40 Days Down, 20 to Go
Here we are two-thirds of the way through my student teaching assignment and I feel like I’ve hit a nice routine. I am only periodically overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done and am staying nicely ahead on the planning.
I suspect some of the good mood is because I spent all week in the computer lab with my seniors. We decided to give them the week to work on their major third quarter papers and as expected, most wasted at least a period on things other than the assignment. Thanks to the synch function, I could monitor their activities and nudge them back on track. On Friday, I expected to see rough drafts so I could help them hone the language and given them the weekend to really polish it up before turning it in on Wednesday. In theory, I should have been looking at up to two dozen papers today but instead read more like six. Many were still writing so I could at least see progress but others were still revising the outline or revisiting their thesis statements. I begin to wonder if this was really the best use of classroom time.
Meantime, the tenth graders were racing through Macbeth. Given the schedule, we had to work our way through Act III-V this week, with two Act quizzes. As a result, I chose to show them Act V rather than have them attempt to read/act and comprehend the rapid-fire final portion of the play. Thankfully, I had access to the Patrick Stewart version which went over quite well. We also spent time talking about the James Thurber story from the previous weekend, and review the larger themes and motifs that enrich the play. Friday we discussed the play and someone noted that had it been written in the modern vernacular, she would have preferred the story. I pointed out all the great quotations that came from this one script and how the language is as important as the characterization and plot.
I was observed by the department coordinator on Wednesday and we spent quite a bit of time reviewing and discussing the lesson and the unit. He, like my cooperating teachers, appreciates my easy rapport with the students and mutual respect. I liked he noted my thorough preparation and knowledge of the material.
Unfortunately, I also dealt with the unhappy part of the job as I had to report a student for violating the academic integrity policy since he copied another student’s answers on a quiz. I had to speak with both students and fortunately, the violator owned up to the incident and I am now experiencing the academic administration machinery at work.
Similarly, during the department meeting this week, I was partnered with another teacher as we graded practice CAPT tests recently taken by the ninth graders. There were just over three dozen four-page written responses to a fairly wretched piece of writing, which made for mind-numbing work. Thankfully, there were enough truly interesting comments and god awful ones to keep it from being totally homogenous.
Overall, I think I’m getting the hang of this thing.