One Month In

Three weeks in, grad school has been tough to get a handle on, largely because of its newness but also because the snow has wreaked havoc with the schedule so we have missed classes. If the weather holds, week four should be the first time I have all four classes as planned.

There is a ton of reading, which is to be expected, but so far, a lot of it is theoretical and not at all germane to day-to-day teaching. My textbook for the Exceptional Student class seems the most practical which is fine with me since I will no doubt have special ed students in most of my classes once I get hired somewhere.

The practical hands-on skills we’re learning in the New Technologies class are useful but some of the theory we’re being taught runs counter to my personal experiences as well as the opinion of some teachers. Still, the online nature of the class is interesting and I love being able to take at least one class from the basement.

There are group projects and papers and tests to come, but right now I am focused on getting a handle on the theory and adjusting to the rhythm of the week.

Thankfully, when I am not actively working at the high school, I am allowed to do some of my grad work. This is an invaluable safety valve but I’d rather be more active in the classroom. For the most part, my internship is largely acting as the permanent sub. I’m certainly practicing my classroom management skills but yearn to do more. On Friday, for example, I delighted in working one on one with two drama students struggling to find a topic for their monologue.

Today, after several periods of showing episodes of Dirty Jobs, I got to work with 9th graders as they struggled to paraphrase sections of The Odyssey. I was struck by some of the vocabulary that threw them but also how few of them found the story of gods and war at all engaging. The poetic language for them was the problem and created a resistance to embracing any aspect of the tale.

The faculty couldn’t be nicer to me and it’s great lunching with the English teachers, listening to them share notes about how to teach courses and soliciting opinions for books or stories to use to supplement a lesson. There’s been also the wake-up call that office politics exists in the school and that’s cast a pall for some but that too shall pass.

So, how am I doing a month in? Not bad at all.

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