Reflections of a New Teacher

These are my reflections beginning from my first few days as a student teacher and on...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No More Bullies

No More Bullies, No More Victims. I thought, going in, that this little workshop they had for the teachers after school would be something I'd just have to sit through before I could leave early for my student teaching co-seminar. When the time came, I didn't want to leave.

(I need to finish talking about this seminar)

On another note, I had the kids completely to myself in the classroom for about an hour today while my cooperating teacher did literacy tests. It was my choice entirely... I knew I could handle it, it wasn't anything too difficult. It's silly, but I was still pretty proud of myself, being that we haven't even been in school a week yet and we aren't supposed to do much but observe until the third week. I did a read aloud with "Arthur Writes a Story" to continue with our Marc Brown author study, then we had a discussion about the settings in the story. It was the second step in a series of discussions (reviews from 1st grade) of elements of a story... yesterday we talked about characters. I introduced their worksheet, did an example... and though it wasn't very complicated I was happy to see that I explained it well enough that there weren't any confused students... hurray! After they were done I helped them finish their all-about-me-t-shirts, make bookmarks, then instructed them to silent read.

I thought I had been doing a fairly OK job with classroom management (for you non-teachers this is actually the hard part)... until my cooperating teacher walked in and made them all quiet down. I'm still learning what noise levels are acceptable for an open-classroom school (with only partial walls)... and I'd also equate it to something like the ageless example of the frog in the pot of water that eventually boils. Students slowly transitioned from an activity in which a soft buzz was acceptable to an activity (silent reading) that needed to be a bit more quiet... also I guess I just didn't notice how loud it had gotten. I mean, it wasn't very loud by normal standards... but for an open classroom with some students reading it was too loud. I'm hoping that I don't mess that up too much more because the students are definitely testing their limits with us right now, they definitely see me as a secondary figure, and I'll definitely have to work hard to keep them from walking all over me. It's all about setting standards and being consistent, I know.

Teacher's Lounge Culture: There is a big to-do about whether or not lounge duty should be required since it's not in contract. On the one hand it is a community area and if nobody were to wash the dishes they use, etc. it would be a mess (though one would hope everyone would just clean up after themselves)... on the other hand not all teachers use it so they shouldn't have to help, but then again it's hard to monitor who uses it and who doesn't. Aaaaah, and so we see the forever challenges of government at even the simplest level.

Blunders of the Day: Be more assertive when asking a student to hold the door on the way to recess so I can be sure to monitor the students that are already out there, don't let the students get so loud while some are silent reading, when drawing an example self portrait don't make it "so good" that a few of the perfectionists try to do it that way and spend the entire time erasing and asking for help, and don't help to the extent that I did when they ask.


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