Posts tagged student teaching
Posts tagged student teaching
Mostly, this is due to the fact that I have this blog and a (more) personal one to maintain, and it’s really difficult to look through two dashboards every afternoon. Plus, it turns out that student teaching is exhausting and time-consuming. Who knew?
I’m nine weeks into my placement. Still enjoying it. Still want to teach. I think that’s a win. I have a lot of challenging days and challenging moments, but I’m learning a lot about classroom management (which was and still is, admittedly, one of my weak points) and how to work with lower-level learners and students with special needs. I really am grateful that I have a more challenging placement. A dude in my program teaches honors and AP classes all day to self-motivated, self-disciplined students, and he never has behavioral issues. I get snark or attitude at least twice a day, not to mention the more serious behavioral problems. I’m learning when to fight back and when to let things roll off my back.
Even my favorite group of seniors has been challenging recently. I think it’s got to do with the fact that spring break is two weeks away and graduation is a little over two months away. Each day that I feel good at the end of the day and can think back to a few good moments is a day that I consider a victory.
I’m teaching a mini-unit on satire and parody to my seniors right now, and after spring break, I’m coming in full force and teaching my state-required ten consecutive days. Seniors will be starting Frankenstein, juniors will be starting Night, and Sophomores will be starting Huck Finn. It’s a lot for me to do, but I’m taking it in stride. Once this mini-unit ends on Friday, I’m devoting a lot of free time to creating plans for these novel units.
My college had its Education Interview Day this past week, and I think it went pretty well. I don’t have a job yet, but I have a couple of leads, and I’m pretty pumped about them. I really hope something works out.
Sorry for the wall of text. Just wanted to give an update to anyone who cares and get some of these thoughts off my chest.
I’m fresh off my third week of student teaching. I’ve already done 2 of my required 20 full time days because my teacher has been out twice and left me with the duties. It’s been… interesting. Both days my teacher took off were days with the kids I don’t know as well just because of the sheer number of students.
The first day she took off, I had a 10th grader sass me a couple of times. After a discussion with the principal (who told me, “He’s new to this school, and he don’t know how we work here. I’ll fix that. Just write him up for disrespecting authority”), he has been great for me. On Friday, he even said, “I’ve been good today, haven’t I, Miss J?” That was nice.
I had my initial meeting with my CT and university supervisor. My supervisor is supposed to come watch me teach either this coming week or the next for my first evaluation. I’m excited/nervous, and I’ve already decided that I’m doing a Macbeth lesson with my big group of seniors because they are my babies and I know them the best. I just have 18 more full time days (minimum), 3 teaching evaluations, one PWS, and a professionalism evaluation, and I am good to go.
All the other teachers at my school keep asking me if I still want to be a teacher and if they’ve made me cry yet. The answer to both questions is yes. I mean, this is a tough placement. The kids are averaging 6th grade reading levels in the 10th through 12th grades. A lot of them, particularly the 10th graders, have behavioral problems, some stemming from academic issues and some just because of lack of discipline at home or in lower grades. They test me on a daily basis, but when they get something that I’m trying to tell them, it’s so rewarding. I know that when I graduate I probably won’t go for a job at the same kind of school that I’m at right now. It’s stressful. It’s difficult. It’s frustrating on multiple levels. The kids act like they’re doing me a favor by showing up most days. Maybe when I’ve gotten more experience I will come back to this type of school. But I know right now that I’m too soft to keep this up for more than a semester. I will either go too easy on them or let them crush me (or both).
That is not to say that I’m not enjoying my time at the school. The seniors are so sweet, and they are great to work with. They’re inquisitive and funny. The other teachers, administrators, and staff have been welcoming and helpful. It’s a close-knit community, and I love that. I’ve only come home feeling defeated once in three weeks, and I’m still alive.
I have 120 names to learn, which is going to be a challenge because names are not really my thing to begin with.
Thursday was probably the most interesting day. During second block all the seniors who hadn’t yet passed the graduation exam were called to the office to receive their scores. Ten out of the twelve students in my class left the room. They all came back either smiling or crying. I was so excited for the students who’d finally passed, but there were a couple of girls who still failed one or two sections, and it was heartbreaking.
Also on Thursday, I got to witness a meeting between my CT, a student, and the principal regarding ongoing behavioral issues. This meeting just confirmed to me that the principal is fantastic and that my CT is highly regarded in the school. I’m not sure if the student will still be at the school by the time my full-time teaching rolls around.
