I hate student teaching. I love the kids, but I hate everything else.
I hate that I’m working my butt off everyday before, at school, and after school Monday through Friday for free and with little to no energy afterwards, and then work the weekend as a waitress with just enough money to pay for gas for the week.
I recently got in a car accident and had to take it in to get fixed. So, ALL my money I was saving for my certification tests went to my dectuctable. And now, my phone is completely messed up and non functionable.
That sucks because I use my smartphone for everything! and I don’t have the money to fix it because I also have to pay for my laptop that is also being fixed.
All this money that I don’t have is being demanded. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.
Can I have my graduation presents via money ahead of time please?
Throughout the past month and a half I have accumulated notes and notes of my student teaching experience— Of what it means to be in the shoes of a teacher. So now I must compile this into some sort of meaning and comprehension for my thesis.
So why am I writing a thesis on being a student teacher/teacher?
Well, I think it would be helpful for students starting college or even underclassmen who are considering going into the education field and have no background of what that means? I know I didn’t.
You see, in high school I was in this two block class called Elementary Interns that let upper level high school students learn about the pedegory of learning and public school so that they could work with a public classroom once a week. The students would then make a lesson at the end of the school year for their students.
So, really, this thesis is a book for my past self and future me’s.
Also, I believe it will be a real eye opener for people of other fields. Teachers manage 20-80 students, probably more if you count lunch and recess duty on a daily basis for 8 hrs teaching them public education. Seems easy for non-education majors.
People get tattoos for personal meaning, but can teachers have tattoos?
Each district has a different policy for tattoos. I’m just gonna go ahead and assume that its fround upon for teachers to have tattoos so most districts, if not all, have a policy that if a teacher has a tattoo, he/she must cover it.
In my district, tattoos have to be covered up. But not all teachers do— at least at high school level.
I bring this topic up because I have a tattoo on my wrist. Since student teaching means that I’m being interviewed and judged everyday by my professional peers, this means that I should cover my tattoo everyday, right? Welllllllll, that was my original intention.
I tried following this policy my first week of student teaching. I would wear watches and bracelets to cover my wrist, but then I hated that I had to cover up a part of who I was. Now, I just don’t.
Let me explain my tattoo real quick. My tattoo has a religious meaning to me. I got my tattoo on the inside of my wrist so that I could be reminded everyday because I use my hands everyday. I mean, I could wear a necklace, bracelet, ring, or even have decorations in my classroom like other teachers do to show their faith. But the point of my tattoo is not for others to see but myself. I also feel like I’m hiding myself because my tattoo is recent. I just got it a few months ago. I wonder if I’ll feel the same about in a few months/years.
So, when do students see my tattoo? When I reach for something, holding something up for the class to see, or when I’m just leaning on my arm out of habit when writing. For example, when I’m picking/passing up papers.
My students have commented thrice about my tattoo already. It didn’t escalate more than a student asking. I would quickly answer yes, and continue explaining math/science.
Reading other people’s/teacher’s stories, experiences on tumblr helps me to not feel so alone. Whether its about teaching struggles/victories or life mishaps/joys, it helps me realize that I need to keep moving forward and keep growing.
Its funny— I have a class of student teachers peers and even friends who student teach right now but even then its lonely. Thanks fellow tumblr peeps!
Attention grabbers. sigh. Its easier with lower level students. You have the clean up song. Or cute little songs/phrases in general. With upper level sudents you can flick the lights on and off. Or wait in front of the classroom silently to get students attention.
Since I teach 5th grade and don’t like yelling, I started off with writing “I’m wating” on the smartboard to get students attention the first time I taught and it worked.
Since then I’ve taught more and more lessons, and well— I feel like I’ve lost more and more students attention and respect when I’m trying to get ready to talk or when I’m talking. At first I had students complete attention Now? I have to worry about behavior problems at the same time as teaching an objective for the day. I get shaken up by misbehaviors and hurt that students aren’t paying attention to me. I know I shouldn’t take it personally but sometimes it hurts me when students are writing a letter to grandma in class or making faces to their friend across the room.
