The Student Teacher Chronicles: The Last Three Days + Epilogue.

I had a week off for Thanksgiving and had to come back a little more. It’s time for the last three days. Here we go!


So I didn’t do much first period, as usual. Then I taught for about half of each period for second through fifth. We finished up the unit of vocabulary we had been on, talked about the new week of homework, and then discussed how everybody needed to actually finish what was actually due the Friday before Thanksgiving break. Then my mentor teacher took over and talked to them for a little while before letting them loose to work on stuff. The only class that really didn’t do much was fifth period, which my mentor got on them about. But the really weird part was sixth period, which I’ve been used to teaching on my own since nearly the beginning of school. Well, my mentor teacher basically took over completely, so I just sat back and observed the entire class period (occasionally inserting a random comment or joke) as they started a new one-act play. But it was completely bizarre (and slightly frustrating) not to do anything for that period. Then my mentor had to go to yet another meeting, so I was left alone for a while with instructions to leave at 4 PM and close the locked door behind me. Well, I did… but then I went into another teacher’s room with a couple other students who had been in there with me and talked to them for another 30 minutes just randomly, so I didn’t actually leave until about 4:30. But it was good fun.


I started off Tuesday by giving my mentor a thank you card (with 10 special lines written in it of why I was thankful for her… and I made 10 because I know she’s OCD and would want an even number, which made her happy. She also complimented my use of anaphora) and a small gift card. Then first period, I basically sat back while they finished up a quiz and then gave some biblical allusion explanations. I did, however, have to grade the last presentation/question set for that class, as they didn’t go before the break.

Second through fifth period was totally random. All the periods got pretty much the same announcement speech (about what was due this week and about the next day being my last day and how we could all just party). But what each class got accomplished was different. Second period worked on different things (depending on what was owed), and we got into some interesting and fun discussions about random things from math to religion. Fun times. Third period went to do that physical training thing that first and fourth periods had to go to during my solo teach, but then came back and talked a little bit about literary term stuff. Fourth period got the most done (mostly because it’s a split lunch/long class). They got pretty far with the lit terms discussion. But the one guy who gets on most everybody’s nerves finally took my mentor over the edge, and she was forced to send him out of the room. Fifth period was mostly a discussion between my mentor and the class on how she can help make the class better as there are so many people failing (due to laziness, really). So in other words, I didn’t do anything but sit back and chat with some of the students throughout the classes.

Then sixth period was fun, even though I still wasn’t doing anything. Of course, I had created my biggest bonds with the students in this class, so I had some of the biggest reactions to the me leaving/party time discussion (and some of the funniest). But they finished up the play, though the reading of it was hilarious as always.

And during seventh period conference, a woman came in to work with my mentor teacher on something for her Safe and Civil Schools group, which took the entire conference. I about fell asleep while they were talking (because not only did I have no idea what they were talking about, but I wasn’t included in any of it, nor did I have anything else to do). But as soon as the bell rang, the room was bombarded by students wanting help for stuff (most of which was stuff that was due WEEKS ago). By the time everybody had got stuff in order and my mentor had a couple talks with some parents (both on phone and in person). But throughout the day, it was funny, because she got permission from two different parents of two different kids to feel free to beat them if they act stupid in class (ironically, both for students in fourth period).

But then my mentor teacher got a call from her husband and had to leave, so we just left then, which was about 5. Oh, I also had another teacher come in and give me the whole congrats/best wishes/glad to know you thing since she wasn’t going to be there the next day. And that leads us to…

Wednesday – The Final Day

So, did I fail to mention that on my last, final day of student teaching, my mentor teacher is also NOT there all day due to yet another meeting? Nor were half of the other teachers, either. A rather ironic way to end student teaching, but still… Well, my mentor teacher was there before school, but that was it. Then she left for meetings all day off-campus.

So first period we finished up with biblical allusions (which was fun). One of the girls also brought cupcakes (chocolate), which is—of course—a hearty breakfast. I took the one with a yellow smiley face ring on it. At the end of class, I started them on what they would need for the next day.

Second through fifth periods didn’t bring anything for the class, though. But second period, one girl (and a quiet one I didn’t talk to much, at that) brought me this large baggie full of what looks like powdered-sugar-covered chex mix, but tasted more like Reese’s peanut butter cups chex. Awesome stuff. Otherwise, all the regular classes did was study for and take their vocab quiz and then work more on essay/project stuff. The only other real thing of note was the in fifth period, all we really did was riff on each other the whole time, though I did gain a lot more respect for not only being able to dish it out, but for being able to take as much as I did.

On the other side of that spectrum, the Crazy Girl in sixth period can dish it out, but cannot receive it. While everybody else was saying how much they’d miss me, she was saying stuff like “I’m not going to miss you. I’m happy you’re leaving,” and other things like that. So when we started new vocab words, I had her read number 12, which just-so-happened to be the word ‘obnoxious.’ She wasn’t thrilled, and she threw a fit. Then she was in a really bad and grumpy mood for the rest of class. And at times, she resorted back to her "I'm the best writer in the world and will be famous someday" thing, in which I would roll my eyes at her and continue doing whatever. But another thing this class did was put together what my mentor called the “Book of Jobe” (get it?) and passed it around the room to say nice things about and/or to me. I’ll get to what Crazy Girl said shortly (because it was special).

But what I was most surprised about was them giving me a gift bag (which happened to say “New Baby” on the front) and some…interesting stuff inside. The most interesting is a tall red candle with a picture of Pancho Villa on the front. Then there was an un-opened VHS tape of an old Zelda cartoon show. And then a Napoleon Dynamite birthday card with things written in it by almost everybody in the class. It was the most random gift bag ever, but it completely personified that creative writing class.

The only other major thing I did that day was proofread a 15-page research paper for one of the other teachers, which I gave back and talked to about during seventh period conference (just briefly). Then I just cleaned up the room a bit and left, just in time to see that new teacher walking down the hall, so we just walked out together. I was out by about 2:55 or so. And it was a melancholy joy (also known as a bittersweet moment), because while I was glad to be done with student teaching, I will miss some of the students a lot. But life goes on, and so does teaching, and I’ll meet new sets of kids every year. That’s just something else I’ve learned during this experience. And that leads us to the last thing I want to say…


I knew I wanted to give my final thoughts in an epilogue at the end of all of this, and I figured I would just write about everything I’ve learned in this experience. But after today, I found out exactly what I want to say here, which is the most important thing I probably could have learned in the whole experience.

My biggest issue was that I was too nice and too laid back, which let them run all over me at times. I wanted everybody to like me as well as do well, which just wasn’t going to work. And I realized that early on with one particular student, so I knew I had to do something special, something different in order to get through to this person. And I couldn’t have been happier to read Crazy Girl’s final words to me in the “Book of Jobe” after they had all gone on to their last classes of the day. The following are her own words:

I really don’t think I have anything nice to say. I won’t remember you or miss you, but you will remember me. I will prove you wrong. So have a nice life.”

What you might see as arrogant or rude, I see as success. I knew early on the only way to get this girl to succeed was to play at what she treasured most: her ego. The more I pushed her and tested her, the more she hated me, but the more adamant she was at succeeding. And regardless of the fact that she never picked up on the reverse psychology (even better that she didn’t), I am glad to know that I did what I set out to do with her.

So what I learned was this: It doesn’t matter whether or not they all love you; if you can get them to the point where they will do anything to want to excel in life, even if it involves hating you to get to that point, then you have succeeded in your job. Because teaching isn’t all about making long-term friendships; it’s about getting individuals to want to learn and excel in life. And if you can get them to do that, you are a teacher.

And right now, I feel like a teacher.

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