Teacher’s Log: Internship’s End
My final week as an intern and fill-in teacher more or less went as scheduled and I have to say the time seemed to zip right by.
The World Lit kids had spent last week examining differing retellings of the Cinderella story so Monday we drilled down to the lessons one can learn from Hansel & Gretel. We watched the related Bugs Bunny cartoon and then got into the psychological underpinnings to a story of child abandonment, cannibalism, and the cruel duality of women. Tuesday we spent the day in the computer lab so they had time to complete their group presentations. My second World Lit class was slower on the uptake that there was a group project at all, so we spent a second day in the lab to give them a chance.
Meantime, the first class began presenting on Wednesday, finishing Thursday. They were encouraged to be as creative as possible, but clearly they went on autopilot so I got plain vanilla PowerPoint presentations. Some took it more seriously than others but my successor and I were equally disappointed in the lack of effort.
Yesterday, the second period kids did their work and it was more of the same. One had a great story to tell another had the most visually interesting presentation but it was still more PowerPoint. Now there’s a place for the program, and I admit to using it as well, but when 30% of the grade is given to the creativity of the presentation, they took the easy way out and the grades will reflect that.
My English 10 kids took a vocabulary quiz and were given a review on how to annotate a short story before we delved into Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Ones who Walked Away from Omelas”. We worked together annotating the first page before I let them pair off and work through the remainder. Then we spent Thursday in the computer lab, as they arrived to see which of the CAPT prompts I selected for them to work from.
I stayed until 4 yesterday and was back in at 6:30 this morning to grade all three periods’ worth of papers in the hopes of getting them back today. One, to demonstrate their work had value and was worth some effort on my part. It was also another measure of the progress this quarter and I wanted them to have some constructive feedback before taking the break. As you can imagine, nearly five dozen 1-2 page essays on the same topic can grow tedious but the quality of the writing and points raised was varied enough to keep things interesting. My successor checked over my grading and agreed with it, so I proceeded apace.
Today was a half-day and the English kids should have met in book clubs but did minimal work and lots of chitchatting, while eating cookies. The seniors were at an extended assembly so I missed them all.
And as the bell rang at 12:18, my internship drew to a close. As a year-long experience, it was pretty amazing. I learned so much and the emergency assignment came at a time I felt ready to take the next step. I continued to learn, including the fact that I can get so attached, so quickly. In fact, as my successor spent time in the class, I was feeling like the sub again. And today, it was more than a little sad to bid farewell well to my first flock of students.
I truly believe they are better educated now than when I inherited them, abating their fears and anxieties, getting them back to thinking and working.
But as this ended, I was also finally given news of my student teaching, Come the third quarter, I will be working with two World Lit Seminars with seniors and two different English 10 classes. While I will have the one coordinating teacher, the 10th graders will be with a different teacher and we’re all very happy to be working together.
I’ll appreciate my extended break and then soon will build the anticipation for getting back into the classroom.