Student Teaching Reflections; part I

I didn’t really know what to expect when I registered for student teaching.

I didn’t expect a student to ask me if I was pregnant because I’m married. I wasn’t prepared for this poop sculpture, or the amount of drama that fourth grade girls are able to cause. I wasn’t prepared for how many of these students have iPhone 6’s, or the fact that they all know how to group text, when I just learned how a few months ago.

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I hoped that I would enjoy it, and prayed that the students would take it easy on me. During my field experience, I fumbled through a lesson on something obviously important, and afterwards heard a student say, with more attitude than a fourth grader should ever have, “why is she so nervous?”

That’s right, kid. I’m nervous. This is my future, and if I don’t like teaching at the end of this whole experience, an ungodly amount of dollars will have been put to waste. If you don’t pass my Exit Slip with flying colors, that’s a direct reflection on me, even though you didn’t pay a sliver of attention to my lesson, and decided that you would try and see if I’d notice you eating a whole pack of gum while staring directly into my eyes.

But you know what? So far, I’ve loved it.

I’ve loved it even though most days are a power struggle between me & my math class.

One time, a student decided it would be a good idea to draw on his test instead of take it, and when I asked him to start working, he punched his desk, and accused me of picking on him because he’s black. When I told him to put his name on his test, he showed me this:

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Just for clarification, his name is not “BraH.”

During that same test, a student decided that she didn’t want to take it because she’s “not going to be a math teacher, so she doesn’t need to know this stuff.” And she then proceeded to stare at the wall even though I told her that I believed in her, and that I didn’t want her to get a zero. She got upset when I took her test away…at the end of class….after everyone else had left.

I’ve realized that sometimes the negative forces of home are just too strong for a student teacher to break through in only a few short months. And to be honest, that’s the most discouraging part of this whole thing.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t afford to stop trying.

I think about my educational heroes: Mrs. Crow, my mom, Professor Aspito, and Dr. Modica.

I wonder if they felt like this when they were beginners: some days you feel like you should be handed your teacher certification on a silver platter, and other days you feel like you’re drowning.

There is obviously so much I need to learn, and the process isn’t easy. Wait. I only have 2 more months of this, and then I’m expected to teach on my own, without supervision?! Will I even be ready?! Do I have to grade more papers? Why are there always so many papers to grade? Is it time for bed yet? No? Oh…

If I have to say “I’ll wait,” one. more. time…

But then I think about how wonderful these women are, and the impact they have had on my life, and I’m sure, the lives of countless others.

The good days somehow have outweighed the bad.

I have been able to transform my ELA class into a group of inspirational poets.

I’ve formed relationships with students that give me random words of encouragement almost every day.

Most of all, I still look forward to going back to school – even after the most glorious snow days.

I’m not sure what I’ll find at my next placement. I don’t know if I’ll have the same support that I’ve been given from my current cooperating teacher, or if I’ll enjoy teaching the same 13 students for seven hours, rather than 60 different students throughout the course of one day (I teach three different groups for ELA, Math, and Science).

But I’m ready and willing to face whatever comes next.

(and I’m also obviously counting down the days until graduation. 70 DAYS.)

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4 thoughts on “Student Teaching Reflections; part I

  1. Wow. This sounds crazy! I’m floored that so many of them have phones at all, much less iPhone 6s. That must be such a huge distraction during class!

    I hope the rest of your semester goes well and I’ll be praying for you! Teaching is such a hard, critical, rewarding work, and teachers give so much of themselves to do it well.

    • Thankfully they can’t use them during class time – they would be on their devices all the time if that was the case. Today my cooperating teacher told them that the fourth grade department’s policy has changed, and now they can only use their devices during “Fun Friday” which is every other week. They can’t use them for recess, or at the end of the day. One girl almost started crying!

      When I was in fourth grade, I remember loving the times my teachers read aloud to us. I tried that a few times, and they wanted nothing of it. haha 🙂

      Thank you for praying though! I appreciate it.

  2. Students who blatantly refuse to do what you tell them to are a trial that I’m guessing will never go away. I’ve only been teaching in a classroom since August–my first days were extremely nerve-wracking, but gradually everything seems to get smoother.

    • It’s honestly the most frustrating aspect of teaching. But I’m glad I’m experiencing it now, so that I’m somewhat prepared to handle it in the future.

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