Sunday, May 8, 2011

End of the Line

As I approach my final student teaching week, I am overwhelmed with feelings of excitement, anxiety, and pride. I am excited about upcoming festivities: certification event, graduation, and parties galore. I am anxious over getting a job, and preparing for my final days with my current students. Finally, I am proud of the work I have done so far. Since my decision to return to school at the age of 27 as a mother of two, the road has been long and at times overpowering. I owe my husband, parents, and aunt a lot due to their never-ending support. I never once had to miss an internship day due to the health of a child. My family was always there; ready to jump in when I needed a helping hand. Although I have enjoyed my time in the ASU program, I am ready to get out in the real world and begin applying everything I’ve learned.

This last week was a great week! One of my students is known for taking quite a bit longer to finish tasks than her peers. These can be written tasks, as well as anything physical. Well this week, she was on the ball, to say the least. The students began a new chapter book two weeks ago, and just now started to take the reins in regard to completing flow maps and writing a chapter summary. The students were given around 35 minutes to do these written tasks. Only two students accomplished all tasks, while the rest had to take it home for homework. This student was one of the individuals that finished in the allotted time. We were SO excited! It was a huge breakthrough, and something that we were talking about all week. When I asked her why she was able to finish everything, she was brutally honest and said “I didn’t want homework.” Now that I know she can work that quickly, she better watch out. I’ve got her number! J

I’ve noticed that this time of year is tough on a few students. Some are starting to burn out, and have been developing a bit of an attitude when presented with class work. One student, when asked why he didn’t complete an assignment, said that he just didn’t want to. My MT ended up calling in his parents for a conference. I was fortunate to attend, and can say that it was definitely a learning experience. Watching the way my MT communicated with the parents was awe-inspiring. She was an advocate for the student, yet was sensitive to the needs of all parties involved. When things began to get a little heated, my MT was able to switch things around and get everyone back on track with very little effort. To be honest, I am dreading that first meeting I have with a student’s parents. I hope that I can be diplomatic and ensure that all parties walk away feeling heard and with an understanding of what to do from then on.

Good luck to all my fellow classmates as they wrap up their student teaching placements and prepare for graduation. I can't believe we'll all be teachers soon :) Well, long as the dumb economy plays nice.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

All Downhill From Here

(sing to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ball Game) Cuz it's one, two, three weeks then I'm done, with this teaching placement.
Just finished my 5th week in my Special Ed, Jr High placement. I gotta tell you, the last few weeks have flown by!! I have been an emotional wreck, but have finally started to feel at ease in the classroom. I had my first formal observation in this setting, and it went well. The students were great, and the lesson was fun (Science, my fav). I finally feel like a teacher again, and not just a weird floater. A lot of that probably has to do with the fact that I have taken over's funny because when I reread my posts from the first placement, I went through similar emotions. You think I would have expected this emotional whirlwind, but no, I just thought I'd walk in, and pick right up where I left off. Um, not so much!

We had an ASU intern in the classroom every Wednesday, and she just finished her hour requirements. We gave her a little going away party and made sure to inundate her with gifts galore! Flowers, cards from the students, Starbucks, sugar cookies, a basket full of teaching goodies, and a giftcard. She was completely surprised. We will miss her dearly!

I have 2 more weeks of full time teaching, and then I can start phasing out. I'll probably teach most of my final week, but I also want to observe other classes/schools, and have a district prescreening appointment to attend too. Wish me luck :)

(P.S. Picture is of me, Mentor Teacher, ASU Intern, and Paraprofessional. A student took the pic, and it's a little blurry, but you get the gist)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Week #4, Gimme Some More

This week has been quite interesting. Students were taking the AIMS all week, so class periods were cut down to only 30 minutes. This shortened time period made it difficult to plan an entire lesson, but somehow I have survived ;) My poor MT has experienced some family issues this week and has had to either leave early, or call in a sub. Yesterday was sub day. We also have an ASU intern that comes in every Wednesday, so we ended up having 4 teachers for only 4 students. I was able to teach all day long, and was satisfied with the day as a whole. I am still trying to figure out classroom management but this week was much better than last.

