Hello Learning Curve: My First Days in Student Teaching

Day 1:

5:00 am-wake up and prepare for the day

6:30 am-leave to go to Student teaching with my NCTE tote and lunch bag in frost-bitten hands.

7:38 am-enter school and learn in 5 more minutes that my first day will be with a substitute and we are watching a movie, all day. 

8 am- 12:22 pm-watch the beginning of “Brian’s Song” 3 times.

12:22 pm- have my first lunch duty

12:46 pm- 3:26 pm-finish watching “Brian’s Song” 3 times (just an FYI it’s a tear- jerker)

5 pm- 10 pm- arrive home to a happy kitty, talk to my best friends/ colleagues about their days, pray for a more eventful Day 2, pass out from exhaustion

Day 2: 

5 am- wake up

7:30 am- arrive at school and learn that I am with a substitute again, but the cooperating teacher provided lesson plans this time

8 am- hate myself for just monitoring students while they copy vocab words (this occurs 2 more times, but I tried to make the next ones more interactive)

1:40 pm- TEACH MY FIRST LESSON (repeated at 2:30 pm)

5 pm- arrive home with a big, tired grin on my face

My days are long, my body is exhausted, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world, especially not after day two.

Though I was not expecting a substitute teacher for my first days as a student teacher, I learned a lot. Though I wish we didn’t just watch a movie the first day, I was able to observe my students and get a read from them about what they like and don’t like, their sense of humor, and their insatiable curiosity about new things and people. I had lunch duty the first day, and many of my students flagged me down to bombard me with questions about who I am and how long I will be at the school. Already, I love them all; I know I will cry a little when I leave them.The sub is amazing. I sincerely love this woman, and I am glad I had the privilege of meeting her and working with her. After the first day, I was so bored that I was not really looking forward to the rest of the time that I would be observing. 

I woke up on Day 2 with the refusal to watch a movie that day. I was brainstorming ideas for lessons that I could teach that would help further this semester’s goals.When I arrived to school, I found that I would have the same sub and that the teacher had emailed lesson plans. I was happy. Most of the work she had for the students required us to watch the students copy down notes and read. However, I was able to actually teach. For my 8th grade LA students, I was able to have my students create a “glupsnerch” which is really a creative writing/ descriptive writing assignment in which the students create a product, write about it, and then draw it. I loved it. Not only could I see my kids do actual writing, but I was able to present the material how I wanted, provide feedback like I wanted, and loosen the reigns just a bit. One of my kids told his table mate to ask me instead of the sub about this assignment because, “I like her, she’s good.” (I almost cried from happiness.) 

I have learned. It’s amazing to think about how much I have learned in the past two days. I want my students to learn from me as much as I have learned from them. After today, I learned how great it can be to be a teacher. I messed up presenting an activity one period, but was able to make up for it in the next period. My kids were so good to me. I cannot wait to get into my own classroom. I feel oddly comfortable in the classroom. I say “oddly” because I don’t think I should be so comfortable already. I think I should still feel like I am floundering and trying to get my a grip on my surroundings, but I am not and that scares me. 

 

I would like to dedicate this blog to my methods professor because she helped me find who I am as a teacher. Without her, I wouldn’t be a student’s teacher, but a teacher’s teacher. 

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Forever, Your Teacher

Many times when I am on the verge of taking a big step in life, I find myself looking back at where I have been in this path. As I look forward to becoming a teacher, I look back at all the teachers I have had in my life. Although a fair few of my past teachers I look upon as friends and colleagues, I always think about them as my teachers first. I realize that each of my students will probably have the same reaction as I have. No matter whether I am a fantastic teacher or the worst teacher ever, my students will still think of me as their teacher. I will forever be one of their teachers. I know my students may forget my name, forget when I taught them, or for how long I taught them, but they will know I was their teacher at some point. My students deserve to be able to think about any of their teachers and have positive memories to associate with each of the teachers. I want to be the teacher that my students remember as one that cared about them and helped them.

Personalized Teacher Sign To Teach is To Touch Lives Forever

Teachers never stop being teachers. Even when a teacher discontinues his/her career, they never stop. I have talked to many retired and former teachers. Not a single one regrets being a teacher. In fact many of them have offered resources and assistance for my own career. I have grown to understand what people mean when parenting and teaching are very closely related: no matter how much you may want to quit being a teacher or a parent, you never really do. 

