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Utilization is key for Clarke student teacher Taylor Smith

Even though Taylor Smith is teaching students, there’s still so much she’s learning herself.

“I just like being with kids when they have that ‘a-ha’ moment,” Smith said. “I had so many great teachers that I was, like, I think I want to do that.”

Smith, 23, is a student teacher for Brandi Boyd, vocational agriculture teacher at Clarke Community High School.

Utilizing her resources is what Smith said she has learned, so far, in her student-teaching experience.

“Mrs. Boyd has been excellent to bounce ideas off (of),” Smith said. “You know, once you get out on your own, you’re not going to have somebody right there with you all the time.”

From the area

Smith is originally from Leon and graduated from Central Decatur High School in 2009.

She went to Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids for two years to get an Associate of Science degree. Smith then transferred to Truman State University.

In January, she transferred to Iowa State University to major in agriculture education.

Smith started student teaching with Boyd Aug. 14. Her final day will be Dec. 6, and she will graduate from college in December.

In the month Smith has been at Clarke, she has observed, met with the faculty, gone through in-services and helped students when they need instruction.

Smith recently started teaching some of Boyd’s classes. The first class she taught was animal science.

By Thanksgiving, Smith is expecting to be teaching all of Boyd’s classes.

More to learn

There are more things than utilizing resources Smith said she is learning during her time at Clarke.

She said she is focusing on letting the students learn, instead of just doing all the instructing.

“It builds more character when the teacher says ‘Research this yourself’ rather than me telling you, here’s the information, do what you want with it,” Smith said.

Varying the instructions given to students was important, Smith said. She recommended doing activities, projects and group collaborations.

When it comes to education, Smith said she is looking forward to finishing her school portfolios. She said, once she builds her portfolios, she can use them in the future.

“If I develop a lot of lesson plans, I’m going to be able to use those down the road, or tweak them a little bit in the years to come,” Smith said.

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