When I don’t have student’s attention it hurts me that I spent all this time planning out this detailed lesson plan so that there would be examples and non-examples of the objective and they don’t listen! Its an insult to me and its an insult to math.
I’m still working on attention grabbers. The ones listed are okay, but I can’t see them working for my 5th grade class. My CT’s method is yelling at students “Uhm, excuse me?! I’m talking! No stop!” or saying rudely to a group of students “Are you done talking now?” I mean, this is something done everyday for a 5th grade teacher. Is this normal?
Today I had my first observation by my professor. Just to remind you, this was not my first lesson. My initial reaction afterwards was to immediately run to the restroom and cry. Now, after a few hours to let it marinate? I’m over it. I’ll just get better with practice.
In my education classes we learn how to make lessons that fit the objectives and standards, that are inquiry based, that are engaging, that have meaning and are relevant. We learn teaching methods, the process of learning, behavioral/classroom management, the history of education and so on.
So if I had all this background knowledge why did I want to cry after my first observation? I mean, I’ve taught lessons before and did far better. Well, 1) I just wasn’t feeling my best today, and 2) I got nervous. I forgot so many things I should have said verbally or explained better such as in directions.
All of the learning that I learned from so far in student teaching like classroom/behavioral management, pointing out misconceptions and non-examples on the spot, remembering each student’s special needs ALL went away. All I could focus on was this perfect lesson plan that I had pre-planned and that my professor was reading in her hands as I was teaching the math lesson on Geometrical Figures, 2D and 3D.
I talked to my professor and CT afterwards, and for the pm class I made major adjustments to make sure my lesson went along smoother for both me and the students.
I felt so dumb when I wanted to cry about my observation with so many teachers around me. I mean, they went through the same thing as me. They weren’t that great of teachers as they are now when they were in my shoes. Why? Because even though you took a handful of education classes, you get slapped in the face when you deal with teaching/guiding/caring/mothering/disciplining 25 5th graders Monday though Friday for 8 hours.
As I then observed my CT and other teachers around me, I began to feel better. That becoming a better teacher means making mistakes and improving on it.
I mean at the end of the day, the student’s didn’t recgonize my pain or unhappiness with the first lesson or even how I tried so hard to improve the 2nd run of the same lesson. In the long run I hope they remember that one student teacher they had that constantly made them get into partners for inquiry activities or had independent thinking time to work on problem solving and say “man, she made us think a lot about problem solving and exploring in math, not finding the answer”
In three weeks I have to turn in a rough draft of my thesis. My thesis is also a graded class. My rough draft which is my mid-term determines if I pass or fail the class. Okay, so my thesis is my student teaching experience. So, pretty much its diary entries of observations and experiences in a teachers shoes. I have a ton of written notes and somewhat of an idea for organization. Now I need a secretary/scribe.
Student teaching is a pass or fail grade. So far I’m passing. How do you pass student teaching? You submit your week outline of objectives and lesson plans (both youurs and CT’s) ahead of time, intern everyday, go in early and stay late to aid teacher, attend teacher work days, attend student teacher seminars, then turn in portfolio at end of semester. Not too bad.
I started out with all students chossing their favorite gumball flavor out of a list of 5, then posting their a sticky note in the column of their favorite flavor. After all were posted, then I began guiding them to probabilty:
me: How many students picked a gumball flavor.
student: They counted all students in class or total number of post its.
me: Okay, so how many people liked cherry?
me: 7 people liked cherry out of how many people?
student: class total number
me: So, like a fraction? 7 over total?
me: So, whats the probabilty that if I picked someone randomly from this class that their favorite flavor will be cherry?
student: *pause* ….. 7 out of total?
me: yes! Why?
student: well only 7 people liked cherry. and theres total amount of possibilies. so its 7 out of total, which is a fraction.
me: yes! A fraction is a way to express a probabilty.
Then I went into explaining probabilty a little bit more, then transitioned into an activity where they had to work in groups. Group activity consisted of different colored blocks representing gumball flavors as they worked on probabilty. Students had to work in groups and were not allowed to ask me questions because they had fellow group members to ask. It was interesting to see them work together. Really, kind of cute. So, I sat in the middle of the classroom and let me explore for a good ten minutes. I let them talk, laugh, move around— as long as they were working on the activity. Once things got out of hand, about 10 minutes after, I announced for everyone to go to desk and began to explain. Half got it at first on their own, the other half didn’t.
