The Last Full Week of Teaching

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My last full week as a student teacher has certainly been a mixed assortment of activities. The seniors have been diligently reading their books in World Lit Seminar and every 50 pages or so are obligated to write a journal essay. Every day this week I have been taking a handful of kids to the Learning Connections room or the library to work at a terminal and I would be charged with watching over them, but also getting a chance to do some more reading.With three weeks to go before their rough drafts are due, the kids are grumbling about the amount of formal journal writing and reading required, wondering if they will ever make it. Of course, last year’s seniors probably said the same thing and somehow it all manages to get done.During the week break, the 10th graders were to complete reading their dystopian fiction and share their thoughts with one another on Goodreads. Some were terrific, others hadn’t even registered. In some ways, by getting them to post regularly, it got them thinking about the book more than if we just met a few times to discuss it. Overall, it was a mixed bag but I think for the most part it was a useful tool and one I would try again.Meantime, the week opened with them meeting as groups and having a final formal discussion about their books. On Tuesday, as part of the process, I taught them about how to outline a compare/contrast essay. Partly, this was a tool they could use for the remainder of the unit and partly it allowed me to teach a writing lesson per my advisor’s request.Tuesday meant once more my period 7 kids shared the classroom with three observers while I worked. I would say the lesson went pretty well, above average, and there was a lot I thought worked.On Wednesday and Thursday the kids researched the real world to find connections to the issues raised in their dystopian novels to prepare a creative presentation for next week. It was interesting watching even some of the best and brightest struggle while others looked totally lost, unable to articulate the issues let alone research them.  The librarian and I made the rounds, giving them guidance, pushing in some places, hand holding in others. In many ways, this was revelatory since I was seeing the students in a very different light.Another complication was that many forgot what the assignment was asking for so I had to restate it or have them reread the handout.Friday we reframed the assignment to ensure comprehension of what was expected of them before putting them back to research work and they seemed to  grasp it.I also got my formal evaluation from Tuesday’s class and agreed with some of the points, violently disagreeing with others and it took a while to cool off.Three days to go and I have no clue if he will pass me or not. An odd feeling.


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