Student Teaching, week 1

So, last week, I spent pretty much every day in the classroom for at least a few hours getting ready for the First Day of School, 27 August.

Quick and dirty:
Monday the 20th, I helped the Teaching Assistant and another student teacher* paint these lovely crayons on our closets!
Crayons from an angleCrayons from the front
There was also a staff meeting, in which we discussed money (or lack thereof), students (and their overabundance), and teachers (or lack thereof).

Tuesday: More meetings. They sure do love staff development at my school. Last year, they started a new system referred to as a Professional Learning Community or PLC. Essentially, it increases collaboration between teachers and grade levels, and focuses more on learning than teaching – instead of dissecting what you’re doing, you dissect what the student is doing. I also painted this wall:
Yellow Wall

Wednesday: all day staff development. All. Day. Staff. Development. It was useful, but looooooong. At the end, I felt like I was about to die… but I really love the staff at my school, so it was bearable. Better than some of the Teaching Fellows meetings I’ve had to sit through (sorry, Gladys).

Thursday: Meet & Greet. About 20 of our 27 students came in with their families to meet us, fill out paperwork, and ask questions. Apparently we had a really high turnout, and I was able to use some of my Spanish (which needs MAJOR work, but was very useful). We have 8 Spanish speaking students in my class. I haven’t looked through all their files to see how proficient they are in English, but the few I looked through showed pretty high writing and vocab, but low reading levels. All in all, an excited group of people.

Friday: A sad attempt to plan for the first week of school. There was so much distracting stuff going on, my teacher and I didn’t get much done. She’s doing all of the planning, of course, as I’m only going to be there once a week until January, but she didn’t even have Monday finished when I left at 4. Hell, we didn’t even have an updated class list! I’m sure it’ll all come together, though – it always does.

Amongst all this craziness, I’m taking my methods courses. From now through December, I’ll be going in once a week on Wednesdays. I won’t go full time until the spring semester, but I am supposed to teach at least three lessons this semester. The other days of the week, I’ll be taking my five other classes, and pulling out my hair. It’s going to be busy, busy, busy – but I’m already loving it. So far, everything I’ve done has been useful and felt productive… instead of last year when I felt like I was doing busywork that had no purpose.

My plan for tonight and tomorrow (besides do reading for my methods courses), is to put together some short lesson plans that I can teach anytime this semester. I also need to review the teacher’s guide to Handwriting Without Tears, which is the handwriting program my school adopted last year.

I can’t believe the first day is Monday. There’s still so much to do!

* For a while, there were two of us – she goes to another college, and was to be full-time student teaching this semester. This proved to be a bit much for all of us, so she was placed with another teacher (in the same school). She did help us out pretty much all week, though – and was awesome.

3 thoughts on “Student Teaching, week 1

  1. Jen says:

    All day staff development–get used to it! Teacher workdays are rarely your own–they have to be state mandated as such for you not to have at least one meeting. PLCs are in their third year at the high school level. I really like the theory of it, and I like how our school has allowed us to have a lot of control in how we organize it, but like any other initiative, it’s created a lot of resentment from people who haven’t taken the time to understand the organizational framework or who think it’s going away just like every other new plan the district’s thrown at us before. However, I don’t think that will happen with PLCs because they make a lot of sense–collaboration, focus on the skills the students require rather than the content of how you teach the skills, focus on the students and what/whether/how they are learning, focus on ways to help students who are struggling. The only drawback to PLCs is similar to the drawback of every major plan to “fix” education: there’s no money connected to it. If we are going to put the pyramid of interventions into place to keep kids from struggling, we need more money, and the district has none right now. They did, however, find time to create three music videos from which we teachers were supposed to vote for our favorite to be the theme song of our year. I always wonder what it is that people do at the district headquarters all day long; apparently, they listen to a lot of music to find a song that’s “inspirational.” Oh, Nickelback’s song about how if everyone cared, no one would die won…what a dumb song. It makes no sense–even if there were no killings from violence and hatred, people would, in fact, still die. Anyway, your week sounds about like mine; I had planned to try to plan out the whole first two weeks for my students by Friday afternoon and I hadn’t even had time to start. I went in yesterday to make up my sophomores’ first weekly syllabus, but I still have to decide about the other two classes I’m teaching and make theirs. And I still have to make copies. Gotta love being prepared.

  2. Miss Fox says:

    I’m excited about the PLC framework – the only people at my school that are apprehensive to the program are those who are afraid that the district will abandon it, or that they won’t fund it. Which, sadly, are both very likely outcomes – but I really like the idea, and I’m excited to see it in the development stage so I’m familiar with it.

    I HATE that stupid song. They should have let the kids vote… adults rarely pay attention to what is being said in a song, they tend to judge it by it’s “sound” and whatever category they lump that-sounding song into. (Says an adult… to an adult. But you know what I mean.) It’s so whiny and Utopian… and Nickelback, well… they suck. I guess the upside is that the teacher’s apparent approval of the song will make all the kids hate it, and perhaps it will get less radio play. What were the other choices?

  3. jes says:

    i expect lots of advice, ideas, help, etc. with 1st grade this year.
    while you go 1 day a week to teach 27 kids, i go 7 to teach 1,
    well, i dont really “go” anywhere. but you know.

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