After explaination, I posed another probability question. I challanged them wih the following: 25 students walked into a school, and 5 of them had a white shirt on. When the next 100 students walk in, what is the probabilty that they will be wearing a white shirt? Thier hint was to use fractions with the information given. After I explained that you go from 5/25 to ?/100 they quickly got that you compare fractions for this probabilty question. A lot of them grinned at the trickery of it.
At the end of the AM andPM lessons, I had to sit back and just take a breathe. For some reason, I thought that 5th graders would get probabilty with a little bit more ease. The abstact is always hard. It took a little bit more effort and a lot more wait time then usual.
Overall, my CT said that she liked the way I presented the lesson and how I kept repeating key terms and ideas throughout the lesson. AND he said that I have the presence of a teacher— that I was able to approach conflicts, confusion, and misbehavior appropriately. WHAT UP. Thats the best complinent ever.
Today one of my students was reducing a fraction and wrote down a wrong number so he got the wrong answer. Right away the student wanted to erase the answer. Before he could, my CT told him to say he made a mistake and then continue. The student tried to make an excuse that he wrote the wrong number by accident but had the right number in head. My CT insisted that the student say that they made a mistake first then continue. My CT is trying to get my students to understand that mistakes are okay. I like this. It just needs to be approached more and actually explained that mistakes happen, but we learn from them.
5th grade doesn’t have much of a behavior issue most of the time. This is because each student has a behavior log for the week that they carry around with them either individually or a class set. Each student brings home a behavior log on that Friday which has to get signed and returned the next Monday. 5th graders are cute and tough young teenagers, but can’t be because they have to answer to mom or dad when behavior log is sent home on Friday. This means that students aim for positive notes, if any, and few misbehavior notes.
Classroom rules are that if a student is misbehaving, they get a verbal warning once. After that, its a write up in their behavior log. After that, they are sent to the principal’s office. Students usually stop after a write up or sent outside of class in the hallway.
How do I approach student misbehavior as a student teacher?
If a student is misbehaving I write a sad face and student/s name/s next to it on overheard. I do this because I don’t want to stop my train of thought while teaching or going around classroom checking up on student’s individual work. Usually the student understands their misbehavior and right away gets to work appropriately. Sometimes that student will ask why I wrote their name. I relpy, “It made me sad when you weren’t listening to my instructions.” That gets their attention right away. Another approach is to leave a sticky note on their desk, “If you do misbehavior again, I’m writing you up.” I do this so that their misbehavior doesn’t attract attention. After that I ask student to bring me their behavior folder. By then, the student is on the verge of crying or crumbles folder as they walk towards me ready to hand their folder over.
How do I approach positive behavior as a student teacher?
Again, I use the overhead. When students are working independently or listening to me teach, I will write a smiley face and student/s name/s next to it, as well as Thank You. Once students see that I am looking for positve behavior, students sit up straighter, concentrate on math/science as if they are professors and listen to the teacher like I’m a famous movie star. Its quite cute. The students who always have good behavior know that its expected for their name to be written. Thats not always the case. Most of the time, I write names on the Thank You wall so that the misbehavior students can behave in the same appropriate manner as their peers.
So far this has been working beautifully. With behavior logs I don’t have to bribe student’s with candy or extra credit. Oh, the beauty of teaching 5th graders.
Today was the first full day of the mastery unit for my students. I loved it. It was nice to only give a few general announcements and set them free to explore. As I circulated, I noticed students putting in hard work to understand the material. They were working together, NOT copying! I noticed…
My limitation is my health. I try so hard to eat healthy, take vitamins, and exercise, but when it comes down to it, I have a weak immune system. I never fail to get sick when cold weather hits. I mean its only in the upper 20’s to upper 30’s, but still, that’s cold for most of Texas!
