Monday, January 23, 2012

This Blessed Season

Student teaching continues to go well, and I'm learning more each day. Today as I was getting ready for school, my cooperating teacher texted me and said she was feeling poorly. She had called the principal of the high school, and they both agreed that I was perfectly able to handle the classes by myself today. So today was my first official day to sub all day long. It went pretty well. I had one student who, when he found out his work was not due until the next day, decided he didn't want to work on it in class. Well, we fixed that problem pretty quickly, and he ended up doing his work.

I found out later from one of the other teachers that some of the boys didn't like me. I told her that was fine. I'm not there to win a popularity contest. One thing I'm glad the education department instills in soon-to-be teachers is that we are not there to be the students' friends. I have friends who are my age. I don't need thirteen-year-old friends.

One thing I am enjoying about student teaching is that I am able to see how unique of a role teaching really is. The view I have now is not one I was able to see when I was a student. Even as a college student, one can't really see it. The school I'm in right now has a very low socioeconomic status, as I think I've mentioned in a previous post. Most of these students have to take on roles that parents should take on, but because of certain living arrangements and life circumstances, these students have no choice. A lot of these students have gone through things at sixteen years old that I will never experience in my life. It has really been an eye-opener.

One thing that I hope not to forget was something I was told before students ever came the first day of school. I was told that these students do not respond well to yelling. No one really does, but these students especially do not. They get so much of that at home, and when they hear it at school, they just shut off. So I am able to watch the students, watch how they interact, how they talk, how they learn to communicate and develop life skills. I watch the teacher I work with and notice how she uses calm logic to get her point across. I'm beginning to realize how unique this role of teacher is.

I get to take on a role that is different from any other adult role in these students' lives. I have the privilege to teach students about English and why it's so wonderful, but I also get to teach them about how to be good people and develop skills to do simple things like carry on a conversation or present their opinions in a proper way. I'm not these students' parent or a babysitter. I get to advise them, guide them, and help them with English but maybe about life in general as well.

I know I have so much to learn, but I hope that one day students will know that my classroom is a safe environment, that they can come to English and know that life is going to be okay. They may not be able to get away with whatever they want, but they will have structure, consistency, a firm hand, and love. Always love. That love may take different forms at times, but I hope I can begin to teach and think about how Jesus would teach, especially these students and in this type of school.

On a different note, my roommate and I have come to a conclusion, at least we hope we're getting close to this conclusion, that we want to begin looking pretty steadily for a place to live around the middle of March, maybe before, and that we would love to be moved out and beginning to get settled by the beginning of May. The family we live with is hoping to move by then as well, so we hope it will work out that we can move around then. Of course, us getting a place together is contingent upon where I get a job in the fall, but we know the Lord has a plan.

It seems crazy to think that in four months, I will no longer be a college student. I will be a graduate of Southwest Baptist University with a bachelor's degree in Secondary English Education. As a freshman in college, one thinks this time will never come. For a while, you just kind of think you'll be a college student forever. And then you begin student teaching and you realize the real world is just around the corner. But I'm excited for what the real world will bring. I'm excited to be able to start new and build new relationships and meet new people. And I'm excited to be making some money. However modest that income will be, it will be more than what I've made as a college student. And that's the goal right?

I cannot begin to describe the ways God has blessed me so far this semester, and it's only the fourth week back. On my first day of student teaching, I came home in tears because I was overwhelmed and stressed and thought I was going to fail. But now I know I'm going to make it. It's been an odd transition, but it's been good.

Well, I feel like I've written the start of a book, so I'm going to call it quits for tonight.

Until next time,
God Bless

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Student Teaching

The spring 2012 semester has started, and so far, it has been pretty good.

I've been in the classroom for two weeks now, and they have been two full weeks of learning and lesson-planning. My cooperating teacher is wonderful; I have learned so much from her. She is only about three years older than me, so it's very easy to relate to her. We have very similar personalities, so that makes working together nice as well.

The teacher I'm with teaches juniors, seniors, seventh grade, and eighth grade all in one day. She started me with the juniors this past Monday, and I have taught them all this week. They have participated and done very well in class so far, so I hope that continues through the semester. We do not have school on Monday due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but I will start teaching the seniors on Tuesday. Right now I'm teaching The Great Gatsby to the juniors, and I will start The Scarlet Letter with the seniors. My teacher has never taught The Great Gatsby, so I'm writing all the curriculum for the unit, including quizzes and the final test. Lesson-planning is going well. It's very different than just writing lesson plans for college classes. These are the real deal.

The school I'm student-teaching in is so different than where I went to high school. The socioeconomic level is so much lower, and most of the kids really have no support system at home. Before I went home for Christmas break, I went to the school to meet the teacher I'd be working with. I was able to see just a taste of what it would be like from that one visit. But never could I imagine the things I've seen and stories I've heard. It breaks my heart. My mom made mention over break that maybe this school is my mission field. I've prayed about going overseas and teaching for so long, but maybe what I've been waiting for has been right under my nose all along.

An added bonus is that the teacher I'm with is almost thirty weeks pregnant, so around March, I'll be taking over the classroom full time. That means I will get the pay of a long-term sub while student-teaching which is amazing because right now I do not have a job, even though student-teaching feels like a job.

It's so very different being a teacher. I like it though. I've met almost all the teachers in the high school, and because the school is so small, I know a lot of the students' names as well. And some of the students are learning my name, so that's a good sign.

Before I came back from break, I was dreading student-teaching. Now, I know God has me right where I am for a reason. He is good. As always, He knows what He's doing. Now, if I can only figure out all the details of grading, lesson-planning, loving and disciplining, and teaching, well, I'll have it made. But that may take a lifetime to figure out.

So yes, these first two weeks have been so good. I have enjoyed far more than I thought I would. I will try to keep you updated as the semester progresses. I'm sure I will have some fun stories to share.

Until next time,
God Bless