The semester is over. There were many things throughout this semester that caused me to look at what I was doing with the rest of my life. Those things helped me become a better educator and person. I realize that I am not a patient enough person to teach in the urban setting. I learned I have the teacher voice and that teacher look but that the lack of knowledge about the hidden rules in the urban setting I was in took more than that voice or look. As I mentioned earlier, this was a helpful experience. I am now a student who has a whole semester's worth of hands-on experience, I have a lot of stories to go back to campus with, and I have a whole new perspective on what goes into setting up and running a classroom. I have ideas about what I would like to do in my future classroom and I know some things that would not work in this setting where they may work where I am employed. I hope that all of my peers and fellow Ball State teachers made the best of their experience as I have of mine. Thank you to all who read my journal and I hope that everyone has a successful year in 2006.
December 16, 2005
December 09, 2005
What an interesting week! Monday we had class as usual, Tuesday was normal, as was Wednesday. Thursday we had our pitch-in snacks for the teachers but no class and Friday it snowed, no class! I have been helping people get their portfolios for class up and running, so I have been in and out of the classroom all week. We are finished with Science for the semester and have one more of the rest of the classes next week!
I shadowed the Special Education teacher for the upper grades on Tuesday. I enjoyed being in the room with the students because it put me back in touch with my other major. Many of my classes in the spring are Special Education classes. The students in that class are just like the rest of the students in the building! They have to learn their alphabet, personal information and phonics. These subjects were addressed while I was in the classroom.
On Wednesday, I shadowed in the office. I do not understand how they get anything done in that place! The phone rings, and rings, and rings, and did I say the phone rings? Parents were calling in to let the school know that their child was sick and would not be there, parents were bringing in their students late and I was writing late passes out. I left the excused question unanswered because I didn't know if they were or not! Then things calmed down and I answered the door the rest of the time. Many teachers would come in asking the secretary questions or just to talk. I don't know how the secretary gets anything done all day long!
Two more days of classes left and then we get to go home for Winter Break! I can't say that I am not happy to be going home but at the same time I know I will miss the environment when I am back on campus sitting in the classroom with my peers.
November 30, 2005
After my second day of full teaching, I can't type correctly and my head hurts. I guess it goes with the craziness of a good day's work! Thing were not too bad today. We had a sit down after lunch. They would not stop talking so we sat there and one of the custodians had to say something before the students would be quiet. So we came back to the classroom and sat. No talking, no moving, no reading, they just sat. I hope I got through to them.
Tomorrow is the last day for us teaching, and then we go back to our regular schedule. There are only eight more days with the students. A couple of those days I need to observe other people in the building. Friday we have classes on campus and it's going to be a day for publishing the long and informative EDEL artifact. Aside from a lesson observation, I am finished with all my paper work I need to do. I can sit back and enjoy the rest of the semester with the company of my students!
November 29, 2005
So I had my first full day of teaching today. Yeah, I've taught before but Mrs. C was still "in control" of the room. She could pick up on a subject and go with it. Today it was all me. She didn't say much and worked on a lot of stuff she needed to get done. I had a feeling last night that things were not going to go the best. It was kind of weird. When I got here (on time for me!) this morning I ran off the rest of my papers and got the blending words ready for reading. We were doing fine until a couple boys showed up who were going crazy. I tuned the one in to what we were doing but the other one was still out there in his own world. He stayed there most of the day.
I have a habit of speaking one word at a time when I get really stressed or when I'm trying my best to not yell. It gives me a chance to regroup and calm down. The students have figured out when and what I say when I do that. I noticed today a couple of them finishing the sentence for me. I guess I've become predictable. Need to work on changing that.
They are sooooooooooooooooo close to the prize line but I couldn't bear to give them a prize after all the talking and disruption this afternoon. So maybe tomorrow they can do better. During intervention, Mrs. C told me to go and decompress. I think that was her way of saying get out of here and unwind.
The only work I have left for classes is my unit plan, which I'm almost done with, and a math observation. I have to do my EDEL reflection but I have to find Dr. M first! The semester is almost over and I am looking forward to returning to campus. I miss my roommate and the socialization of campus. It's kind of like I've not been in school this semester. I know that I will miss being in the classroom as much as I have.
November 23, 2005
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I do not think there is a single student or teacher who does not like short weeks. Fall Breaks and Thanksgiving Breaks being a couple of them.
Mrs. C was absent on Tues. and the class was off the hook. I had a student who was escorted out of the building by city officials (if you know what I mean!) for kicking the librarian! I could not believe it! I went over my science observation and my professor asked me how I was staying sane. She noticed that I have a very active class and they do not mind adults very well. I told her that it is not worth getting all fired up and yelling at the students. This only aggravates them more and does you no good. I have found that by remaining outwardly calm the students do not get the reaction from you they are expecting.
