Wow, it has been a long time since I have written. I suppose the main reason is that after a couple of required reflections (which I have been posting), my new supervisor said that I didn’t have to write any more, and so I haven’t. I haven’t written a blog in three weeks I think. This does not mean that I haven’t written though. I’ve been busy. It turns out that all the people who said that I was nuts for taking three university classes plus my student teaching were absolutely right. Truth is, any one of the three university classes would have been enough to keep me more than busy. Three has been insane. I’ve been doing homework every waking moment for the last three weeks, sometimes even during class. This week has been one of the worst weeks so far because next week is finals week, so I have all kinds of papers due and two finals to study for and also next week marks the culmination of my student teaching experience (meaning that I teach all week using material I have created — except that I’m still creating it. Next week will likely be J.I.T. — Just In Time). In addition to all that, I must finish the experimental work for my last TPA and I haven’t even read the requirements because I’ve been too busy! I have to read that TPA before I get to school on Monday. With all the work I have, I was hoping not to go to church tomorrow, except that I’m teaching a class and I’m an emergency replacement in the band, which means that I must also practice sometime before tomorrow. Today, I skipped an all-important teacher job fair that I had worked very hard to even qualify for… and then was too busy to go to. I could have gotten a job today (in theory, though not likely)! Gaa! At least the madness ends on Wednesday (the end of classes at the University). After that, I can breathe a little and, starting next week, concentrate on my one Tuesday night class, my portfolio, and my three remaining TPA assignments.
My master teacher and I are working well together. Even though I was officially teaching only one class this week (5th period), I wound up being an assistant in the other classes as well. Much of the time I felt like Ed McMahon to his Johnny Carson because he would bounce things off of me mid lecture or confer with me on a question that a student asked – sometimes I would know, other times I’d have to look up the information on my computer while he continued lecturing. Our mutual goal was always to supply the student with the correct answer. To me, this was an unexpected use of a student teacher, but I loved it, and I think the kids did too. Towards the end of the week, he had a lot of administrative things to do, so I wound up covering parts of various classes as well. I also subbed in another seventh grade history class this week when no substitute could be found on short notice. The teacher left a pretty minimal lesson plan, but it was alright because he was only slightly ahead of our class, and I was preparing to teach that section already. It allowed me to try some stuff ahead of time.
Next week, I begin teaching two periods. It’s going to be a weird week because the middle school is having an all week “anti-bully” campaign. The teaching schedule will be 33 – 37 minute periods, depending on the day, so the students can attend about two hours of “anti-bully” movies and discussions in the morning. It’s going to throw off my master teacher’s schedule, so we’re going to have to be efficient with what we teach, yet still get all the content in. Some handouts and projects might become homework if we can’t fit everything in.
This first week of observation went fine. I watched for teaching techniques that my new master teacher uses when teaching his classes, and I observed his classes as well. All five periods are well-behaved, which tells me that he has excellent classroom management skills. I think this will also make things easier for me once I begin teaching: students tend to behave a certain way in a certain room, based on what they are used to, or so my past substitute experience tells me.
I haven’t had many opportunities to interact with the students yet, but I have walked around the classroom and helped students with group work as needed. I’ve also talked to the students in each class period who sit near me. Many of the students know me already because I was a guest speaker for them back in November (career day). I now have to get to know them, and there are 160 different stories!
Next week, I begin teaching either fourth or fifth period (my choice, and it can change daily if I wish). For this first week, I won’t be straying too far from the curriculum and pace that my master teacher has set. He’s very organized and intentional in all he does… and I really like what he’s doing both in style and in content. The students seem to like it as well.