Next week I have my ASU Supervisor Formal Observation. I am not really nervous...probably because I am teaching a Science lesson. I love me some Science. The lesson is all planned and ready to go, so let's just hope the kiddos are on their best behavior. I received a call from a local school district to set up a prescreening interview, so that's exciting. I'm so ready to have my own classroom at this point. Even though student teaching has been challenging, it has been a fabulous learning experience and I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hokey Pete!

My third week in this new placement was pretty emotionally exhausting. I tripled my responsibility from last week, moving from teaching 1 period to teaching 3. This is no problem whatsoever, as I love teaching so much more than observing. I love teaching and working with the students, but I am really struggling with classroom management. This is so frustrating because I had it down pat in the last setting, so I know I have it in me to show authority. I keep telling myself that this will get better as I spend more time in the classroom, but it is quite the challenge as of right now.
This week I taught a lesson that was an absolute nightmare. I was teaching about dictionary skills and spent a lot of time writing the lesson and developing the materials. By the time it came to teaching the lesson, it turned out that everything I had planned went right over the students’ heads. I was standing there like a deer caught in the headlights and ended up having to just call it a day and plan for reteach the next day. Thankfully, the reteach went great! I spent the previous day making an ABC chart and taping it to each desk because students were struggling with ABC order. The lesson was broken up into smaller steps and this worked well with the students. Of course there were still a few areas that I could have perfected, but I was definitely happier than I was the previous day.
I am hoping that tomorrow and all next week I will be in better spirits. I have to keep reminding myself that I am still learning and really need to learn that it is OK to make mistakes. No one is expecting perfection so I need to just give myself a break.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Second Wind

Ok well I guess I'm over the whole frustration thing already. That was fast! The past few days have been great. I am starting to get really comfortable with the kids and the lessons that I've been teaching.

We had field day today with different schools and I ran into many "blasts from the past". It was like I was walking down memory lane...I saw the staff from the school where I was a Paraprofessional back in 2009 which sparked my interest in Special Ed, was overjoyed to see kids from my first Special Ed placement, and ran into the principal from my first student teaching gig. Looking back, I can say that I am proud of how much I've grown over the last 2 years. I went from being a shy and insecure aide to a confident "almost gonna be" teacher, ready to attack my very own classroom. It's exciting!

I've been sending job applications to a few different school districts (even though I have one that I rrrreeeaaallllyyyy want) and am trying to organize my notes and supplies so I can start planning as soon as I get a contract. It may seem like I am jumping the gun because I practically just started this placement, but I am 1/5 of the way finished here and there is only a month and a half until graduation/certification. Wish me luck :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let the countdown begin, por favor

While I am enjoying this placement, I find myself extremely frustrated at having to start all over again. I went from teaching full time to trying to "learn the ropes" all over again. I can handle the change in school, curriculum and staff, but having to learn how to teach to new students is really tough. I taught my first flub of a lesson today (well, in this setting anyway) and it was quite disheartening. Maybe the fact that I am only dealing with 5 students versus 25 is the thing that's the toughest for me to adjust to. "Good teachers are always learning and adapting"...this has been drilled into my head for years. What I am experiencing is normal, but that doesn't minimize the frustration. I'm confident that I'll get the hang of it soon enough. I just need to stay focused and remain dedicated to the students. Isn't that the real reason why I chose this profession? For now I'll keep plugging away, trying to remain true to who I am and to why I am here. That being said, only 34 more working days until graduation. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Looking On The Bright Side

Good morning world. Yesterday was my first day in my newest student teaching placement. It went well. I definitely missed my 2nd graders and mentor teacher, but am trying to stay positive and to look on the bright side.

The Jr. High kids are great. I have 5 students in the class that are full time, and one that comes in for Math instruction only. The overall environment for Special Ed is a fabulous one. I am confident that I will have the support needed to really enjoy this placement to the fullest. My newest mentor teacher is a doll. She ended our first day together with a hug, which was super duper sweet. She is dedicated to these kids and will have a lot to teach me about Special Ed.

I start teaching Science this Thursday. It's super quick, but I need to teach ASAP due to AIMS week getting in the way of teaching hours. Yay. =oP

All in all, looks like this should be a pretty good place for me to decide if self-contained is the way to go. I'm hoping the rest of my cohort is having a fabulous time with their new placements. We're almost done, guys!!