It's a wonderful sentiment, but is that the job of the teacher, or the parent? And does the teacher have the time/capabilities of parenting 20-30 kids and still teach them the basic skills they need?

With all this on my mind, I am a bit nervous about my first day of student teaching. I am scared to potentially mess up and make a student be ruined by something I had not intended to be hurtful. I am nervous about my life changing. I am worried about my cooperating teachers and supervisors and their evaluations. How can I teach a classroom that restricts me as a teacher? How can my students effectively learn from me in this case? To top it off, I am not even 100% certain my cooperating school isn’t closed or delayed tomorrow because of the weather.

stressed

Yes, I am stressing. I bake delicious desserts when I am stressed about things I can’t directly fix. Normally, I give the baked goods away. I’m a half pan of brownies down and hope someone comes to claim the other half, soon!

cute_cat

Because no one can resist a smile after seeing this adorable kitty.

Winter Break Revelations

I did not realize until last week that I come from a family primarily composed of educators. Just on my mother’s side, I have four cousins who are teachers and one who is a principal. I realized so much just from the few days I was able to share with my fellow educators. Here are some things I noticed and found very interesting.

Teacher Probs

Teacher Problem #38
"You give us too much work!"
… said the student who handed in nothing for four weeks.
Submissions welcome! Yea… teacher probs….

We talked teacher problems. I felt like I imagine the teacher’s lounge to be like. The environment was toxic when we began talking about our teacher problems. I heard things like, “the kids just don’t care” and “students need to be held accountable-there are no redoes in real life” and “my students just don’t get it.” I didn’t know what to say, so I just listened. I listened to my cousins and realized that I do not and cannot be like them. I was angry and just wanted to tell them that students don’t care because you don’t care, there actually are redoes in most real world situations, AND your students don’t get it because you don’t “get” what your students need to learn. Arguments erupted between my cousins as the administrator blamed teachers for not doing their jobs and getting funding cut while the teachers retorted that it was the administration’s job to find the funding for things that are necessary. Then I realized something else…

Non-teachers avoid and ridicule teachers

As soon as we engaged in our discussion of teacher problems,  I noticed that everyone who is not in education left the room within 10 minutes. I can’t say I necessarily blame them, but that sucked a bit to realize that non-teachers do not care to hear about issues educators are having. To top it off, one of my non-teacher cousins ridiculed the teachers and scoffed us for “actually believing what they were saying.” He acted like what was being said wasn’t at all accurate. He continued to joke about a “pecking order” and the disbelief he felt for all that had occurred while he paid attention to the conversations. Is this how everyone outside of the education world feel this way? What could happen if everyone could spend a couple days as a teacher or administrator? Would things be different?

 

On the bright side….

1. My administrator cousin might be opening an alternative school in the next 5-10 years. I told him to let me know and I would gladly help him out/ if he needed an English teacher he has my number. 

2. I am now more aware of the stigma surrounding teachers. I can do my best to fit or not fit into that stigma. 

3. I do not have to be like my cousins. I have the choice and power to teach each of my students in a way that I think (and research shows) is one of the best ways to get my students to learn. 

4. I have a big fat kitty that loves me. 

Image This is an old picture.

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” -Albert Einstein

As a teacher, I am privileged with the opportunity to learn many new things everyday. I love it. I can’t wait to see what my students have for me.

#NCTE #Nerdlution #Hashtags

16 pages of composition notebook notes, 28 free books, and an insatiable thirst to get into my own classroom are just a few things I carried home with me after this year’s NCTE conference in Boston. Furthermore, I probably doubled my PLN in the whole sum of three days of convention I attended. I feel so connected! Twitter has been an amazing tool to help me get connected and to borrow ideas from others. Though skeptical at first, I fell in love with the hash-tags(?) and all the information they have lead me to discover. #Hashtags

Things I Loved about NCTE:

Boston: the city, most of the food, some of the people, the cutesy buildings

The Sessions:*

    *NoRedInk- people who use red pens tend to find more errors (even when errors do not exist), also red pens are always seen as negative (even when the comments are positive)

    *Impromptu Grading Discussion- what do you do when you can’t fit anymore people into a room for a session on grading? Naturally, you start your own mini-session on grading outside the room of the filled session. That’s what a few people did, so my friend Kelsey and I joined them. This was honestly one of my favorite sessions. I talked to real teachers about what they do in their own classrooms. What I enjoyed most from this session was the many different ideas and methods each teacher has used or continues to use in the classroom. I heard everything from “pity points” to portfolio classrooms to “Bloopers and Supers.” 

