The Student Teacher Chronicles - Week Eight.

It’s a week of surprises, break-ups, and… limbo? So this week, at least the beginning of the week, started out like “The Break-Up Week.” It started on Sunday when one of my students in Creative Writing, who is also on my MySpace, starts posting bulletins and whatnot being ambiguously upset about somebody, and I pretty much figured who it was, because I knew she was dating a guy that’s also in my Creative Writing class, and they started off having issues. So I had the pleasure of comforting her and cheering her up, which wasn’t too difficult, as I’ve had an insane amount of practice over the years.

But anyway, that was just the beginning… the week only started there…


Monday was a teacher work day, so there were no students, but all of us teachers were there. I get there a little before 8 AM, and I get to start the day off with a huge faculty meeting in the cafeteria. It started off with some woman talking about some organization or whatever that I don’t think anybody really paid attention to (mostly because it was early in the morning on a Monday, and she was asking teachers to give her money). Then the principal came back and talked for a bit before splitting the teachers into groups, splitting us up between the two cafeterias. Then we had to work together on giving ideas to fix up specific things (our group had parent/teacher contact, so we talked a lot about bettering Open House and stuff like that). Then we went back to the other cafeteria before being split up again into the other cafeteria and having to work on checking out whether or not different subjects’ work was using Higher Order Thinking Skills. After that, we all went to lunch, and I went with a few of the other teachers. Then we came back early (mostly because he gave us a 2-hour lunch break, which is insane), and we worked in the classroom for a while before having to go back to the cafeteria at 1 PM to wrap things up. At 1, we did a quick activity wherein we grouped up and came up with a nursery rhyme or fairy tale that we liked, and then came up with one question for each of the levels of Bloom’s. We went with “Ring around the rosies,” and came up with some very disturbing (though hilarious) questions (because it’s a very disturbing rhyme). After that, we just went back to our classrooms and worked on stuff for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the copy machine broke yet again (gasp), so we couldn’t make copies. But I was out of there by about 3:30 or a little after.


Tuesday started off with me having to wake up a little earlier so I could be at the school a little earlier in order to go to a Safe and Civil Schools meeting with my mentor teacher. Then during first period, I made some copies with a possessed copy machine in the upstairs teachers lounge of the building while the downstairs one got repaired. Then I gave up on that machine (spitting papers out like jettisons) and tried the downstairs one again, as it had finally been fixed. I had a little bit more luck, but only just a little. Enough to keep my sanity. Then second through fifth period, I just introduced the weekly homework assignment and then they worked on their essays for the rest of class (unless they needed to catch up on something else they were missing).

However, this is also where the break-up games continued. So I find out fourth period that this girl, who had already told me she’d been having issues, finally broke up with her boyfriend. So I had to spend a small portion of fourth period cheering her up, which—again—I did quite easily. Then fifth period, I find out that this guy who is dating a girl in my sixth period (Creative Writing) just broke up with her, and she’s that really shy sensitive girl I’ve brought up before, so I started getting worried there. So I spent the majority of sixth period (after I started them on their work) consoling her, as well, though that took a bit more effort. But I finally got her cheerful and positive by the end of class, so it was a success.

The biggest surprise of the day, however, came from (or about, rather) this guy in fifth period. Again, I bring up this guy all the time—it’s the guy we really like, though he talks quite a bit. Well, it turns out that this guy is from Puerto Rico and English is his second language, though you’d never be able to tell that. He speaks (with no accent whatsoever) and writes (sometimes poetically) very fluently. However, he informed my mentor teacher that he thinks completely in Spanish, so he’s been having a lot of issues in other classes, primarily History and Chemistry. But here’s the deal: He has to ride the bus in the morning; he has to work construction as soon as fifth period is over (he’s in a work-day program) in order to pay utilities and take care of a young son; and he can’t tell his mom that he’s struggling, because she refuses to believe or accept it. So he’s asked his other teachers if he can come into their classes during lunch for extra help, but they’ve given their grumpy answers of “No… I’m not giving up my lunch.” And because the history teacher can work with him a bit more, we went to find him some help for chemistry, which we eventually did, so that’s worked out fine thus far. But we also came across his math teacher, who is this totally disgruntled expletive deleted. She started going off about him, and I was like “No way… we can’t be talking about the same kid.” But it’s like my mentor teacher has always said… kids are always better in her classroom than with other teachers, because she knows how to treat them (in other words… she’s a great teacher and actually likes being around these kids). So yeah… that part of the day totally blew my mind. But I’m so glad we’ve gotten him help now. He’s incredibly smart and has great ambitions… he just needs that helping hand.