Friday was the first day that students asked for me by name when they needed help. It was a good feeling. I also helped one of my seniors sign up for the ACT and gave him some test-taking tips.
The experience has been good so far. It’s going to be a huge challenge, to be sure.
read up to page 35 of Frankenstein then sparknoted what i had just read
i am going to be an awesome teacher
You are not alone. I’m having to take a break from Frankenstein because I’m just not holding in any of it. I’m hoping after I read something else for a while I can come back to it and take another shot.
[This is a reblog of my original post found here.] I know a lot of you are about to start student teaching in the coming weeks as people begin to go back to school. I was right where you were a year ago. It’s insane to think about. So I’m putting this back out there. I don’t claim to be an expert - this is just a collection of things I would have appreciated hearing when I started student teaching. Feel free to ask me any questions if you have any!!
This may seem super basic - and I laughed at the obvious-ness of this, too - but if you’re anything like I was at the beginning of student teaching, you’re going to be shy, anxious, scared (read: terrified), and uncertain. My natural instinct is to be a fly on the wall and watch. I don’t ask questions, I don’t volunteer. You’re going to want to know so much all the time and the only way you’re going to know this is to ask questions. Don’t be afraid of asking too many or being annoying (I know I did). Your cooperating teacher(s) (CTs) want you to do well and they want to share all their knowledge with you - at least, I hope so! Don’t be afraid to interrupt your CT and ask to chat for a moment. It may take a little bit to feel comfortable interrupting them, but you’ll get used to it (and you’ll have students interrupting you soon!) But you’ll never realize how much simply asking questions will help you until you do. I struggled SO MUCH until I started asking for help.
Asking for help will not make you look stupid or weak. Recognize your weak areas and work on them.
Get to know the other teachers/secretaries/librarians/janitors/etc.
Hopefully you’re in a building where the other teachers are just as friendly toward you as you are to them. My very first day, I got there at 7am and sat through a department meeting where I met every person in the English department. They were all friendly and offered a helping hand whenever I needed it. Throughout the semester, I asked them for advice, shared my own lessons and materials, shared stories of crazy things my students said or did. I connected with my coworkers and it made sitting at my desk way less awkward.
Also, don’t forget about those other people in your building! I asked the librarian for help so many times! She came in to my classroom and helped me teach about research and citations to all three levels of my classes. I made an effort to visit the secretaries and be extremely friendly when I needed help with something or when I had to talk to a dean or the principal. I had lunch duty and talked to the janitors who were cleaning the cafeteria and treated them like invaluable resources - because they are. Don’t forget about the support staff. Treat them better as a teacher than you or your friends might have treated them as students. They are gold.
Try anything once.
Your CT may have some advice for you that you might not agree with or you think won’t work — try it anyway. If you plan an awesome lesson, it may soar or it may flop. You won’t know unless you try. Hopefully your CT will let you try anything (within reason, of course). Your students won’t be ruined for the rest of their lives if your lesson flops. That’s when you reflect. Which leads me to…
You may very well have to do journaling of some sort for your university. Don’t just write the bare minimum to get it done with. Take this time that you’re being forced to use and really think about what you did that week. Keep a notebook or a lesson plan book and write down what did and didn’t work from that particular lesson. That way you can go back and have lessons to use when you get your own classrooms. You’ll amaze yourself at what you can come up with if you look back at other lessons. Also use reflection time to observe other teachers and see what works for them and how you can adapt that for your own students.
Make sure to take time for yourself — SLEEP.
Sleeping enough will sometimes be the difference between an amazing day and a horrendous day. Make sure you give yourself a bed time and try to stick to it as much as you can. Go to bed earlier some days if you need to. I went to bed as early as 7:30 one day. I was sick (sicker than I should have been because I wasn’t sleeping much), exhausted, emotional, and stressed. I got close to 10 hours of sleep and felt human the next day and was ready to conquer the world. Listen to your body and what it needs. I can’t stress the importance of sleep enough.
Along those lines: don’t forget to eat lunch and dinner. It’s okay to take thirty minutes from grading or planning during the school day to eat lunch and have an adult conversation. It’s okay to come home after a long day and sit on the couch for an hour and veg. Don’t do it all the time, but don’t feel guilty if you need to do something mindless now and then. I made an effort to read a chapter of a book each night. It was my “me” time - and usually all I could get through before falling asleep anyway.
Err on the side of caution in regards to your clothing.
