The Student Teacher Begins Teaching

It was a rush.

I finalized my Unit Plan on Imagining Argentina earlier in the week and began rereading the book, taking notes for the day-by-day discussion. My cooperating teacher scheduled a review of the plan for Thursday after school so there was plenty of time. But as the week wore on, she realized she was going to be more or less done with her foundation work by Thursday. As we reviewed the schedule, taking us through the end of the third quarter, it actually made more sense to begin the book on Friday so we’d be done by the winter break.

On Thursday, the plan needed only one minor tweak, which built off of a class exercise we had just done and she promised the students we’d be doing again. That was easy so I adjusted my plan then prepared a unit schedule to hand out to each class, copied everything they needed and could just wait.

Now, I had five classes all to myself in December, with nowhere near this amount of prep time, but Friday I found myself with butterflies. I was genuinely nervous, partly because this was real; it counted towards my certification and was not an emergency Band-Aid. At long last, I was actually going to have my teaching observed and critiqued.

Period 3 wound up having a fascinating, eye-opening conversation about language heard in school, showing conscious and unconscious forms of negative language being used. As a result, there was suddenly less than 15 minutes for me to hand out the books and schedule plus take them through a brief history of the country to set the stage for what they were going to read. That zipped right by.

For the next period, even though we were having an equally interest conversation, we were more conscious of the time and I did get through the full presentation. However, a student asked a question I thought I was prepared for and sort of fumphered my way through the answer. Afterwards, it was suggested I admit to not having the full answer and would get back to him the next class.

And with that, my six weeks running World Literature Seminar was underway. Meantime, I helped my 10th Grade teacher by playing accuracy judge for all four of her English 10 classes during the in-class Poetry Out Loud competition. That certainly filled my day and helped me get over the surprising anxiety. I still need to complete outlining my Macbeth unit plan for her, but at least have a little more time for that.

Now we’ll have to see how the students react to my solo performance with my first formal observation set for week’s end.

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