So what did I want to do so far and what have I actually done?
What I’ve set out to do (thanks to my school’s orientation and Jason for setting my expectations really high for my co-op. I really thought we’d be doing icebreakers and learning where I’d get an opportunity to do these things):
- Introduce myself, preferably actually doing this myself instead of having Mr. M introduce me to each class. This was recommended during orientation to help students see that as a student teacher I still have my own voice in the classroom.
- Start to learn names. I am EXTREMELY good at names so I figured by Friday I could have all the kids names down.
- Do teacher-like things. Another recommendation given i.e. hand out papers, write on the whiteboard, etc. Don’t let myself just sit at the back of the room and then one day start appearing at the front of the room as their new teacher
- Look the part – dress professionally and look like a teacher!
- Start meeting other people in the building. I’ve been working at this school for a year but really only know a few teachers and administrators, I really want to get used to introducing myself to staff around the building.
- Be teachable. My co-op is retiring (have I mentioned this enough?), he’s taught for about 37 years and is DONE. He doesn’t plan lessons, he isn’t student centered/creative *anymore*, and he’s really just getting by. He’s really nice, warm and funny but he’s also super lax on rules, management, and overall everything. But what does he have that I don’t – a SHITLOAD OF EXPERIENCE. I may not be able to learn the best do-nows and activities from this dude but I need to remain teachable.
What I’ve actually done:
- I introduced myself to the 5 out of 6 classes – pretty good! I actually know about 20-30 of the students spread out over the 6 periods so it’s nice to see familiar faces. Although those students do call me Ms. Molly from being their after school tutor and I’m not sure if I should be correcting them to call me Ms. P now.
- I really only started to learn names in the first period class. This is really unfortunate for several reasons – one being I’m going to start teaching classes on Monday and I don’t have a good grasp on more than 5 names a class period. Since my co-op has had them all already he does not call roll and just checks their names off silently so it’s been really hard to learn those students names . PLUS these kids friggin mumble. In the first period we had an extra long class the first day so I went around and asked each of them their names and voila – I learned them all already. My new plan (and all suggestions welcome from here) is to photocopy the new seating chart and just memorize the names/faces/seats tomorrow and Friday. I’ve also been asking students who arrive early (like 2, these kids are late for every period its wild) what their names are and that helps also.
- Now.. teacher-like things did not happen for me today. Aim for tomorrow? It’s really hard actually since I am observing right now to stay busy and look teacherly. I think it will help once Mr.M actually starts teaching material – maybe he’ll have students working out of the book and I can go around and answer questions. Like I said, he’s very teacher-centered so I’m excited to get my hands on his senior courses it’s all “practical math” – salaries, checking, taxes, etc. Suggestions?
- Dressing up? check check check. A student even said today “Hell, she looks more professional than Mr. M” Score.
- I’ve been forcing myself to shake hands with other people in the elevator and then if I don’t know their subject make sure I ask Mr.M what they teach and so on. I even asked Mr. M if he wouldn’t mind introducing me to other teachers if the opportunity arose – and then later than afternoon the fire alarm went off (not a drill, this is gonna be a fun school year) and SHABAM he introduced me to a ton of other teachers around the building. I also met a few other math teachers and the dept head who said I am welcome to come and observe their classes next week.
- And finally… being teachable. I really wanted my first class to be one of the seniors since I think the math their doing could be so much fun and they look so bored and disruptive like they’re just itching for some activities and hands-on math. But almost all of them have IEPS and Mr.M classifys them as “trouble” and “bad” and blah blah and really wanted me to take his Honors juniors test prep so that I would have “Good” first experience. So that was my remaining teachable moment for the day – I listened.
Scariest moment of the day? Winding down a fire escape built in the 1800s with 630 students from the 9th floor – I really did see my life flash before my eyes. Happiest moment of the day? A student called out to me “Ms. P!” during the fire fiasco, at first I didn’t turn, and then I did, and it was cool. I also made a pretty good turkey, hummus, cheese, lettuce and dijon mustard sandwich so that was definitely a plus for the day.