For the first post for this series, check out Inservice Week.
Oh man, there’s just so much I don’t even know where to begin (and probably won’t even begin to cover everything that happened here). This week was exhausting, frightening, exhausting, crazy, exhausting, overwhelming, and did I mention exhausting? It’s bad (I think) when you’re numb to waking up so early and working through so long just within the first week of school.
I got to the school everyday between 7:15-7:25 or so, and I often stayed anywhere from 4:15-4:50 (that latest was Friday, though). But then I’d have to go home and start prepping for later, not to mention work on other stuff, like my online class. I now know why they only allow one extra class if needed and recommend not working and all that other stuff while student teaching. It’s insane.
Now let me see if I can remember all week (my brain has rather melted, so it’s all kind of blending together). Monday, all I really did was observe my mentor teacher all day. There was only really one major classroom management problem, but my mentor teacher had what she likes to call a “coming to Jesus meeting” with the guy on Tuesday, and he hasn’t been a problem since. Wednesday I started with taking roll call and going around to pick up signed/filled-out forms and such from the students who hadn’t yet turned them in. Thursday I went from doing roll call and picking up forms to doing both of those, as well as going over the warm-up vocabulary word the “regular English 3” kids have to write down at the beginning of class. I also went over vocabulary with the sixth period creative writing class.
However, there was a pretty big classroom management problem with that class (even for my mentor teacher), and it didn’t bode very well with me. Everybody was loud and talking, even when I was trying to teach, and almost nobody really got the part of the assignment done that we were going over in class. So I told my mentor teacher that I felt like I pretty much sucked, so she had a big talk with me about being more authoritative with the class and about how I needed to just sit down and have this discussion on how to act with all of them. So I had to start planning that out for the next day (Friday), as well as preparing for becoming more authoritative with the other kids so they’d get their warm-ups done easier (and help them get into the right pattern). So Friday I was more authoritative with the regular English 3 kids, and a few of them actually helped me quiet the others so I could get them working. And then, at the beginning of the creative writing class, I gave my little speech on when/how loud to talk and how to act in the classroom (which I practiced in one form or another all day during my down time). So when we went to finish up the vocabulary work, they were all working quieter than usual, and if they got too loud, one or two of the students would work with me to help quiet the others down a bit (of their own will, too). And when we went over the vocabulary, everybody was practically done and ready with their answers, unlike the previous day, which made it a really big step for me.
Other than all of that, I did a lot of paper-work involved things (taking papers, filing stuff, making an insane amount of copies, etc.). I’ve become very friendly with the copy machine. I’ve also had to start reading yet another book that I’ll have to help teach later on. One thing that’s a bit awkward is when a student asks me a question if my mentor teacher is busy, and I don’t know the answer (because it’s usually a procedural question, not a content question). But I’m starting to pick up easier on those. I also found that I’ve become friendlier with both the students and the teachers as the week has gone on. When we started, I was a bit quiet and shy, just off to the side or whatnot. By Friday, I was already joking, laughing, and having full-on conversations with the students and teachers both.
I know there’s like a million other things I’m not listing here, from actual classroom experiences with students (and there’s just so many of them!) to things I’ve been a part of/participated in (like in meetings, in re-arranging the classroom, or in helping to create answer keys for a pre-test). It’s also kinda funny that I found both my mentor teacher and myself labeling classes by association with one student. For instance, ‘second period is the one with so-and-so, third person is the one with him/her,’ etc. And speaking of that, remembering all these names is tough. I’ve got the majority of them down, but there’s still a small handful that I’m trying to remember. But I think remembering the majority of around 120 students throughout the day is pretty good.
Oh, and one interesting story to share… there was a rat that died inside the coke machine in the downstairs teacher’s lounge (the English teacher’s lounge, basically). And not only did it die in the machine, but it died right near part of the machine that was basically cooking the thing in there, and also right next to a fan in the machine that was blowing the smell all around the place. The downstairs of the building stank really bad all week. They coca-cola people finally came and took the machine away Friday, but it’s still lingering.
I know I’m just kind of rambling now, but there’s so much that’s happened, and I don’t even think I’ve begun to break the surface on everything, because there’s just been way too much. I guess I’ll stop there for now. Next week will be even more interesting, because I’m actually gonna be taking over the creative writing class completely (my own lessons and everything). So that’ll be an interesting experience.
And one last thing… it’s way weird, and it’s gonna take me quite a while to get used to, being called ‘Mr. my-last-name’. Okay, I think that’s it for now.