Reflections of a New Teacher

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

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rock Stars

Friday, September 1, 2006

It's days like today that help me to remember why it is that teaching will be a rewarding career. It may seem silly, but it's always the little things that count.

Friday is our Bus Duty day. Our bus duty has nothing to do with the bus. Go figure. It's kind of like crossing guard, but not really... it's more like "make sure kids don't get hit by parents coming out of the parking lot" duty. It's actually kind of nice to get to stand out there and just take it all in... to see how each of "my" students gets to school, when they do... but be it by scooter, bus, car, bike or foot, they each arrive with a smile.

But I'll tell you what made me smile most, the tiniest little thing: the father of one of our students shouted, "My daughter loves you guys!" and waved through his car window as he pulled out of the lot. Like I said, it's small and rather silly (I'm sure it was mostly aimed at my cooperating teacher anyway) but it's just things like that that really make you feel appreciated. We both blushed a little, smiled and waved... kind of brushed it aside... but I can't say that it didn't make my day. Little does anyone know that teachers are actually rock stars. Or at least, that's when I feel like when you can't walk through the playground without kids shouting your name and wanting to say hi or talk to you :o)

I love the community around this school. Gossip aside, I haven't met anybody that hasn't been very welcoming... I already feel like I'm "part of the family"... and I realize that you don't find this everywhere, and it's not usually this easy. For that I'm thankful.

It was my cooperating teacher's birthday today, and some of the parents had tried earlier in the week to coordinate with me to have a little celebration for her (which she said she didn't want) during Friday Free Time at the end of the day. Well... when I found out a few days before hand that she was going to take the afternoon off for her birthday, we had to switch it to a morning celebration. Hurray for a lax Friday morning full of cards, presents, sharing, doughnuts, muffins, juice and fun! The only bummer is that we really didn't get a whole lot done ;o) My cooperating teacher *might* have anticipated that though (or she just asked me if they were doing anything and you know that I can't tell a lie when asked directly so I might have told her) so there wasn't much planned for the morning anyway.

Since my cooperating teacher was gone for the afternoon, we had a substitute. She was the nicest, sweetest lady ever. It seems to be the trend that retired classroom teachers come back to substitute... though I don't blame them, it's still some cash but they can also still be around kids without the day to day commitment. When they walk out of the door, they can leave it all "at the office". They also can take more vacations and pretty much work when they want to... so that part is nice for them. They aren't as desperate for the money to pay the bills.

Since I'm more familiar with the classroom and the students, I pretty much ran everything while the substitute played the role of the "helper". Now, before you give me too much credit here, realize that it was a fairly easy afternoon: I did the read aloud, sent the kids to music and p.e., helped them brainstorm C word and D words for their ABC books, monitored their progress, monitored them during their Friday afternoon movie (in place of Friday Free Time, from now on referred to as FFT), handed out their Friday Folders, read them another story, then sent them on their way home (followed by bus duty again). Really an easy day. Nonetheless, the teacher next door told me that she overheard me and said I sounded like I was "born to do it". I think she's exaggerating, but very nice of her all the same ;o) (Okay, fine, it secretly made me happy but don't tell anyone because I'm trying to be modest...)

After school I got to have a nice chat with the substitute, and she was great. She gave me all kinds of ideas and hints for when I'll be (hopefully) substituting next semester (since it's unlikely I'll have the chance to get my own classroom until the Fall). I also found out that she knows a few kids who are on or will be going on Semester at Sea, so of course I couldn't help but to talk about that for a while... any chance I get! She was even kind enough to send me a follow-up e-mail for a question I'd asked her and she wasn't sure about... without me asking or her even saying she was going to do it. So sweet.

Overall it was a great day. Follow it up with a trip to Target that proved the teacher supplies that were in the dollar section to be on sale for 25 cents each and yielded 5 dollars and a full bag's worth of supplies ready for next year, and you get one tired but happy pup. (Hurray for calendar supplies, pencil holders, magnets, stamps and containers!)

Irony of the day: The one day I can't shower because there isn't any water, I have five people tell me that I look nice. Must be the jacket?


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