Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's been far too long, my friends!

Well, here it is March already! I haven't updated you on my life in so long, you've probably thought that I'd all but forgotten about you! I promise, I haven't.

Student teaching is more than I could've hoped for. The kids are amazing, my teacher is amazing, my school is amazing, it's pretty much...AMAZING! :)

I wanted to give you some examples of things that I deal with on an everyday basis, so you could see what it's like to lead the class...

1. Vocab Day
We go over the vocabulary words on Monday, and then the students have the rest of the hour to fill in their worksheet, finding synonyms and antonyms, and fill in the blank. The next day, Tuesday, we correct the worksheet as a class, and then on Friday, we have a quiz. So last Friday, I gave the quiz, and at the end of the hour, we corrected it as a class.
Me: "Dominate. D-o-m-i-n-a-t-e. Okay, any questions on the quiz? Yes, E?"
E: "Um, Mrs. Walker [yes, they ALL call me MRS. Walker, funny!], if dominate means to have control over someone, then......what's a dominatrix?"
Me: "Tohavecontrolofsomeone. NEXT!?"

You can believe, I'll never think of that word the same!

2. Bathroom
Before class one day, little M comes up to my cooperating teachers desk, where we are conferencing about a student. He says to us, "Um, is it okay if I'm a little late to class? I need to go to the bathroom, and I have to go number two!"

TMI, M....TMI!

3. Memoirs
I had no idea that this unit would be so...emotional. As we prepared for writing our own memoirs, I had students fill out a worksheet where they labeled the different "tribes" they belonged to (i.e. the tribe of females, of chips-and-salsa lovers, etc), and then write down a specific memory they had for each tribe.

A raised her hand so I went over to her.
Me: "What's up? You stuck on something?"
A: "Well, I want to write about this memory, but I'm not sure how to begin," She trails off while pointing to the memory. It says, "On January 12 I found out my mom has breast cancer."
Me: "Wow...A...I think that would be a fabulous start, just exactly how you wrote it." At this point, I notice that there are big tears welling up in her eyes, so I ask her if she wants to go out in the hall, which she does. It turns out that just a week before her mom told her that she had breast cancer, and except for a few friends, none of her teachers had a clue. I hugged her and began crossing my fingers that my cooperating teacher and supervisor from EMU (I was getting observed that day) would stick their head out the door to see what was going on. But they never did. I talked to A for a little bit about it, she told me it was stage one, and that her mom would start treatment the next week. I suggested that she talk to the school social worker or counselor, because they would have all sorts of information for her, possibly even other students who have gone through this that she could talk to. We went back inside, and I went over to my CT to see if I handled it appropriately. They were so engrossed in conversation that they never even realized we had left the class!

I just finished reading two memoirs today that made my tear up...E wrote about how her father died at the beginning of the year, and J wrote about how his mother died of cancer when he was just nine. I also have another student, A, whose mother died of cancer, and J, whose mother battled (and won!) breast cancer.

4. Meeeeooooowww!
One of my most difficult students is J. He is slightly autistic, definitely ADHD, and a HUGE handful! Lately, he's been acting out more, annoying the students he sits by. He shreds paper, doesn't work, refuses to sit in his assigned seat, swears at the other kids...and has recently began to call out, "Meeeooow! Meeooow!" a cat. It's odd to say the least...well, for a regular ed teacher, it's odd. In his special ed classes, it's probably very normal!

I've written him up twice, and my CT has written him at least twice. The thing is, he absolutely knows exactly what is right and what is wrong! He's so defiant, it's almost impossible to gain control in the class when he decides to act up.

One day, we spoke to one of the special ed teachers, and she told us that she's getting her masters, and had her professor come in one day to talk to J. J told her professor that the story that he's writing his memoir on (although I'm sure he gave the professor more details than he's giving us): J and his parents moved in with his grandmother, and then the house burned down. The grandma died shortly after, and a few later, the dog fell down the stairs and had to be put down. Since then, his father tells J every single day, that it's HIS fault the dog died. How awful. It just breaks my heart.

Like I said, lately he's been acting out more, but with a home life like that, can you really blame him?

It's terribly sad to consider all of the baggage that students bring with them everyday in their little invisible suitcases...and the worst part is, we only know as much as they're willing to share. So who knows what else is going on in their lives?

5. Activity Night
Let's end this on a high note, shall we? Activity Night was a BLAST! But before I knew it would be a blast, I was terrified! I was so afraid that there would be lots of dirty dancing and I had no idea how to handle it! Luckily, another student teacher, B, was assigned to the same duties that I was assigned to, so we stuck together! The dance was fun...the kids all jumped up and down in beat to the music (thank goodness for a DJ that only played clean songs!). We saw one couple dancing, and midway through the song she hugged him and ran away!

There was an open gym for basketball, video games (Wii, Guitar Hero, etc), and the second gym was full of inflatables! There were contests and drawings and amazing prizes, like a $25 iTunes gift card!

The next Activity Night is my last day of student teaching, but you can bet I'll be there!

Whew! Those are the big moments so far, well, some of them! There are plenty more, but you would just have to give up on my blog and buy the book if I included them all! :)