Halfway There

Last Friday marked by 31st day as a Student Teacher, putting me just over the halfway mark. Weird.

This was an odd week thanks to the state-mandated CAPT testing for 10th graders. The abbreviated schedule varied by day and it took me a while to get a hang of things as I somehow managed to confuse myself now and then with which class was given when. As it turned out, I had all four classes but only three times each this week for shorter, 42 minute sessions. It meant a lot of revising of my planning but then again, I am told by even the most veteran of teachers that this is a common occurrence.

The first four mornings of the week left me alone until well past 10:00 a.m. but I was still at my desk at 7, meaning I had plenty of time to read, reread, take notes, grade papers and the like.

In World Lit, the classes continued reading The Kite Runner although the fluidity of conversation has yet to really materialize. My period 4 kids have more flashes of life than the other class and I continue to try and find strategies to spark something, anything. One class did do better than the other with a pop quiz but both struggled when I tried to get them to relate their experiences with those of the narrator in the novel.

The two English 10 classes worked their way through Act I of Macbeth and gamely read their parts but few really got the content of the dialogue until we paused and reviewed. It was also clear the night they had to read a scene for homework and come in with paraphrases, they were stuck so I scrapped some of my plans and had them work in pairs paraphrasing the soliloquy that opens scene vii. As they read some of the words and discuss some of the motivations, I am reminded they are still maturing young adults, so are not necessarily comfortable with what’s being discussed.

While period 7 has dubbed me “coach”, for whatever reason, period 8 on Wednesday started with them insisting I needed a nickname and somehow came up with “doc”. We’ll see if it sticks. At least they feel comfortable enough with me to even bother dubbing me anything.

My cooperating teachers ganged up and came to observe me on Friday, which was interesting to the say the least. We were completing talking about Act I and reviewing for a quiz and I had a lot I wanted to accomplish so felt I rushed here and there. It was also more than a little nerve-wracking to have teacher flanking me in the back corners, scribbling away. The kids, though, were great. They were talkative, prepared, and had fabulous things to say. Their regular teacher was floored by their comments and demeanor, thrilled to see them take to the material and I got some of that credit.

Their feedback was incredibly constructive and shows just how much more I have to learn. Part of that is to stop and really focus on what they’re saying; praising the great comments and asking them follow up questions. We also discussed my end goals for Macbeth and that got into a higher level conversation that totally upended my weekend writing plans as I studied and revised the remainder of my unit.

What an amazing process this has been to date.

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