Thursday, January 13, 2011

Overcoming the Challenges of Challenging Students

As I near the end of week two, I am able to do so with many lessons learned. We started off the week with two snow days, the first of which teachers did not have to report. Teachers only reported on the second day. I will admit, I was a bit jealous of all my student teacher friends who got to enjoy another day off, however, the time I spent with just the teachers was beyond beneficial. Schedules were made, students discussed, assignments planned, and networking! Tons and tons of networking! I left the building more confident and secure than I had ever before.

As I mentioned, we had the opportunity to discuss the students while they were home on their snow day. This provided me with a greater understanding of the various needs, difficulties, and practices that each student has. Two of the main students discussed among the 8th grade teachers were two that I had in both of my classes. One struggles with defiant behaviors, lack of motivation, and an "I hate teachers, school, and the world" mentality.  The problems we have been having with the other student include, lying, cheating, refusal to work or participate, and off task behavior. Unfortunately, all of the 8th grade teachers are at their wits end and a complete stand still with both students. After much discussion, and many concerns for their education, and well-being we called together a meeting with all 8th grade staff and the Principal. This was an amazing experience for me. We met in a very relaxed environment and openly discussed the concerns everyone had for both students as well as the "how and "what" to do's about them. After much discussion, we were able to come up with a plan for both, and will begin implementing them next week. Stay tuned to find out how it works!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week one and a total success!

Week one is over, and I am happy to say it was a great success! My cooperating teachers are both wonderful. I am amazed by the similarities and likenesses between myself and my morning teacher especially. I am really looking forward to discovering more similarities and seeing how we work together.

The students have also been very welcoming. They are incredibly polite and well-behaved. All of my classes are combined with general education students and many special needs/low-level learning students. I'm beginning to realize how important and useful all my experiences with special needs children and adults is going to help me in my long-term career.

The biggest adjustment so far has been the hours! I never would have thought that I could be so exhausted after a single day. I know I will adjust eventually. Hopefully sooner than later!

On that note, I am going to sign off and enjoy the remainder of my first Friday as a student teacher!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Beginning of a New Chapter

It's hard to believe that after four and a half semesters I am finally embarking on my final one. Student teaching has always been the very distant final chapter to a seemingly never-ending book. Tomorrow, January 5th will mark the fist day of my student teaching. I could not be more excited or more anxious for it to begin.

The nerves I can’t seem to kick are over shadowing much of my excitement, at the moment. The realization that I will now be teaching a classroom of students for more than a class or two is overwhelming! Not to mention the realization that their learning and success is now all in my hands. Yet my biggest fear of all is the thought of entering the classroom and discovering that this is not the right path for me. I can’t imagine discovering that all my effort and hard work has been put into something I may not want to pursue. Fortunately, I highly doubt that this will happen, however, the fear of the idea still lingers.

I am most looking forward to getting to know these students. Up until now, our teaching experiences have been very short and sweet. Rarely have we had the opportunity to really get to know the students or the teachers we’ve worked with. It is wonderful knowing that I will have over four months to get to know these students and all of the teachers and faculty at the school. Building relationships is something I pride myself on, and I have anxiously awaited the chance to do so in a school setting. I also am excited to learn. While university has taught me a great deal, there is no experience quite so educating as first-hand experience. I learn by doing, and this could not be a better opportunity for learning and growth.

I look forward to seeing how I grow and develop as a future educator in the next four months. In fact, I hope this blog will be a way of identifying such growth. I’m not completely certain of what lies ahead but I am ready to hit the ground running to find out!