Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday, 5/9/13

Dear Journal,

It's over. Last class finished.

It seems like my last journal entry should contain some profound reflective thoughts, summarizing ways I have grown and things I have learned. But instead, I really have nothing to say but this:

I've learned.
I've grown.
I'll never be the same again.

Humorously, I was late to class to day. I have not been late to a single class during my entire placement.  (A nearly unbelievable thing as those who know me well can testify!) I have been on time. Not always prepped and prepared like I wanted to be. But I've been in the room when I was supposed to be.

Today I was working on writing an essay and really got into it. I finished and punched the save button with a satisfied air of accomplishment. I was about to pull up my email and send it off to Mrs. Walden when I glanced at the clock.


I was to have been in class at 4:35.


Anyways, I had my students fill out a "Grade Your Student Teacher" form for my portfolio and the results were insightful. The Seniors think I should give less homework, be more prepared for class, and have more constructive activities. The Freshmen think I'm fun, that I care about them, I make things clear, they can tell I like kids and that I always have constructive activities.

Confirmation once again that I fit better in the lower grades than the upper.

My die-hard Quadrant 2 said that I don't act like a teacher is supposed to, but commented three times that the lessons were very practical and clear.

Firecracker thinks I should work on being more awesome like him...

In some ways I wish I could leave here feeling like my time here has made some sort of a difference. Maybe I compare teaching too much with canvassing where the life-changing impact on students is so concentrated that it's easy to see growth and change. Perhaps I shouldn't wish for results I can see, but thank God for the results that are promised.

All in all, at the end of the day I am grateful.

Grateful for what I know, for what I now know that I don't know, and for knowing better where to go when I want to know.

Its been real.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday, 5/7/13

Dear Journal,

My freshman are working on their final project in computers-- a PowerPoint. My classes look like a lot of sitting, watching, coaching, and-- horrors-- nagging. I never wanted to be a naggy teacher, but I am continually amazed to see these kids, with mountains of stuff left to do and the deadline looming, just goofing off like life is a big party!! So I've reminded them of the deadline, and tried in every way I can think of to get them on task.

Well today I was sick of it. So I resorted to other tactics.

I printed off the grading rubric again and handed it out to them at the beginning of class. Spent a few minutes talking about the final and how it was going to work (Their peers will be judging their PowerPoints...far scarier than having me judge them!)

Their little eyes got so big, and they turned to their computers and got to work.

And I sat back and wrote a research paper.

I also asked Ms. Wanda to remind me of her handy questions for helping students get back on track:

1.     Do you know what you’re supposed to be doing?
2.     What is it that’s keeping you from doing it?
3.     How soon can you get started?
So I'm heading into the next class period armed!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear Journal,

Definitely on the home stretch now. Today was my last class day in Senior Speech. We kinda went out with a bang by putting on a mock trial.

I set up the auditorium as a courtroom and asked Honorable Judge Wanda Sarr to preside. My seniors showed up dressed to the part in suit and tie, and armed with clipboards.

It was a lot of fun, though as I sat in the bailiff's chair watching the hearing unfold, I could tell I hadn't prepared them well enough. I could have made things clearer, given more specific instructions, provided more direction and assistance. But you know? It's ok.

I'm realizing that teaching isn't so much about instinctively knowing up front exactly what is going to work well and what isn't. It's about trying lots of things, throwing out what doesn't work, keeping what does, and refining things that need improvement. I would definitely do a mock trial again with a class (maybe Bible class next year? create some sort of trial requiring a defense of the Sabbath or something??) I know now what ways that I can help students prepare better and I'm impressed at what a learning experience this was for my students even without adequate preparation.