A Day in the Life of an Aspiring Teacher

Intensives in a nutshell

Posted on: November 22, 2010

My cooperating teacher has been great. She allowed me to take over her classroom completely, meaning she wasn’t even in the classroom most days. The fact that I have a co-teacher helped with her being able to leave the room, but nevertheless, it was very helpful for her to not be in the room. I was forced to make my own decisions and react to student’s comments and frustrations on my own. I, of course, could ask her about situations if needed, but having the students treat me like their actual teacher helped immensely.

I wanted to teach the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson since I wrote a unit plan last fall that included that book and The Absolutely True Diary of a part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Being able to actually teach it this semester was amazing, though my students didn’t react to it in the way I had hoped. A lot of my students had already read the novel so they knew what was going to happen. They also didn’t want to analyze Melinda or what was happening among her friends or the school. They all thought Melinda was dumb for acting the way she did, even after they found out about the rape.

I didn’t exactly choose to teach The Crucible by Arthur Miller, but my CT and Co-teacher decided it was something we should do (mainly because my co-teacher was teaching it in another class). I didn’t really have any say in how we taught it, though I did come up with a couple lessons. Pretty much my students hated it. They liked the movie okay, but hated the play. They especially hated that they had to read aloud. I graded them on their reading but mostly gave them credit for simply participating.

I realize now that I did give my sophomores a lot of assignments to do, though only because they are so apathetic and so many of them have issues keeping track of assignments. I gave them what we call a “roadmap” which is simply a list of questions we answer aloud in class while reading, a vocabulary packet, and journal assignments. We did journal assignments in class AND I gave them class time to work on their vocabulary, yet I barely got any assignments back. After that, they had a test over the book and a portfolio assignment where they got to choose from a bunch of different art assignments and 2 different essay topics.

Juniors had less to do but will be graded on a more difficult level. They also had a portfolio art project and an essay, along with a final Test over the play. They took quizzes for each act and had a roadmap that included vocabulary.

The craziest things happened outside of assignments though. I had a student lose his father at the beginning of the school year. Another student’s father left the family a few weeks ago. Another student lost her mother and father in a murder-suicide. I had a student in Juvenile Detention for 3 weeks, and a student that attended a special program for students that have one more strike before Alternative school. One of my students had a baby, one found out she is pregnant, and one’s girlfriend had her baby a month and a half early. Oh, and one of my students found out he has cystic fibrosis. EDIT: one more thing- I had a student write a personal narrative that elaborately described his girlfriend giving him a blow-job and having sex with him. Very awkward.

So in all that craziness, I was actually able to teach a few of my students a couple of things. I finished teaching on Friday November 19, but I still have 11 days to observe left. It’s definitely going to be bittersweet when I leave. I hope to return next Fall, since they have someone retiring, but I just don’t know if I will get the job. I really want to because I like it here and I know I will miss my students and coworkers. So now I only have my portfolio to finish before I graduate.

Oh, and grading about 270 projects and 150 essays.

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