I think my body needs more sleep. I think my body is worn out but I don’t feel it until I’m sick like I am now. Here’s the deal— I student teach Monday through Friday, then I work the weekends as a waitress at 8 hours each day. I spend half of my off time planning, grading and compiling my thesis. The other half I chill with my family.
So all I can do now is take a bunch of Emergen-c and get a lot of rest hoping to get better because I have a lesson I have to teach tomorrow. I mean, I can always hand it over to my cooperating teacher because I have the lesson plan done, but its my responsibility.
In the past, I usually miss school/work at least a day or two to recover each time cold hits hard. But teachers can’t be sick?!!?
So apparently there’s been multiple dramas btw students that’s been building up. You would think that with a teacher and student teacher, we would catch it. Nope. I’m not gonna lie, when I’m teaching for the day my focus is making sure students are engaged and learning the concepts. So, I’m constantly checking for understanding while making rounds in the classroom. But kids are kids. Kids are human. They get distracted by their social life of their peers. I do the same thing. But I brush it off. Its not easy, but its something you learn to do to move on to have self growth and enjoy life. But when I’m making rounds for understanding while trying to maintain misbehavior I can’t catch the little things that go on behind my back— like pointing, teasing, rolling of eyes, throwing things, snickering and making ugly faces to each other that’s all done silently by students.
Whenever I call on a random student to read aloud in class, I try to remind students that we’re being respectful to our peers and listening to them. I feel like these kiddos don’t really understand respect.
When I do catch something and if I’m able to discuss the problem then I do. This is rare. Most of the time its just me talking and them listening.
Perhaps there needs to be a class discussion on respect and acceptable behavior?
School should be fun and about learning, not drama that you have to drag yourself into everyday.
"Miss, are you teaching today?" the AM/PM students asked when they enter the classroom. When I answer "yes," they cheer "yay!" Haha. I guess the students like it when I teach.
After my first lesson, I realized that instead of doing so many worksheets and so many problems, I would rather go more into depth with fewer problems and have students spend more time with understanding the process of problem solving. Quality over quantity.
Another realization is that these 5th graders don’t like thinking on their own when they have “Explore” assignment during the lesson. Students are not allowed to ask me questions. It was complete silence to think for X amount of minutes. To reinforce thinking time I had piano music playing on computer. The only students I read the problem to were ones with special needs. It-was-hard.
Q: “Miss, can you help me?”
A: “Right now we’re all thinking and reading in our heads independently. Challenge yourself to try and understand how to solve the problems. I know you can do it.”
This explore process is hard for students. I try to lighten the mood by telling students that I’m challenging them to challenge themselves. Students struggle with problem solving on their own a lot. I see it when they take tests. They know what to do but they jump around and pick and poke at the problem instead of understanding the thinking process of the problem. I was pleased with how well the students took to accepting the fact that they need time and concentration to marinate the problem, that you have to understand the terms and how organize your work. So, the explore part went fine.
For one class, one activity didn’t start off right. We had just transitioned to a new hands-on activity, so I passed out the worksheet and the materials and started to give directions and intentions to help out with at least the first problem. But students were walking around talking to each other, their backs facing me and laughing with each other in conversation. I wasn’t about to raise my voice and compete with 25 5th graders, so I wrote on the smartboard: “Work with partner to complete activity” and sat quietly at desk. Right away students realized that they were disrespectful, apologized, and said would listen. Accepting the apology, I started the instructions and explaining how to do the first one. Then students were released back to pairs to work on activity. It went really well— especially when one student got it, while the other didn’t, so then one student explained to partner. Not me. haha. So, really, I get a break from teaching.
One thing I find with math thats cool is writing out math problems— Math sentences if you will. Ie: 45 + 23 = 68 ——> 68 is the sum of 45 apples and 23 apples added together. I’ve been practicing that while teaching. Its one thing to do the math, its another to write it out. When you write it out, you have to think about the process and the math terms.
I really do like teaching math. I haven’t taught a science lesson, but I’ve done one-on-one or small group leading for assignments my teacher provided, while I’ve helping him with his lesson. But I feel like I’m selfish with science. I love science, but I’d rather to self learning, not teaching. haha. Maybe I’ll feel differently after I start to teach science again.
