I have to say, I didn’t expect to break my New Year’s resolution the first day in…

Well, I did post, just not substantially. But that goes to show that blogging regularly will be harder than I expected, especially trying to juggle family life and a wife who’s at a new job with this whole new routine. I have to say, though: after two days, I’m still loving it.

So in the spirit of this resolution – no, I’m not giving up even though I stumbled a little at the beginning – here are some thoughts from the first two days of student teaching:

Day 1

I spent my first day of student teaching doing a lot of observation, as is fairly typical. I still do not have a good idea of what to expect with my single period of eighth graders since I’ve had much less time with my cooperating teacher for that period, and so I expect to be doing more observation for that class. I did, however, get to do some co-teaching for an activity that my teacher referred to as “Four Corners” which (despite not actually using the corners of the room) had students moving around the classroom taking sides on different issues. (The current unit is on persuasion.) It was nice to be involved, even though I was mostly assisting.

I knew before I came in that my co-op was going to throw me in the deep end early – this is a sign that she trusts me; she actually called me a “natural teacher” during last semester’s internship – but she ended up turning over her two sections of honors American lit to me today. Since that’s a little more exciting…

Day 2

Today was a day of firsts: Not only was it my first day of full teaching during ST [student teaching], but I also had my first shot to introduce myself as a teacher to a class. I had prepared a pamphlet for an ed philosophy class last fall, and I adapted it to fit the student teaching role (including porting it manually from Microsoft Publisher to Microsoft Word – not highly recommended). I also made a laminated poster of sorts with my four expectations, which is now posted in the classroom. I think I was able to assert myself to those two classes (I only made this introduction to the US lit courses that I’m handling now), at least for the meantime.

I also had my first opportunity to threaten a detention – a student had asked me if he could open the window (he and other students were complaining about the heat), and I told him that he could, but if the window was still open at the end of class, he’d be given a detention. This amazingly seems to get the message across, and at the end of the hour, the window wasn’t up. (Students also got cold within a few minutes, but that’s beside the point.) I think this was important to make it known that I’m serious about classroom discipline, and I probably need to do more of this where possible.

I’m starting to feel like this teacher thing is really kicking in for me. Students really are treating me like a teacher, and that is comforting. I do have a student who’s given me subtle indications that s/he may try to test me, and so I’m being cautious with how I interact with him/her. S/he may be looking for attention, so I have to be careful that I don’t feed that. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

I will be planning the rest of the week for the juniors, and it looks like I’ll be taking over the seniors (AP Brit lit) next week after the unit on persuasion is over, continuing to assist with that. After persuasion comes research papers – and I’ve already been warned that I should get myself ready for plenty of grading.

It’s already interesting, and it only gets better from here.

Other student teachers – Where are you at in your own placement (if you’ve started yet)? I suspect that my situation is far from typical, but how involved are you now? If possible, I highly recommend pressing your cooperating/supervising teacher for more involvement as soon as you’re ready – it helps move the day along, and I think it will help you ease into this awkward role that we’re in.

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