Penny Kittle: This woman is simply amazing, in my opinion. I am glad we were able to meet her. I loved the Ignite session. I loved her session with Kelly Gallagher (he is pretty great too). I would like to run a classroom the way she does.

Improvements for the Future:

Next year, I would like to see the room planners put the bigger names and sessions into the bigger rooms. For example, Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher shouldn’t be in a one of the smallest rooms possible when they are doing a session together. However, the room planners tried very hard and did a wonderful job on the rest of the venue. Other than that, I loved the convention. I cannot wait to return to the NCTE convention soon!  #NCTE

ncte

 

Nerd+Resolution=Nerdlution

I have been hearing much about this new craze. Here’s how it works: You come up with something that you want to accomplish. This could be anything; run everyday, find happiness everyday, read for 30 minutes everyday, or even browse the internet for pictures of cute cats for an hour everyday. Pick a resolution and stick to it for 50 days. I like this because it seems like a much more manageable time than a whole year.  My Nerdlution? My goal is find my happiness every single day. #Nerdlution

#nerdlution

 

 

 

My Very Own Room 109 Reflection

Mr. Richard Kent takes us through an in-depth and inspiring look at a portfolio classroom. Room 109 has helped me make some decisions in how I will attempt to create my first classroom. I have a better look at what my class might just look like, now. This book was very well written. A fair few questions about portfolios came to mind as I read and they were subsequently answered. 95% of them, at least. This book is also handy for a resource-filled book.

As great as Kent’s classroom appears to be, I do not think I would be able to pull it off quite like he does. I need to find the means to make a class like this work for me. This classroom needs to have a air of fun around it, and I’m not normally called, “fun.” Regardless of my fun levels, I still plan on using some of Kent’s ideas in my future classroom.

I suggest this book to any future or current teacher who is looking into portfolio classrooms. This is a great book that can act as a great mentor text. One thing, however, that concerned me with this book is how old it is. A lot of things have happened in the education world since this book was written. Also, a lot newer more technology has come out since this book. If Kent is still teaching, would love to see what Kent is doing in his classroom now. 

This is a short blog for a short book. Also, next up is a dedication post!!

Blogging to Say, “Thanks”

This week has been insane. I feel as though I have learned more than a normal person should ever learn in a week. No, not everything I have learned has been good. Thanks to Maggie, I have learned that cheetahs have been around since before the Ice Age and that they are having a lot of genetic issues due to this thing called the “bottle neck effect.” I have learned that I am SO READY and WANTING to be a teacher.

My methods professor gave us an assignment to grade a paper. This paper is filled with grammatical errors, spelling errors, and VOICE. The editor in me want to whip out a red pen and “go to town.” Instead, I read the paper and couldn’t make a single corrective mark. Instead, I have tons of questions for this student. I have respect for this student. I want this student in my class so I can see and help him grow into the writer I know he can be. A self-rule I think I will have in my class: no red pens.

Of all the things I have learned this week, the most important one I believe I have learned is to be thankful. November is the month for many things: novel writing, not shaving, stressing over homework, being thankful etc… I am thankful to have the people in my life that I do. I am extremely thankful for my dearest friends who put up with me and who save me from considering going postal on people. I love you! Unfortunately, a good majority of people around me make me want to shake them to wake them up from the dense fog of deception in which they seem to be floundering. I am thankful for the pleasurable experiences I have had. More than anything, I am thankful for the people and events in my life that have challenged me. 

An addition to my motto:

What’s on my Agenda for Blogs? Why, it’s you ENG461!

To be perfectly honest, this is my second time typing this blog. I was literally 80% finished with this blog before my computer/ internet connection wigged out and completely deleted my draft. So, lucky readers, you might just be getting an abridged version of this blog.

 I was frustrated.

