This post will be short as of most are during finals week! I am feeling a mixture of relief and excitement with the end of this quarter in sight. Excited that I will begin the adventurous journey of taking my placement class on full time as a teacher, and have begun the steps toward job searching. I feel relief that this quarter (the programs most taxing) will be over and that I have retained all the amazing knowledge and educator insights I have picked up along the way. I am sad to be leaving my cohort full time as we all embark on this last quarter. It seems we all just started our first day of class together , feeling that excitement of the unknown blossom into confidence that we are becoming teachers with the “ write stuff” ( pun so intended). I know this week will be exhausting and stressful for many but I want all my cohort members to know: YOU CAN DO IT! We are almost at the finish line and you are the most talented, kindhearted, accomplished people I have grown to know and love. Take care this possibly late night Sunday and have a fabulous Monday. And if you feel the stress turning into a snarky monster that might lash out at unsuspecting pesterer’s AKA our loved ones, just remember “ Teachers Have Class” .
I was lucky enough to have a fantastic weekend. One of the reasons was participating in a race that had me running though an empty city at 6:45 in the morning. I know, my fellow classmates and teachers are giving me the harry eyeball, “you got up how early on a Sunday?” I admit that the night before the race I thought the same thing…”I have to get up early for school why am I doing this to myself on a SUNDAY?”
As I hit the off button on my alarm, reading 4:30AM, going through the motions of preparation and hitting the road on this chilly and rainy morning, I began to feel that sleepy excitement that builds at a rumbling pace. That excitement built as I hit the starting line, and continued as I raced with the masses. As I ran though the usually crowded and bustling city streets, the calm that encompassed all of us runners left me feeling entranced. I realized that we all get caught up with the motions of hitting the alarm, getting dressed and heading to school-all to start over day after day until the weekend. I know normally I post about academics, the classroom etc..Tonight I want this to leave people with the idea that we can wake up on Monday (early for most) and feel that slow excitement as we drive to school. I want us to feel invigorated during the day and come home with a sense of accomplishment. Running this morning, pushing past the sleep deprivation and feeling at peace among strangers- but not strangers is a feeling that we can have every day. if we set our mind to it. So I wish everyone a happy Monday, and Tuesday and so on. May your work week feel like your weekend.
This week at my main placement had really helped me realize that i am picking the right profession. With taking on more reasonability, taking over lessons etc. I can feel the confidence building. With comments coming from peers,” wow you look great!” and from my field instructor, ” I love how happy you are while teaching- it made your students excited to learn and feel cared for” I can wholeheartedly say that i am in the right place and field placement. This feeling of peace, and excitement (though still very much hard at work) is such a brash comparison to my last couple of weeks on campus. With all the high stakes assignments and certificate requirements many feel bogged down with stress. And though we all are experience the same demands, it seems more difficult to carry all that joy and grit we have at our placements in our own training classrooms. With reflecting on this the entire week ” how come I am so happy at my placement school- even though we have the same if not more demands as we do on campus?” I still don’t have an answer; I know that I do not want to leave my placement next week with these fabulous feelings to have them dissipate the following week. Some ideas I have come up with is carrying a notebook filled only with reminders of all the learning and care (and funny moments) that come up in my classroom. When I feel the stress building or frustration with a assignment this, I am hoping, will keep me smiling. Fingers crossed- I will know if it works in a week! Coming up with these things will help with my teacher training in the long run. What do you do to keep moral up and a happy attitude?
I am aware that this is really a polly positive post today , but it cant be helped. Through the piles of school work and exhaustive reflection and grueling schedules the surmounting excitement is breaking free! Soon this program will be done, and soon i will be interviewing at schools and for districts leading to a new wave of hard work and stress ( that i will LOVE to take on). The new voice in my head is deleting the old ” ….am i getting it? Can i do this ?” to ” I can do this!”.
As the end is in sight i am sure there will be more meltdowns and low days but if i can remember this week I have had i will get through them.
Last week I did a read aloud with my eight graders on Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The students enjoyed the book and handled the tough concepts of internal struggle and duel identity well. And though my exit activity proved to me that they were engaged in the reading, and they were thinking critically the real results of the reading reveled themselves this week. Three students asked where they could get the book to read on their own time. I will repeat this, three students asked to read the book outside of school, a book not assigned or to be graded, and something that will be devoured with pleasure not in the troughs of homework agony. When this was asked of me “where can I get this book to read?” I had to “check myself” not to respond with a loud three cheers for reading and above all resist high fiving them! Least I deter them with my teacher “un-coolness” , but rather I helped them track down the book and gave them a hearty , “ I am so excited for you read this- let me know what you think when you are finished .”
No, this was not the entire 89 8th grade English lit student body begging for the book, and yes, I am aware that the goal is the get them all reading, reading and more reading. But, this felt like such a victory! And you know why, because they reached out to me, asking for the book and it was a book they heard in class. Though a small amount this has huge success written (or should I say read) all over it. This is a perfect reminder that all those hours we pour into lessons and units and scaffolding or teacher tricks that feel lost on glazed eyes and foggy brains focusing on homecoming or food or anything else rather than class – that we can still reach out to the students. We can get them perked up in class to learn and discover on their own outside the classroom. Because isn’t that the point of why we teach? I want my students to become lifelong learners! I do not want a former student to come up to me and say “I just loved that very specific but random thing you said about Shakespeare that one day a long time ago…” that would just be unrealistic, and a little surprising at such a fabulous memory. But rather I want to hear “hey that book you read really got me into reading that authors work..”. This week as the perfect reminder of why I want to teach and why I think reading is such a magical experience!
Technology being ever-present on my mind this quarter has left me with many ponderings and queries the likes of “how will I use technology in the classroom effectively?” , “ does it enhance or negate the lesson” and “how will I know the right time to use it in the classroom?”? And, so much more!
It’s this very concern that had me resisting the urge to go on a whiney rant sprinkled with “I miss the typewriter” and heavily layered resentment– mostly because my mom knows more about twitter then I do. While surfing the deep and dark depths of the inter-web , avoiding this blog post, I came across the YouTube video of Kid President.
His video was on how to use internet for good, not evil: kismet no? I was suddenly inspired, and laughing – because he is not only a precocious 4th grader, but filled with life and love of what he is participating in. This is something that got me thinking of encouraging my students not only to use the internet, ipads, twitter, facebook , etc. for good ( community involvement, learning enhancement , and connecting in a positive way to peers) and not selfies, or candy crush. Watching this, on the internet, made me realize I need to be looking at using technology as a tool to enhance all these things for my students. I still have much more to learn, and I am sure I will stumble along the way but whenever I feel down on the internet or technology I will just watch a Kid President episode to pick me back up.
On Tuesday I experienced my first microteaching lesson. Working in a group comprising of two other classmates we came up with a lesson based around promoting positive image for sixth graders. The collaborative process alone was a learning experience,and for me, the first time any ideas /planning for lessons were to be acted on. Truthfully I was completely focused on the content and activities we had planned that I put the thought of how I wanted to seen as a teacher in the back of my mind. Overall the lesson was successful and I received some great constructive critique on the content /delivery (it was a learning experience after all). But what really made me happy was feedback from my instructor and peers on how my demeanor towards them as “students” was and the questions I would ask them. It made me feel confident in being on this path towards education. Connection with students and forging a positive relationship with them is important to me while guiding them though the learning experience. Though I have much more to learn and experience – this felt like a great start to my journey in the classroom.