She also asked me if this was a good or bad experience. I think it was a helpful one. I know that I do not want to do urban teaching, I have the patience it takes to deal with (behavior) problem students, and I know some things that are not so good to do in tight situations. I have stuck my foot in my mouth a couple of times by saying things that can be construed by minds that are too young to be thinking that way! I know that I can find lessons easily using the internet or other materials in the school buildings. And I have also figured out that nothing goes as planned. Lessons last longer than planned and students do not always get the task at hand done as quickly as you think they should. Lessons do not stick the first time around all the time and some days you just have to stop and review!
If you are thinking about doing anything like Urban Semester, I ask you to seriously consider it! It has shown me many things and you have to put into it more than you expect to get out of it!
November 16, 2005
So I witnessed my first fight today. I really didn’t think it was going to go that far. The two boys involved had pushed each other around before and today they mixed in some punches! I’m happy that there were other teachers around to witness the whole thing. A couple of older boys stepped in and picked the one kid up off the floor. The principal was just around the corner and she was very available to escort the boys back.
The day overall was just crazy! There was sooooooooo much talking it was crazy. Mrs. C stepped out for a meeting and a sub came in. He was not impressed with our class at all. I have a few students who have resorted back to the attitude and bulling from the beginning of the year. We had a lesson on respect today that was not very impressionable on them. Nearly all of them told the class that listening and being nice were good ways of showing respect as they talked to those around them. It was a very big oxymoron. When I got the class back from lunch they sat down and read for a while. They were very quite because they had no other option. I don’t like yelling but for some reason today it worked.
I know for a fact that I will have a discipline plan set up in my classroom. I am going to try and do something next week for the week of my teaching the week after that. I need to find some things that can be measured out and hidden well. I am thinking popcorn but I don’t want the critters to get in it. Then, the next week we can have a popcorn party. I’ll talk it out with my teacher and see what she has to say……
November 11, 2005
Last night we had our Family Fun Night! I believe that there was around 260 people there. For the small looking cafeteria and gym, that's a lot of people! Things were really slow for me but I noticed that other BSU students had a lot of activity at their stations. The ideas were good and students seemed to enjoy themselves. I saw a few of my students from my class. The thing that worked the best at my table was the magnetic test. Students tested objects to see if the were attracted to the magnet. There was one little sister, who had to be 3-4 years old, that kept coming back to play with the magnets. I think she really enjoyed it!
November 09, 2005
Half Days are wonderful! Students leave and you get time to work on what needs to be done. Most of our cooperating teachers are taking an online course so we had free time.
Mrs. C could not talk very well today so I kind of took over the class! I enjoyed it because it lets the students see me as a teacher figure. I'm not the one who stands in the background giving looks. Reading went by very quickly actually. We did not get started on time and we read the whole story. I can easily pick up the basal the first day and read through it with the students because it tells you where and what questions to ask.
Family Fun Night is tomorrow.... that should be interesting! I have to put some final touches on things and everything should be ready for that. We have so many topics that are different. I hope that the families enjoy everything!
November 02, 2005
I was talking with my mom the other day after school. As I was telling her about my day and some of the things my teacher and I talked about, I realized something.
I am from a small town in Southern Indiana. The schools that I attended growing up and hope to teach at in the future are so called "4 star schools". Most of the students in our corporation are in the general education classrooms. They are on grade level and for those who are not on grade level they get help during study halls in the upper grades and pull out programs in the lower grades. These are very similar pull out programs that happen here. The thing that stands out to me from the substitute teaching I have done at home is the behavior. You still have your talkers and students who can not sit still to save their life. The big difference is the amount of fighting. The behavior here is much more aggressive and hurtful.
My mom has been picking on me about changing my major. I told her after Mrs. C was gone for two days, “If I wasn’t so stubborn, I would seriously think about changing my major!” I have no clue what I would change it to because all I have ever wanted to do is teach. She told me the other night that I was going to switch majors again and I told her the thing right now that is keeping me from it, is knowing that the behavior won’t be as aggressive at home.
I feel that I can’t do anything about the behavior of these children. You stop them from punching, kicking, or pushing each other around and tell them the right way to handle it but it doesn’t matter. They fall right back into the fighting when you turn around. I think I am going to get a lesson on anger management for this week or next week. Not that I’m sure it will help but something has got to work!
October 27, 2005
I now understand why educators value their time off so much! After a wonderful Fall Break and time off, I feel refreshed and ready to go again!
We had parent/teacher conferences yesterday and I think that things went well. A lot of the parents were happy with the report cards and most of them wanted to know ways to help their child improve the grades. We only talked with a couple of parents who had students who did not pass one subject and had low scores on the others. I wasn't sure how that was going to go but things didn't get out of hand. I was surprised that many of the parents came alone. There was a set of parents who divided up so they could be in two classrooms at the same time.
You can learn a lot about a child from his or her parents. I noticed many of the traits you see in the student are also found in the parents. A couple of them straight out told us, "Yeah, she got that from me." As always you have the proud parents and you have the parents who want to know what they can do to help at home. I think that I am going to have a list of ideas for parents who want to help at home. You have the things they are already doing and there is always something they haven't thought of that you have.