Anyway, the rest of the afternoon wasn’t anything special. We just worked on random stuff and were out of there by about 4:30 (or a little sooner).


No student teaching this day due to student teacher seminar and job fair. However, I was basically offered a job at a local middle school for an eighth grade English position to start pretty much ASAP (January, as it were).


So I talked to my mentor teacher about the job, and she was super thrilled about it (as was every other teacher I mentioned it to), so I guess I’m going to be taking the position if offered. The only ones that freaked out when I told them were some of the students. What really threw me off was when some of the most ghetto kids around were telling me “Oh God, that school’s bad.” And then I had another guy from a different class tell me that I’d have to get all “Oh Captain, My Captain” with them, which I thought was great. I’m so going to be a movie teacher.

Anyway, more about the day. First period (English 3 AP) I actually did some teaching for once. I began teaching them Rhetorical Analysis for essays, and they seemed to get it pretty well (even if I found it slightly complicated myself). It’s a super structured/organized format/formula, and my brain just doesn’t work like that. But I have to teach it anyway, so there we are. Anyway, that actually went fairly well.

Second through fifth period were super easy. All they did was continue with their own essays at whatever stage of the writing process they were at. Though I did discover that two completely different students in two different classes had gotten robbed recently. One’s house got robbed on Tuesday, and the other got basically jumped at gunpoint sometimes recently and got about ten bucks stolen from him (the only money he’s had for weeks)… and the sad part is, he’s pretty sure he knows the guy who jumped him.

The biggest surprise of the regular classes, though, was that in fifth period, this one girl who is quite ‘learning modification’ with stuff and has difficulties grasping a lot of information was the only person ahead of the game and had a bunch of stuff done with her essay, whereas a lot of other people in the class didn’t even have a rough draft written. This is the same girl I’ve mentioned before where I gained some kind of random connection with her and I wasn’t sure where I got it from. So that was exciting. And another exciting moment was learning why she was having some difficulties. I got to read her narrative essay, and she wrote about a time when she had this ‘lightbulb moment’, wherein she finally understood something she didn’t before. Well, it was about how she was having trouble in math and couldn’t follow her teacher’s lectures or anything, but then she opened up her textbook, saw visual models of how to do things, and got it almost immediately. I discovered right then that she’s a visual learner and told her this information (because she didn’t grasp the concept fully) and told her how to use that to her advantage.

Sixth period wasn’t anything overly special. They continued with vocabulary and started on a new poem form, the Cinquain. That was about it. During seventh period conference, however, things got a little uncomfortable. Every now and then my mentor teacher slips into a bad or overly stressed mood, which makes things highly uncomfortable for me (mostly because I always feel I’ve done something wrong, because she gets very quiet and internal, which is not like her whatsoever). This happened today as soon as we hit seventh period conference, because she suddenly became overwhelmed with a load of things she had to get done. So I started working on what I had to teach first period the next day (which was stressful on me, because it was more stuff that my brain couldn’t handle because it was way too outlined and structured, while I was making full sentences using a few unconnected words and some randomly connected lines). I really feel a lot of the time that this is like a student teacher boot camp. I knew there was a teacher copy with some answers already in it; however, she was having me do everything myself (like I needed the stress) so I could get on the student level and do and know exactly what they have to do and know. It was around this time again that I felt eighth grade might not be so bad, because I wouldn’t feel as stressed about the students knowing more than I do or having to teach things I know nothing about. But anyway, it was tough because I didn’t want to ask a lot of questions to my mentor teacher, as she was in this bad mood and I always feel like she’ll be quietly getting annoyed at me and thinking I’m stupid for not knowing this information already. But she finally helped me about a bit and then let me go a little after 4:30 or so.


This day wasn’t bad at all. I taught first period again, and that went pretty well (though I didn’t really ‘do’ much). Second through fifth periods just worked on writing essays, vocab test re-takes, and homework. Sixth period just worked on vocab and poetry. I didn't get out until a little after 5 due to grading and stuff, but it flew by really fast. That’s seriously about it. The coolest thing about today is that my mentor teacher and I had (based on an idea I randomly had and she totally went with) every student limbo on their way in (and sometimes out) of the classroom. At first we were just using my arm. Then we got this fold-up-type chair and used it as the pole. A lot of the student really went at it, but some cheated and just ducked under or knocked the ‘pole’ out of the way to get through. But yeah, that was really fun, especially when they got into it. We would even keep them out in the hall after the bell had rung and wait for them to do it (if they were embarrassed or whatever). It was great. Later on in the day, some of them really got into it and kept having us make it lower and lower to see how they would do. Next Friday, we’ve decided that every student has to dance on their way in (and nobody can do a dance that’s already been done within that class). It should be fun.

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