Week 2 Teaching Summaries

The scary thing for anybody that’s about to read this is that they are summaries of my daily reflection journals to Dr. Z., though I’m aware they seem like novels… That poor man for agreeing to be my supervisor, huh? As a disclaimer, he definitely knew what he was getting himself into! :)

Day 4: I did my first full lessons today with ELA 8.3 and 8.1 today :) !!! I wasn’t really “nervous” to have my first day of lessons, but I definitely appreciated the push that Ms. C gave me last week to do my first lesson today. I’m really happy that she did … the longer I waited, the more uncomfortable jitters I may have gotten moving from observer and helper to class leader, whereas after a great last week, I was pumped to jump right in today. So I emailed my lesson plan to her yesterday, … her response after she looked over it was: “You are a goddess. Your lesson plan is so detailed and thorough…” Yay :) She used my plan in the first class after Crew and in the class after lunch (I taught the other two classes)… I was proud of myself to see that Ms. C liked and valued my plan enough to use it exactly, and also that she was able to follow right along with what I had had in mind… I was thrilled to see that what I had prepared was actually realistic, both in terms of time distribution and also of the quality of its execution!… After I led the first class in discussion and reading, there were only a few minor changes to make for the second class that I did, which I am so happy with on only my first day of lessons at my new school!… my students!! I don’t blame them, but I definitely think they’re testing me a bit. It was challenging juggling everything today: working on names and faces, being confident in my lesson plan and sticking to it, and making sure everything was generally running smoothly… We both agreed that I improved between the two classes, which I’m happy with. I’m a person who enjoys reflection, is comfortable analyzing myself, and wants to work to make my teaching better… While I enjoy hearing what I’ve done well, of course, the thing I want most out of the semester is to give 100% of my mind and heart to grow and learn and enjoy the experience. And those goals will involve celebrating my successes, but also hearing the things I need to do better. I’m happy with where I’m at right now, but will always welcome the challenge to work harder and do better. It’s go time! Today, we all rowed to the lighthouse, it was a good day :)

Day 5: …. After the amazing responses I got last week when I remembered a good amount of the 100 names, I’ve made it my project for the rest of the week. I even brought home the seating chart so that I could go over names and bring their faces to mind. I can’t believe my memory has been as good as it has been with all these names and faces, but I’m not going to question what I credit as a huge part of my success and student relationships so far!! Having specific goals for the week, such as remembering names/faces, has made the long process of becoming a great teacher seem a little bit more feasible. Taking on an accomplishable, measurable task for the old to-do list each week is much easier to do than become an awesome teacher overnight… As a result of a Lost Boys vignette we’ve read recently, I’ve been asked multiple times to define what a female circumcision is. I don’t remember having “handling awkward but necessary situations” on our syllabus in Methods class… (I’ve decided if I ever have a mortal enemy, my revenge will to have them say “clitoris” in front of 25 8th graders with a straight face…) There is no way to be prepared for all the day-to-day crazy thing that happen, but it’s an entertaining challenge.

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The current text we’re working with.

Day 6: Have you ever bonded with students over an outfit?… that’s exactly that happened today between me, basically all of the 8th grade girls today, and my cheetah print cardigan hahaha… It was absolutely ridiculous how in love with my clothes they were. Ms. C told me at the end of the day that she overheard a few girls whispering that they liked it and that she’d also been advised to dress more like Ms. Barsevich, which she thought was quite entertaining… But there is something to carrying oneself professionally and dressing up. After the “late pass incident” while journaling to Hanscom at Central, I’ve learned my lesson! Knowing I look 17, I don’t need to dress like I’m double my age (not that that’s old or anything :) ) but there definitely needs to be enough to have clear distinctions between myself and the students. As my favorite Irish author Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” … I tried to open up both one-on-one and whispered group conversations in order to continue building rapport with my students. You know the phrase “you attract more bees with honey than vinegar”? Yup. The two main students’ comments I’ve heard that are negative about other teachers this past week and a half summarize into s/he hates me and s/he is so unfair… And I’ve learned from the past that all my students will not necessarily respect me from Day 1 as I’m introduced to them from Springfield College and say I want to teach them. I’ve been having to earn it. I’ve said this five times already, but names have been absolutely huge. Saying “hi” to a student before they do, giving a small smile in class when we make eye contact, finding something for them to succeed in when they didn’t know the question or were refocused to pay attention will build up that relationship and respect. The extraordinary things start in the details. Noticing a hair cut, asking a follow-up question to better understand an answer, making a student laugh, etc. And as much as I love English and know that reading and writing are extremely important, I’m not sure any of those lessons will sink in if my students and I don’t respect each other as individual human beings first. I definitely think that after a week and a half I’m made excellent progress with them. Ms. C tells me they love me already, and I think she means it. :) When the students heard that Ms. C would be out tomorrow and I’d be taking over, there were no groans from anyone in the classes. That in itself is a small victory. I’m a bit nervous of how things will go having all the classes to myself for the entire day, but I think I’m ready to jump in. Tomorrow will be a true test of how far I’ve come in the past semester and also the past few weeks. Hopefully I have enough tools, tricks, and keys to have a good day with my students!

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The ACTUAL cardigan of obsession.

Day 7: So today was my first time teaching ELA classes 2 and 4, second time teaching ELA classes 1 and 3, my first time teaching through a whole day here, still in only my second week, with the added challenge of Ms. C being out. Yikes. Obviously, I was a little nervous, though not as much as I’d have thought I would be. My day with our classes overall went well, though some of the classes were definitely testing me behaviorally (chatty and trouble listening)… Some good highlights:

The first class went absolutely awesome :) !! They responded well to my restructuring whenever they began to lose focus and the class ran so smooth. They got through everything I asked them. I was incredibly excited to start the first class off on such a great note.
— A few of the students said “good job teaching today, Ms. Barsevich” as they left which made me really happy. This class definitely knows I care about them and want them to learn.
— I’ve inexplicably become *** and ***’s new project. They’re trying to “set me up” with a young math teacher they’re in love with haha awkward.
— Though I had my strict face on almost the whole time trying to keep the group on task, I got a big hug from *** (who is super shy) on the way out.
Whew, I’m exhausted!! Overall, I’m happy how the day went teaching 4 straight without Ms. C here. There’s definitely room for improvement, especially in the behavior management department, but I’m happy that I rose to the challenge today and did my best.
_____
And I have to share part of Dr. Z.’s response:

CONGRATULATIONS ON WHAT SEEMS LIKE A GREAT START TO YOUR SOLO TEACHING CAREER!! YOU LEARNED A LOT ABOUT YOURSELF, ABOUT THE KIDS AND……………………………………………………..YOU SURVIVED! LOL YOU EARNED YOUR WEEKEND!

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