I taught to both the the morning and afternoon class— both had ups and downs
I haven’t taught a class in a year because I took a break btw intern teaching block and student teaching to take last classes so it was definetly a tiring, yet refreshing feeling
Who knew I could talk that loud to a class— I suprised myself
I figured out quick that I didn’t want to raise my voice at students when I’m talking loudly all day teaching. So, to get students attention I write “notes” on smartboard. Ie: “Reminder; we’re working quietly,” “Please return to desks,” or if hard to get attenion “I’m waiting to teach.” All worked well, except I think it might loose effect if used too much.
Time flew by faster than I thought
5th graders were not used to taking (shorthand) notes for math— learning vobaulary for math is just as important to understanding the solution process
I was accidently rushing through the problems instead of making sure the students understood the process. I forget that even though I called on 15 random students throughout the lesson, I don’t know anything from the other 10 students unless I had time to walk around for each problem to look at every students classwork.
I need a new strategy for checking understanding. I was thinking; “Give me 5 is you understand, 3 if iffy and 1 for don’t understand.”
Think, Pair, Share was a great tool except for when students don’t have an exact goal for when they talk to a partner and they go off topic (TPS = Think for 2 minutes alone on problem, share with partner on how solved, pairs share answer to class)
During independent work students were directed to “read and think in their head” to not distract others because it was thinking time. When my CT would teach, I would usually go around and help the struggling students. Out of habit, they raised their hand in hope for aid, but I couldn’t bend. I was direct teaching and had to leave them wiggle room to think independently. It was hard.
I had to nix a foldable activity to make time for jeopardy
Jeopardy was crazyness. I divided a class of 24 by 2 so that 2 teams played againest each other. Mad craziness and a lot of “my group members arent talking to me/I’m lost” went around. Fail. Next time students will probably use individual whiteboards to display own answer instead of group.
The students who actually thought out the problems we went over and showed their thinking process were the students who usually get misbehavior marks in their folder. I thought that was interesting.
My CT said I did pretty well with teaching the first time to his classes.
I would like students to be okay with saying “I don’t know, but let me try” instead of saying “I don’t know.”
Next lesson: Mean, Median, and Mode. All I have right now is worksheets of analyzing charts to get MM&M and one card game. I’m not 100% satisfied and I’m currently seaching online for alternatives. I feel like I have too many worksheets.
If your classroom doesn’t include these elements, if you’re simply following along with the paint-by-numbers curriculum you’ve been provided, then classroom management will be a never-ending struggle….
Goal: For students to love math and science. Better yet, to embrace thinking not searching for the right answer.
A lot of these students are not rich. In fact, a lot of these students come from low income families. Parents and grandparents write notes or visit the classroom in concern of their child passing the class, wanting to know of any way to help them. I think the bottom line is that students need to have the desire to learn. I can explain math and science all day and the student and memorize vocabulary, tricks, and key words, but it will mean squat unless the student understands that the knowledge they are learning is a privelege and it actually means something.
There’s a lot of signs around the school about past students in the district who graduated from the schools in that district and went to college. It didn’t motivate me too much. There’s also bookmark of this as well. It states how much money a college graduate can make versus a non-college graduate. WHATEVER. I thought education was for life learning not money. Hmmm….
Prof Waters, who is now Professor of Education at the University of Wolverhampton said children were being denied the right to enjoy school because of the pressure to hit targets. He said: “We’ve got to have the nerve [as teachers] to enjoy their childhood with children.
“One of my main worries would be that many youngsters aren’t experiencing the richness, depth and joy of learning because of schools feeling they need to achieve some imposed and questionable targets.
I feel like this and my lesson plan probably will read like this on the day I teach:
Luckily, I will be teaching the AM class and then after lunch I will teach the PM class the same thing— allowing for adjustments.
I’m writing my lesson plan now. My lesson is over solving meaningful problem situations for 5th grade math. Thats not hard…. try explaining this to 5th graders who hate math and could care less about it. Whomp whomp.
I keep telling myself: think positive and make an awesome lesson!