As the tagline says, I refuse to let my students be left behind in any aspect of life. I hope to use this blog to not only reflect on my practice as a preservice teacher but to also show how I attempt to help my students move beyond stereotypes and break the barriers that hold them back from achieving their dreams.
My original plan was to vlog and do a short blog entry each week, but as soon as I left school I realized I forgot my camera so this week will just be a regular ol’ written blog. (I may toss a video up later.) The idea for this is going to be to elaborate on aspects of my teaching that I need to work on as well as list some moments of pride during the week.
This was the first week back from Christmas break and, surprisingly, it went really well. My kids were ridiculous before break and I expected them to be the same after break from all the Christmas/no school for three weeks excitement, but they were much more subdued. I still dealt with all the normal behavior issues (which are many) but break also brought back a few new bad attitudes (which my mentor and I are working to help our kids overcome).
This was also the first week that I taught every class, all day, every day (except Tuesday). My mentor pointed this out and was proud of me for it (and of herself for allowing me to do it) but I still feel like I could have done more. Below are areas that I feel I need to work on after this week
- Yes, I taught every class this week, but I didn’t plan any of it. True, my mentor didn’t tell me before break to plan for this week (primarily because she didn’t know I would be teaching all this week) but obviously I need to work on planning lessons for a whole week.
- Now I know this privilege comes with time, and my mentor is ok with me making decisions on my own, but I still feel a strong need to consult with her before deciding to do something. The example for this week revolves around on the fly decisions. I wasn’t sure whether our kids should do certain work alone or in pairs and how much I should scaffold the lesson. It was different for each class (because each class has different kids, obviously), but while my kids were reading to themselves, I often went to consult with my mentor and ask how I should approach the next section.
- Although I wasn’t told to plan the week, I was told on Tuesday that we’d be starting a new book Wednesday. I read it, but I didn’t make any notes or come up with any questions or really do anything other than read it. Thankfully, when my mentor realized I didn’t have a focus for the gist, she swooped in and handed me a copy of the book in which she put post-it notes in with discussion questions.
Ok, so all that up above may sound a bit depressing, but some really awesome things also happened this week, mainly with two specific students (who, of course, shall not be named, but referred to by letter).
- K plays basketball and, because of that, keeps his grades up for the most part. They had an away game Wednesday so he had to wear a tie. He didn’t like the way it looked, so he asked me to retie it for him. This was a nice little bonding moment.
- R just recently rejoined our class this week. He had been suspended and in JD for a few months for fighting. My mentor was heartbroken to see him leave because he truely is a bright boy who has gotten caught up in some bad situations. He is scheduled for 9th grade English, but should be taking 10th grade classes. Because of this, he naturally gets frustrated moving at the pace of the rest of the class. Today (Friday), I asked if he would like to move at his own pace and do some other work so he wasn’t bored. He perked up at this offer, began calling me over to ask questions, and was really getting into completing his work. We’re quite glad he’s gotten another chance.
So there you have it. A (probably too long) entry about my first week back after Christmas break. Until next week…