Though the countdown until Christmas steadily falls, the stress levels felt by students across the world begin rising exponentially. Many students discover the library and all it’s resources during these times. It is also during these times that I find joy in reflecting on this semester in reverse. Shamefully, there are always a couple of classes where I just blank out a month or two from the semester. Anyways, as I was reflecting on my methods course, I thought about some greats, not-so-greats, and some down-right hilarious moments. I also thought about how much my class seems to enjoy the “snap-cup,” “warm fuzzies,” and “positive post-its.” These are the happy notes that students (people in general) write to each other. Inspired by this idea, I have decided what I am going to write about in the next few weeks. I am going to dedicate a blog to each of the wonderful peeps in my methods course. I do not have a specific order in which I will be dedicating a blog to each classmate. (My blog, my rules:remember?)

The get this metaphorical ball rolling, here are links to my classmates’ blogs: (hopefully they are all working, all correct, and all here)

Maggie: http://lechatdu503.wordpress.com/Mariah:  http://mariahbusch.wordpress.com/

Kelsey: http://kelseyempfield.wordpress.com/ Nikki: http://nikkijh2424.wordpress.com/ 

Laura: http://livetoread08.wordpress.com/Heather: http://hecoll.wordpress.com/

Lindsey: http://lindseygail10.wordpress.com/Kali:  http://krblev.wordpress.com/

Elizabeth: http://thedirigibleplum.wordpress.com/Brit: http://britgrace.wordpress.com/

Ashley:  http://ashleyrushman.wordpress.com/

I think that is it! If I have missed anyone, let me know because I will use this blog as a check list for blogging. Also, if you do not want me to write you a blog, then let me know ASAP. You have at least until class on Wednesday because I still need to finish reading and blogging for Room 109. (Still great, by the way.)

Something random: (I literally Googled, “random.”)

Isn’t he cute?! Also, he is the thing I found to be most random.

“Well, that’s your opinion, isn’t it? And I’m not about to waste my time trying to change it.” ― Lady Gaga

Who would have ever thought I would quote Lady G? I never thought I would, but this is a very appropriate quote for what this blog is going to contain. Warning: the majority of this blog is going to be a rant.

In block today, we had some great conversations and presentations. Overall, the class was pretty great. However, (you knew it was coming) we ended the class with a discussion about women in the Military. One lady in the class said some things that really made me angry. Picking two that most fired me up: “Do we want the Military to win?! We can’t have women in there if we do.” and “A girl can’t carry all that heavy equipment and wear a helmet.” I know I probably shouldn’t be writing like this when I am upset, but gosh dang it! My very best friend from high school is a Marine. She as been active and is actually on an 18-month tour right now. I see her once a year, maybe. I do not believe she is making the Military lose by serving. She is clearly capable and actually does all the hard work that this one girl claims to be impossible. Women have been warriors for thousands of years.

 This is a picture representation of Hervor. Hervor comes from the legend of a Viking warrior woman who followed in her ferocious father’s footsteps and lead other Vikings into battle, raided villages, and the like. 

Oh and another lovely quote from this lady, “Women are wimps.” —Excuse me?! I could spend the rest of my blog explaining how that is not true, but as the cliche goes, that would be preaching to the choir. (I think anyways.) So, now I am torn about what to do in this situation. Do I wipe her slate clean with me? Do I file her under “the people I don’t like” section? I feel very strongly about this subject. Also, I wasn’t sure I liked her before this incident, but my opinion of her confirmed my distaste for her.

What about if this situation occurs in my classroom? Realistically, I am sure I will not allow a situation to get this heated, but the possibility is still there. I need to figure out a way to make sure I don’t let things like this get me down or ruin classes for the rest of my students. Honestly, I am a little concerned about how much this minor incident affected the rest of my day.  Another thing on my list to improve myself is to control and deal with reactions I have.

Thanks for reading!

1980’s Style Classroom Management- An Explanation?

Tuesday, I was digging around in the “Free Books” book case and I found a gem [!] of a book on classroom management. 

Here’s a picture of the cover:

 

Image

Let’s begin by analyzing the title of this book: You Can Handle Them All. In the 1980’s, when this book’s copyright is, the professional development books consisted of “handling” students. I think this makes so much sense. Many of my own teachers are the product of this way of thinking. One of my high school English teachers did not care what we did as long as we did the worksheets, stayed in the classroom, and were good when the principal game. We were handled so that we never complained about that class. I was not in love with English because of my high school experience. Actually, the only reason I came to the English department in college is because I spent more than 85% of my childhood with my nose in a book and I wanted to be able to share that love with others.

love reading

Before I get back to the book, I need to address the concept of “spider webbing.” In my literary criticism class, we are discussing feminist theories. One theory we learned about was how the female brain functions. According to this professor’s research, a woman’s brain goes from A to A1 to A2 to A3 then to B then B1 etc… all the way to the point trying to be made. In short, female brains go through several different thoughts before ending at the point. Male brains, according to this same research, go from A to B to C etc… until they get to the point. Any and all of my blogs can be used as evidence for this theory.

