Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Take it to the limit one more time.

Week numero 3. Wait a minute, this is my third week?! Already?! Seriously?!?!
Being that I am a dual certification major, I will only be in this current placement for a total of 8 weeks. Let's do the math here for a second:
8 - 3 = 5....FIVE! What the what?!?!? Well no wonder why I feel stressed out and exhausted!

This week I am handling morning work, transitions, small groups, whole group FUNdations (phonics), and whole group reading. This puts Mrs. B in charge of the kiddos from 7:58 until 11:00. The past two days have been nutso.
Day 1 - Scramble to get through homework folders, getting lunch count, passing out Apple Valley Pioneer Simulation points, lead two small reading groups while helping other kiddos with their morning work....all in 40 minutes. Did it happen?? No.
Running 20 mins behind, I start my first ever lesson in FUNdations thinking "sure I can bust this out in 20 minutes and get reading started". Did this happen? NO! Again, running behind.
Unfortunately, this was the story of my morning. Forever staring at the clock as the minutes are just flying by. I felt TERRIBLE when I finally finished my (first ever) reading lesson, which just so happened to run 40 minutes later than it should have...thereby pushing my Mentor Teacher's writing lesson 40 minutes behind. Sorry! :( But the kids sure knew their reading vocabulary inside and out by the time I was done with them. That's some consolation.

Day 2 - I wake up with a "can do" attitude and tell myself that no matter what happens, I WILL stick to the time schedule. I get through the morning routine with perfect timing and start FUNdations...ugh, did I really just run over again?! This gives me 30 minutes to build background knowledge, review vocab, let kids preview & predict the story, read the weekly story (while discussing each page), and allow for a closure. Needless to say, I ran over again. Somehow I only ran 20 minutes into the writing lesson, so I didn't feel as bad as I did on Monday.

I am determined to meet my time constraints for the rest of the week. My Mentor Teacher has been awesomely supportive and keeps reminding me that this is only my second day completely handling the mornings, which I do need to remember.

Other than the crazy race against the clock, I am still thoroughly enjoying my time in the 2nd grade classroom.

Cute little story: The students were introduced to "time" in math yesterday. My Mentor Teacher did an activity with the whole class which had them simulating a clock. For example: 12 students stood in a circle and held a number (1-12) to represent the numbers on the clock. 2 students stood in the center, one acting as the minute hand and the other as the hour hand. The class loved it and had a lot of fun. The one SpEd student in the class absolutely hates math. After the clock activity, he asked "when are we going to do math?" and his voice was lined with dread. He looked completely shocked when the teacher told him that we were doing math :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around.

My first week of student teaching was:
  • amazing
  • crazy
  • fun
  • busy
  • exhausting
  • invigorating
and soooo much more. I expected to spend the entire week observing but knew as of day uno that I needed to be ready to push the envelope...to be ready and willing to break out of my comfort zone in order to really make the most of this experience.
After my second day (which ended at 6:30pm due to a professional development seminar I attended) I came home to a house full of sick family members. Looks like the flu decided to visit. Gotta love the timing! Although it does look like it's passed me by for now...thanks immune system!! You are awesome possum!
Day 3 - My teacher had to leave to get her son from school on an emergency, so I ended up TEACHING. Talk about being thrown into things! I was left to my own devices for a good hour and a half, with sporadic visits from the school social worker (for legal reasons). And guess what? I managed to keep the kiddos in line and get everything that needed to be done, done. If that isn't a great confidence booster, then I don't know what is!
The rest of the week progressed smoothly and I welcomed the three-day weekend with open arms.
Week 2 has been a joy so far. The second grade classes are participating in a pioneer school reenactment until next Wednesday. The students dress up like little pioneer children (ADORABLE), bringing their lunches in baskets and pails, and pretend like we are in a pioneer school. It's a lot of fun and makes me kind of wish I could land a perm job in 2nd grade :)
My responsibilities this week have stepped up quite a bit. I'm in charge of all morning rituals, transitions, small group RTI instruction, and phonics instruction this week.
My biggest concern is the phonics instruction....don't laugh at the reason why though.... we drill sounds and every time I've practiced one particular sound, I manage to mess up quite badly! The drill is "s.h. ship sh". Now imagine what I could mess up here!!! AH! Let's just hope it goes accordingly tomorrow and I don't end up cussing out a bunch of kids.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 1: All Systems Are Go

There's no turning back now! I just finished the first day of my first student teaching placement. I am feeling so incredibly optimistic about the next 8 weeks. My mentor teacher is amazing! I never imagined a 2nd grade classroom could be so fun yet orderly at the same time! If any of you know me, you are well aware of the fact that I am a bit obsessive compulsive when it comes to school. It looks as though I've found a placement teacher that will be able to appreciate all the extra time and effort I put in to making things "perfect."

It's the whole "teaching" business that has my stomach in knots. I feel so unprepared for daily instruction...I cannot fathom what it will be like to fluidly and confidently teach these students as the day progresses. In the past, I have taught lessons while (religiously) adhering to a script that I practiced days prior, and usually flubbing those up (aka the whole -ing, -ang, -ong lesson). Now I get to experience what it will be like to teach 6 lessons a day, 5 days a week...with little to no practice. AH!!

I think this experience will be a big wake up call for me. My hopes are that, even though I may struggle and possibly cry at times, I will walk away from this with newfound courage and the belief that I am a great teacher. I couldn't have asked for a better first day! :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

You may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

Over the past year and a half I have written lesson plans-a-plenty, stressed incessantly over tests, pulled research papers out of thin air, read (or briefly skimmed) countless text books, and experienced a variety of intern placements. By far the most exciting part of this journey has been playing the part of "Mrs. B". I fell in love with 26 2nd graders, despite their boundless energy that left me completely drained with a splitting headache once a week. A massive chunk of my heart was left with students in the resource classroom that first sparked my passion for special education. The junior high classroom that brought me to tears on many occasions also provided me with the certainty that these kids needed me, just as much as I needed them.
Now that I am going to start student teaching, I feel just as nervous and unsure as I did my very first day of my very first placement. How fitting that my first 8 weeks have me revisiting a 2nd grade classroom!