Blogging is one thing that I swore I would keep up with this semester. FAIL! It is unbelievable how many things I find myself doing in a day, and blogging, unfortunately, has taken a back seat to everything else.
I feel like a lot has happened to me since I last posted. My student teaching experience is going amazingly well. I ended my first eight weeks in Language Arts, and have nothing but good things to say about my experience. I had the luxury of running the classroom independently from week two of the year; my cooperating teacher was never more than an earshot away, but she thought that I would be most successful if I had the chance to run the classroom the way I wanted to without pressure from her to do it her way. It was nice, and the students responded very well to the new ideas that I implemented in the classroom. My students were wonderful, and we had a lot of fun and did a lot of great projects!
One of the things that I loved the most were my literature circles. They were in groups of four and met twice a week. They would read a certain amount of pages out of a novel and complete two "roles," including: vocabulary enricher, artful artist, discussion director, passage picker, investigator, summarizer, connector, and literary luminary. When they met in their literature groups, they would share with the rest of the group what they had done. The kids really liked being able to discuss the parts of the book that they wanted to, and they loved being able to work in groups.
During my first eight-week placement, I had an interview with Lincoln Public Schools, and was hired to teach sixth grade at Schoo Middle School. I will be teaching Language Arts, Social Studies, and Math. I'm very excited to have the opportunity to open a new school and be a part of everything that is involved with it. I mention this job because it affected my second eight-week placement...
I was originally scheduled to spend my second eight-weeks teaching 7th grade Social Studies. Since I found out that I will be teaching sixth grade, however, my Language Arts cooperating teacher suggested that I move into the classroom of another teacher on my team who teaches social studies and math. It made perfect sense to me, but I would soon come to find out that there were many hoops to jump through to make that happen. My University Supervisor has basically neglected me (to date, I have only been observed once), so she was of little to no help in getting this to work out. I contacted Dave Van Horn, and he was supportive of the switch, but needed approval from Tom McGowan. To make a long story short, I did get the approval to stay in sixth grade on my team. Apparently, they are going to use me as a research subject, as the national trend in education colleges is to have school districts hire teachers after their junior year of college and them have them student teach in the exact school, grade level, and content area in which they have been hired to teach. I imagine that this will involve follow-up with me next year to find out what the benefits were of knowing the content and curriculum ahead of time.
My experience has been wonderful. I am working with the same teacher whom I was with during last year's practicum, so I was already familiar with her teaching style. Also, since I was able to stay on my team, I already knew all of the students, which made for a much smoother and more seamless transition. There was much sickness on my team as well, and my local substitute certificate has come in quite handy. In a very short amount of time, I used up nine of my ten sub days, but the experience (and the money!) was very nice.
So far, I think it has been a huge benefit to be able to see the sixth grade social studies and math curriculum. Additionally, I have a math intervention class every other day, which has been a valuable learning experience for me. Especially because I am not endorsed in math, I am glad that I get a refresher before I am handed the teachers' manual next year. In Social Studies, when we return from Spring Break, we will begin our unit on Latin America, which I am excited about. The kids really enjoy social studies, which makes it fun to teach.