The Student Becomes The (Student) Teacher

The Student Becomes The (Student) Teacher

By Macy Weddle

Four years of practicums, studying, college classes and exams, but they are finally one semester away from doing what they have worked so hard for. 

Abby McElroy, Katelyn Wade and Ms. Marks are all student teachers at Delta High School this semester. After working so hard, they are finally at the home stretch. 

Ms. McElroy, student teaching in Mr. Cleland’s communications courses, is a senior at Ball State University. She majors in Journalism Education and has a minor in history. Ms. McElroy’s major opens the door for her to be able to teach what Mr. Cleland does, such as newspaper, yearbook and telecommunications.

“I’ve had many student teachers, some strong, some not so strong, and she’s one of the best, if not the best, I’ve ever had,” Cleland said. “Her knowledge of journalism content is unquestioned. She just has the ability to command a classroom well while still relating well to kids.”

McElroy has always wanted to become a teacher, and thanks to being in honors classes as a kid and even belonging to Ball State’s Honor College, she has always had the brain for it. 

But as a kid, she moved around a lot and lived in places like Illinois, Pennsylvania and even Alabama. However, moving around didn’t stop her from discovering teachers that fueled her passion for teaching.


abby working
Journalism student teacher Abby McElroy checks out the morning Eagle Zone News broadcast. (Photo By Macy Weddle)

“I was always into teaching, and of course I had some really great teachers that I was wanting to model after,” McElroy said. “My history teacher and yearbook advisor were some of my favorite teachers of all time and so they kind of confirmed that I wanted to become a teacher.”

Ms. Wade has also been strongly influenced by a teacher of her own. She is a student teacher in Mrs. Zacek’s art classroom. With a major in Art Education and a focus in glass work, she will graduate this May, along with Ms. McElroy and Ms. Marks. 

Ms. Wade hopes to become a high school art teacher while staying in the state. She graduated from Delta in 2020 and was actually a former art student in Mrs. Zacek’s classroom. Being close in age to her students has created a new dynamic. 

“I think it definitely gave me insight into how high schoolers are. I remember myself being in that position, and now being the adult in the room is definitely different,” Wade said. “It gives me more empathy to my students and to be able to understand how they feel because I was in their spot not too long ago.”


ms. wade
Ms. Wade, the art class student teacher, works on a project. (Photo by Macy Weddle)

Mrs. Zacek wasn’t the only teacher to inspire Ms. Wade, though. As a middle schooler, the art teacher there, Ms. Frey, was who Wade was looking up to. Although she was always drawn to art, these teachers solidified her passion. 

“Right off the bat I remember in middle school Ms. Frey helped me a lot because that’s when I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Wade said. “Zacek really pushed me to actually do it, though.”

Zacek is coming up on her 18th year of teaching. She has had many opportunities to provide her classroom to student teachers, but Ms. Wade is her first student teacher that Zacek has also had in class as a student. According to Zacek, Wade has always had a strong, positive disciplined work ethic.  

Being back in Zacek’s classroom has felt right for both of them. She was both a hard worker as a student and as a student teacher. That’s why she and Zacek work so well. 

“We are very good at communicating. She’s good at taking constructive criticism and taking suggestions for improvements,” Zacek said. “It’s never a battle, and that’s how she was as a student as well.”

Ms. Marks is also a student teacher at Delta. She teaches in Ms. Camp’s choral classes. Marks is also a Ball State student, majoring in Music Education. She grew up in a fairly musical family, with a mom who enjoys singing and a grandfather who also had a love of choir.


marks teaching
Choir student teacher Ms. Marks leads the choir students. (Photo by Macy Weddle)

“Being able to do things like choir and band and musical things like that as I grew up really impacted my love of music,” Marks said. “It was really that love of music that drove me to want to become a teacher and teach music to other kids.”

With no minor she leaves room in her schedule for the amount of time these future teachers must put into lesson plans, project organization and practicums.

Practicums are essentially miniature student teaching experiences. They will go to a school in their area and visit classrooms that align with their major for around four to five weeks straight. They then take a break for a few weeks, then return. These experiences prepare them for the actual exposure to being in a classroom full time. 

These students have worked hard and earned their spot. After going through these processes they finally see what their future could be. Even though some of them didn’t believe they could truly do it. 

“It’s really an eye-opening kind of thing,” McElroy said. “It was just the realization of like ‘Oh! I can be a teacher!’”

March 8, 2024

About Author

Macy Weddle

macyweddle Macy Weddle is a sophomore at Delta High School. You will pretty much always see her with vanilla coffee and her phone in hand. She loves dogs and hanging out with her friends.


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