Trial by Fire

Today promised to be one of those hectic days I was warned about. I was tasked to help the guidance department, which turned out to be providing steno services for a student with tendinitis. She had an AP Calculus test and needed someone to do the writing for her. Since the other intern did all her mid-terms, it was my turn.

But first, one of the English teachers was caught in traffic so I covered her first period, teaching a new poem. I followed her directions and everyone was working diligently when she rushed in to take over.

I enjoyed working with the student even though I had no idea what she was doing or what some of the symbols meant. Remember, you’re reading the words of someone who has never done well with math. As that period ended, I was handed a note, asking to fill in for an art teacher who had to leave suddenly.

I spent the majority of the day in the art room, watching students create silk screens or do charcoal drawings and the like. It was interesting to watch the camaraderie and intensity they brought to their work. In the final period, someone was playing their iPod on the classroom player and the mix was from the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s which surprised me.

During all this, the school had one of its infrequent homerooms. The topic for this 20 minute session was Academic Dishonesty. We asked them to help define the term and its consequences then ran through ten scenarios and discussed whether each was dishonest or not. This was my chance to actually lead a classroom discussion, however brief. Of course, I didn’t know any of the student names and at first it was pulling teeth. My co-homeroom teacher arrived late, as I had been warned, and helped me but she did it with such ease. I tried to keep things going but towards the end, I wound up getting sucked into a scenario to demonstrate a consequence and was in danger of letting it spiral out of control but was literally saved by the bell.

While I am comfortable in the classroom and dealing with the kids, I see I why teachers do as much prep work as they do.

During the final period, one of the students was complaining that it was an utter waste of time since the topic, to her, was one of common sense. If only it were so simple.

One comment

  • Laurie Rozakis

    Do you know TurnItIn.com? It’s “the” plagiarism program and a great way to solve the issue. Nearly all of my students who plagiarize do so inadvertently, as they think that giving credit is sufficient. Thus, they copy pasages nearly verbatim and add a citation and think they’re in the clear.

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