I have officially finished my first week of student teaching, and if I’ve learned nothing else from the Teaching Fellows Program, I’ve learned that one must be reflective about one’s teaching experiences. Therefore, I’m taking the time, from work, to be more…well, reflective.
I’ve also learned that
The week started off okay.
It started off for me on Tuesday, when I took over the AP classes.
We began Beloved with a class that was a little less than overwhelming. Actually, the silence was overwhelmingly painful, at least in the first class. The silence lasted for about the first two DAYS of my student teaching experience and I suppose it was only because I had already been through all of it before that second period’s classes seemed to go extremely well in comparison. Though Friday was okay for both classes. The students are interested in reading the book, and they are also interested in exploring the plot, the rich symbolism, and the legacy of slavery. They are well on their way to completing the first in a string of assignments that will lead them to compile an “essay” of multiple genres that explores one of the themes in the novel.
I feel confident that I’ll do well with them, even after one of my favorite, but overly critical, students has taken the time to say — THRICE — that “Yeah, one of my other student teachers tried this project with us. It didn’t work.” I wanted to retort, “Oh? It’s not original? Pooh…well, have you read a book yet? Have you opened up a page? You HAVE? WELL HOLY CRAP, why am I here? You’ve already DONE this already, have you?” Though, that was probably just a bit of my frustration at feeling rebuffed after taking FOREVER to actually plan the dern assignment and even complementing myself with a well-done pat-on-the-back after I finished writing the lesson plan. I’ll just have to learn, no more pats for myself until I’m actually sure that I’ve come up with something worthwhile and somewhat original.
I took over the other three classes, the Juniors, on Wednesday and found that, surprisingly, some of the students I thought would give me the worst trouble are behaving the best. Some of the students that seem to act so well behaved for my mentor teacher are being little, well, for lack of a better word, snots. I have one student who insists on calling me “Girl” when trying to get my attention, already deciding that it would take too much effort on his part to remember my name. At one point I responded “Don’t call me ‘girl’, I’m a full grown woman, and I have a name.” I don’t think it mattered, as exemplified by the following conversation:
“Girl!” he said “Oh, well, I forgot your name…let’s see, what’s this nametag say here?” He picks up my nametag, which is hanging around my neck. “Miss…miss…what? I can’t see that. Can’t I just call you girl?”
“No, it’s –”
“Well anyway, can I go see my teacher over in Quad ___, I got something to talk to her about.”
“Alright, C___ just return to class in a timely fashion, please.”
“Sure, girl. Bye!”
He comes back…15 minutes later…and saunters into the room. I ignore his tardiness and tell him to turn to page X that we’re reading. “Oh, I left that in my locker.” Granted, when he LEFT to go see Teacher from Quad ___ he had just picked up the book that we were going to start reading in class. What ever in the world made him think that it would be a good idea to stick it in his locker?
*Is Ms. B going to have to smack a bitch?* I thought.
Instead I said, “Here, use mine,” and continued with the lecture….
I stop here with only one “horror” story — which isn’t actually a horror story at all.
Though after a week of being duped by a fake “bell” and having my students escape early, and already having lost my cool over the incessant chatter that threatened to keep other students from finishing a paragraph journal entry that was a summary of the FIRST SCENE of the FIRST ACT of Othello which many complained that they couldn’t complete even though THE SUMMARY IS WRITTEN ON PAGE SIX OF THE STUPID BOOK FOR THEM…the little things are beginning to make me want to quit before I even begin. I don’t think I could record all the goings on of 125 different people here…
My major problem with the class, though, is not the talking or rude behavior. I can get over that and, for the most part, I like the kids. Even the ones who are talking and even the ones who are rude. They make me laugh despite myself. My major problem is trying to think of a way to get them to at least TRY read more than a-scene-a-day from Othello. Thus far, showing them pieces of the movie “O” seems to be an adequate (and educational) bribe in return for them reading the Acts on their own and completing in class assignments. They also seem happy about the promise of not having to write a formal paper at the end of the unit if they work hard on their final projects instead.
Oh! and on a somewhat unrelated note:
I went shopping for clothes at Target (Teacher-y clothes. In fact, I ran into a friend of mine while I was trying on the clothes, a friend who happens to be a teacher, and asked him if I was doing a good job pretending to be a teacher. He said yes.) and was very proud of myself because I found some things that I really like AND that are school/work appropriate. They don’t make me look like an old woman, and they don’t make me look like I’m trying hard to be young. And they’re comfortable. And they were on sale — which is the whipped cream icing on the devil’s food cake.