Student Teaching Week One

My first four days of student teaching were pretty much what I expected. It felt a lot like my internship, watching from the sidelines, although I got to participate here and there. But as I also expected, my two teachers are different enough that I can compare and contrast, and learn.

We began World Literature Seminar and I know a number of the students in each class, finally meeting some I merely recognize from the halls. We’re slowly building a foundation for the semester-long course, starting with the notion of what it means to be a foreigner. We all wrote a two-page piece on a time in our lives when we felt like the foreigner and then shared them in class. That proved fascinating (and I wrote about the first time I visited a trade show in Deb’s field, feeling like a warped version of the cons I’ve attended for decades). We are now working with a poem about an outsider’s view of entering Mexico and we’ll continue along these lines until next week when I begin teaching, leading them through the novel Imagining Argentina.

In fact, when I wasn’t in class, I was pillaging the department’s files to see how others taught the book; I was drafting my own unit plan.

Meanwhile, the two English classes began a unit on poetry, beginning with “B” by Sarah Kay, an up and coming poet. The kids were also asked to pick poems they wanted to work with for the forthcoming school-wide Poetry Out Loud competition. I got to select which poem each student was to use, which was fun.  After using “B” to learn to how dissect, analyze and understand a poem, we spent Friday beginning to work on their individual choices. Complicating things was that my teacher was out so I worked with a substitute, which was odd. What was satisfying, though, was working with one student who was absolutely stumped about her poem’s meaning. I read it and began decoding it with her and we came up with an answer and she asked, “How’d you do that?” So I walked her through it again.

I may be getting the hang of this teaching thing.

This week will be more observation while building my first two unit plans and submitting them for review. So far, so good.

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