So after that little blurb, back to the book from the beginning.

The “Table of Contents” is actually an alphabetical list of the 101 behaviors addressed in the book. Just by reading the “Table of Contents,” you will understand what I mean when I say this book is extremely politically incorrect.

Here are pictures of the Table of Contents:

Image

 

My “favorites” from this page include:The Apple Polisher, The Alibier (which different than the Alibi Maker?), The Blabbermouth, The Chiseler, The Crier(s), and The Failer. 

Image

My “favorites” from this page: The Follower, The Hider, The ‘Idiot’ Syndrome, The Lewd, The Lover, The Noncompleter with Grand Plans, and the Rabble Rouser. (Notice a pattern in this blog?)

Image

Just a few “favorites” on this one: The Tramp, The Vindictive, The Underachiever, The Spoiled Darling, The Sleeper, and The Snoop.

I think the way this book is set up and the way it coaches teachers to instruct explains a lot of teacher’s methods. Many behaviors in this book are addressed in stereotypical fashion with no real sense of getting to know the individual student. I just feel it all makes sense! 

In other news, I need to step up my teaching game because I did not do well in my presentation of a lesson today. So to cheer myself and everyone else up:

I might have died for a minute from all the laughter. HAHAHA Oh my gosh! WATCH IT!

Things to Literally Die For: Curing Person-hood with a Cause

Before any of you dear readers try to jest at my use “literally,” this blog consists of things I would give my life for without much hesitance. Also, I hope the majority caught my reference to The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green. Before I get into the meat of this metaphorical sandwich, I would like to take a moment and discuss The Fault in Our Stars. Cool?-Great.

Alright, if you have not read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, do it. Also, stop reading this blog because their are plenty of spoilers here. I know a lovely lady who adores John Green’s work and would love to meet him some day. If you haven’t read the book in question, rent it or borrow it or buy it and then read it!  

Last warning: SPOILER ALERT!!–Just kidding, no real spoilers, kinda.

Okay, so I hope (and assume) most of you are still with me. Not to sound cliche, weird, overzealous, etc…, but this book changed my life. Well, not really, but I saw the world in a way that helped me with a lot of issues I had been having. I especially loved, “… no longer suffering from person-hood.” I love it! I cried at the end. Wait, that doesn’t do it justice. My cheeks flooded as the dams in my eyes overflowed and the tears washed the soil away. I felt like Colorado. (bad joke, I know)

How does this tie into things I would die for? Well, that’s a bit of a stretch, I admit it. I just really loved that book and it reminded me of death, so yea.

My dear friend, Maggie, just blogged about things she would die for. I loved the idea so much that i promptly stole it. She asked for three things we would die for, but I might not be able to comply with three.

1. My Class

As a future educator, I know that if the situation ever arises where I might have to die to save my  students, I will gladly lay my life down for them. They are my kids and I will not let them perish before I can see them grow and put what I have taught them to good use. 

For all the wonderful teachers who have paid the price for this belief:

2. World Peace

I do not wish to run for Miss America,  but I would do this in a heart beat. If my death brought peace, I would throw myself on a grenade for people just to be happy and at peace with each other. I just get really tired of either being a jerk or other people being a jerk to me.  

I thought this was cute:

world-peace

3. Homes for All Pets

For those of you who know, I am an animal lover!! I love love love animals! I kind of want a pet bobcat some day. I  would gladly die so all animals could have a safe and loving home to go to.  Fact about me: I try hard not to judge people, but I will openly judge someone based on how they treat an animal. I love the furry kids!!

Just some crazy fanatic ideas that I wish I had enough money for:

dog house3 Bizarre Homes for Pets

AND………………..

WAIT FOR IT……………..

The Ultimate Crazy Cat House

cat home Bizarre Homes for Pets  I want, kinda.

4.  To save another

I really do not have much to say on this one. If I can save someone, I will do my very best to do so. If the choice became mine, I would want to give life to another over my own.

life-is-beautiful

Yea!

Life As Adventure

I think that’s it. Have a great one!