It pains me to say this - as a woman and a feminist - but young women are under more scrutiny for their clothing than men. This doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable or have fun, but don’t overdo it. If I would wear it to the bar on a Saturday night, I didn’t wear it, at least not alone. I paired dresses with tights and cardigans, Saturday night tank tops with cardigans. I had fun with it so that I wasn’t wearing slacks+blouse+cardigan all the time, but I also made sure my butt or my larger chest wasn’t hanging out. I was nervous to wear jeans for the first time, but felt more comfortable on casual Friday in them than out. Don’t be afraid to ask your CT/other teachers or your university supervisor about casual Friday or day-to-day clothing for student teachers.
Edited to add: Don’t give personal information to students.
They will ask. It’s natural that they’re curious. I chose to give them my college email address because I wanted them to be able to contact me and the school I student taught at didn’t give me an email address (not all will). That email address has my first and middle initial in it followed by my last name. They guessed and guessed my first name until my CT said it during class one day in a slip-up. I never had a problem with them calling me by Ms. H instead of my first name, but that might not be the case with all students/classes. It probably goes without saying that you don’t want to be adding them on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr. Don’t even answer if they ask if you have one. (Thanks to ishouldbewhat)
Be careful about what you post on social networking sites (Tumblr included!)
We all love stories about your students, good and bad alike. But be careful about what you post. You’ll be frustrated. You’ll be annoyed that you told Johnny over and over and over to turn in his homework and then he turns in something that’s all wrong. Do not post that on the internet. Someone in my graduating class was removed from their placement for doing something like that because parents found out. Don’t take chances. Get rid of Facebook alltogether (or create a “professional” one for your first and last name that way when students search you, they find something super boring and won’t be tempted to dig further).
C.A.S.E — Copy and Steal Everything
Not even joking about this. If your CT is willing to share resources with you, you better copy that and keep it for yourself - even if you don’t think you want it now. I have a plethora of material that I never even touched for Romeo and Juliet that I took from both of my CTs and I ended up making most of my own materials. Don’t reinvent the wheel. There’s nothing wrong with taking things your CT has and using them as your own. Take things other teachers may offer you — but pay it forward as well. Share your own resources with your CTs and other teachers in your building.
I got my student teaching placement.
I am the only student teacher in the ELA major at this particular school, which is very low-income.
I will be teaching 10th, 11th, and 12th grade English as well as leading discussion and revising papers in AP and helping out in yearbook. The books the students will be reading include Frankenstein, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Julius Caesar, Night, and Huck Finn. I’ve only read two of these books, and I read them in high school.
I have exactly a month until my first day at the school, and I went out today and purchased all the books so I can get a jump on the annotations and some planning. I feel so utterly inexperienced and unprepared, and I just need some pointers. Any advice, help, or encouragement would be so appreciated.
To say that I’m anxious and nervous would be a serious understatement.
Me: Would anyone like to volunteer to read?
*moment of silence*
Student jumps up *in a dramatic voice*: I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!
Their reasoning was because I still have “student” in front of the “teacher” portion of my title. I know they were just trying to get a rise out of me because they’re annoying little 14 year olds. I told them, though, that yes, I am a real teacher and even when I am no longer a “student” teacher, I will still be a student. Not only do you constantly always learn, but we’re required to continue our education. I will always be a student. I will always be a teacher. But I won’t always be a student teacher.
- Create a timeline of events either in pictorial or written form.
- Pretend you’re a news reporter and provide an oral broadcast of the story.
- Make a trivia game about the story.
- Make a jeopardy game about the story.
- Use puppets to help re-tell the story.
- Make a comic strip of the story.
- Use a Venn Diagram to compare two characters in the story.
- Write or state clues about your story to see if others can guess which story you read.
- Write part 2 or a sequel to the story.
- If you could be in the story, decided which character you would be and why.
- Make a list of everything in the story that could be fact or fantasy.
- Draw pictures of 2-3 character in the story. Cut them out and on the back list their traits. Students can then play a character guessing game.
- Prepare a commercial to sell the book to someone who hasn’t read it yet.
- Create a poster about the book.
- Write 5 questions that somebody who has read the book should be able to answer.
- Design a new cover for the book.
- Make a list of what makes a good book.
- Choose one of the characters in the book and rewrite a chapter from their perspective.
- Is there a problem in the story? How was it solved? How could it be solved in another way?
- Write the author telling them your opinion of the book.