Today was an exciting day for me because I got to teach everything all day. It went really well! I love having plan periods for the first two hours of my day because it allows me to really get my head wrapped around everything. At this point, I'm most hesitant about the extent to which I should discipline my students. Since I have only been in their classroom for two days, I don't want to seem super strict, but my cooperating teacher is encouraging me to get after them more. My morning diff. class is still very good about following the class rules, but my afternoon class today tried testing me a bit! For the most part, I was able to stifle them simply by looking at them, letting them know that I wasn't oblivious to their disruptions! My cooperating teacher has the students very well-trained; for the most part they do exactly as they are supposed to, and there are hardly any side conversations! I'm a bit surprised, because my understanding of middle school students is that they are social beings. My cooperating teacher is showing me that it is possible to keep an orderly classroom, even with sixth graders!
After school, I sat in on my first all-staff meeting, which was a great way to gain an understanding of things that are going on within the building. A teacher on my team, Mrs. Bubb, gave a presentation on how to have effective class meetings that have a purpose. So far, the sixth grade team that I am working with has had very productive meetings that have shown amazing results! At the class meetings, students were able to raise issues or concerns that they were having. Topics have included talking too much in class, bullying, and running in the hallways. Through structured discussions, the students were able to problem solve and come up with solutions. They have really taken ownership over the issues that have been raised!
Next, all of the Professional Learning Community (PLC) groups reported on what their quarterly or yearly goals are and the progress that has been or is being made. I enjoyed hearing all of the different things that different teams and disciplines are focusing on. Some of the statistics were very good and show much improvement! The team that I am working with is focusing on an increase in vocabulary skills, which is also a district goal. It is interesting to see all the ways that teachers in all subject areas are working to improve students' vocabularies. This meeting was a very good experience!
My cooperating teacher will be gone tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the students do without her in the classroom!