By Carley Snider
Welcome to BLOCK!
Congratulations seniors! You’ve made it to your final year as an agriscience education student at Ohio State. The only thing standing between you and a Bachelor’s Degree and teaching license are a few tests, some high school students, and BLOCK.
Yes, it’s your turn for the semester ag. ed. students know as “Block.” If you’re like me, you’ve listened to those who’ve gone through Block before you grumble out complaints about what will undoubtedly be one of the toughest semesters of your undergraduate career.
However, you’re in luck! You already hold the key to surviving Block; YOUR ATTITUDE!
That’s right! Block semester can be difficult, but choosing to go into this semester with a positive attitude will make a difference. So, forget about the horror stories you’ve heard, put a smile on your face, and toughen up and you’ll come out the other end as a prepared and qualified agricultural education instructor!
BUT, for those 16-hour days and sleepless nights when it’s hard to find that positive attitude – here are 5 tips to help you survive BLOCK along the way!
- Resources won’t always be FREE.
During Block, you’ll have unlimited access to a pretty cool thing…. RESOURCES. These will come in all sorts of forms including; books, lesson plans, people, classes, conferences and other learning opportunities.
While, it’ll be easy to pass up the extra Thursday-night ‘Blacksmith Club’ meeting with Mr. Larry to grab a few extra “z’s” or convenient to collect lesson plan ideas from other teachers and never actually look through them; you’re doing a disservice to yourself.
Whether it’s a magazine subscription suggested by a faculty member, an extra hour after class with an instructor to learn more or attending a local professional development event; the resources offered to you in Block will make you a better teacher. So say “yes” and use them!
- Blockmates are colleagues for life.
You’re going to spend a lot of time with your fellow Blockmates. A LOT of time… So get used to it, get used to them, and utilize them! You are surrounded by a group of unique, thoughtful, and intelligent future teachers. They also happen to be the people you’ll be seeing at conventions, camps, district meetings, CDE events and more for the remainder of your teaching career. So, don’t burn any bridges now! Instead, allow them to help you become a better teacher and you’ll undoubtedly do the same for them.
- Block faculty and staff are for you, not against you.
You have the opportunity to work with some of Ohio State’s best during Block! Your course instructors, ag. ed. faculty, and ACEL staff are incredibly dedicated to making sure you walk away from Ohio State ready to make a difference in an agriscience education classroom.
However, you’ll undoubtedly find a time where the stresses of Block and high expectations will lead you to potentially think otherwise. But, the work expected from you is only designed to make you better.
Think of it this way, Block faculty and staff are like your future school administration and staff. You may not always understand why you’re asked to do certain things and you may not always want to do those things, it’s still part of your job expectations!
- Work smarter, not harder.
After Block comes the most exciting semester of your time in college… STUDENT TEACHING. (Which is worthy of it’s own blog post!)
During your time as a student teacher, you’ll need to utilize curriculum, activities, classroom management, and student engagement techniques. Guess what your assignments in Block also require you to utilize…. That’s right! So use Block as a semester to prepare for student teaching! Ask your cooperating educator what you’ll be teaching now and plan your lessons and activities for Block so they can work for your student teaching courses too! Work smarter, not harder during Block!
- Health should always be a priority, especially now.
Block is busy and can be stressful. But, it is not too busy that you can’t still focus on your health- physical, mental and emotional.
So pack a lite lunch rather than eating a fast food lunch on the long days. Plan time to still go to the gym or just take a walk. Stay active however you can so you can maintain the energy needed for Block.
Mental and emotional health is crucial during Block. The best piece of advice I have for this is to take time for you. Whether it’s spending a Tuesday night watching your favorite Rom-Com and devouring some Pistachio Gelato (this was my go-to) or enjoying some Cazuelas tacos with your non-Blocks pals, just carve out some time to not focus on Block work and do something else you enjoy.
Again, congratulations and welcome to Block! We can’t wait to see you succeed in your final year at Ohio State and join the world of teaching agriscience education! Teach Ag!