I want to be; An educator.
The opportunities and experiences CAST Teach offers have not only shaped me, but I believe the entire inaugural class. The Teacher Takeovers, UTSA field trip, PBL showcase, and the Heart Healthy Summit, all those field trips I learned something new. Lessons I can carry out for the rest of my life. Not once in CAST were we not learning something even if it wasn’t school related. CAST Teach has become my second home and everyone is family to me.
The CAST Teach Takeover Experience
The CAST Teach Takeover was an experience that guaranteed being an educator is what I’m meant to do. We had two Takeovers this past school year, one in November and the other in May. Both of my Takeover experiences in both months were extremely different. The process of the CAST Teach Takeover was smooth sailing and simple, you pick a grade in the subject that you would like to teach your mini-lesson in and create a lesson plan based on that grade and the subject. However, the mini-lesson planning was a lot harder than you’d think, so being able to understand that I now know what, and what not to do when the time comes I have to make a mini-lesson myself with no assistance. Before creating the mini-lesson plan, we all had to email our teachers, whose class we will be teaching our mini-lessons in and shadowing. We’d start off with a bit of an “about me” and then explain what the day will be like and ask questions regarding the class so that our mini-lessons will be relevant to what the students are already learning.
The first Takeover I taught at Cody Elementary I was assigned to Mr. Perez-Cruz’s 4th-grade class. I prepared a mini-lesson that imposes the use of bingo to have fun, while staying focused at the same time. The administration team at Cody introduced themselves and were all so sweet, they gave us a quick overview of the school and walked us to our designated rooms. The second I walked into the classroom I was very nervous but the kids taught me to relax and they didn’t have to say a single thing, just a simple look was all it took. I watched as they were in class learning, I watched as they raised their hands to answer questions, and I watched as they talked amongst each other. I ate lunch with the students and played with them at recess. I followed them everywhere and I loved talking to them. They would have their silly little comments that would make me laugh and there would be moments where I made them laugh. There are so many moments I had with the students, that I think about every day and would love to relive them again. When it came time to teach my mini-lesson, I wasn’t fazed. This class of 19 became my family in just 3 to 4 hours. That made me realize that the bond that students and teachers have with each other is stronger than I could’ve ever imagined. I want to have a bond like that too.
My second Takeover was a lot different from the first and I’d like to think it’s where I discovered myself. I taught middle school this time, which was a big change, but I like change. The school I taught at was the middle school I attended from 6th through 8th grade. I was designated to help assign at the library and teach a sixth-grade advisory class. During my middle school year’s at Pease Middle School, I felt more at home in the library. The library felt like a safe spot for me. I owe that all to Mrs. Kaster. She has such a mood-lifting spirit. She puts so much effort into making us have a fun time to enjoy ourselves. She has inspired me in ways. Being able to see her again after a year was the highlight of my takeover. The advisory class I taught belonged to Ms. Guerrero, who gave me amazing advice when it came to teaching my mini-lesson. Ms.Guerrero was so easy to communicate with. The Students may have given her a hard time, but she handled things incredibly well. I learned that teachers, no matter what grade they are teaching, are such strong individuals. It’s a lot easier to act up and make bad decisions when you have at least 7 teachers all in different classes than to do the same with one teacher and in one class all day.
Middle school is the grade I want to make a difference in and I am glad to be a student at CAST Teach where I can experience Teacher Takeovers. I’ve had the opportunity to learn things, things I wouldn’t have learned if I didn’t go through these experiences. I feel like an actual educator. CAST Teach may be my present, but being an educator is my future.