Catching Up, Part 1

October 28, 2007 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

Every day, I’ve got something new and fantastic to blog about – but I rarely have time, and so I tell myself “I’ll write about that later,” but by the time Later comes around there is something new to write about, and great stories go untold forever.

Well, “great” might be an overstatement, most of the time. I might be able to tell you whether or not they were truly great, if only I could remember what they were…

I’d be remiss to myself (since this is supposed to be a repository of memory and experience for me) if I didn’t at least say SOMETHING about teaching last Thursday. Er, two Thursdays ago, I guess. DR was taking her comprehensive exams for her MA in Educational Technology, and the sub they hired is one of my fellow intern teachers. I’ve been checked out by the district as a substitute, so we were able to rig up an arrangement where my classmate stayed in his own classroom and taught, and I stayed in my classroom and taught.

Solo.

On block day.

I usually don’t get to CHS until second period, but because this was block day I had to be there for first period… and because I was teaching for the first time, I got there extra early to prep. Fear is pretty good at helping you wake up, as it turns out. (I actually wouldn’t categorize what I was feeling as fear, but it’s the easiest way to describe it.) Then the first bell rang, and in came second period – mine, all mine, for a full two hours.

I’m having a hard time remembering exactly what I’ve said here about 2nd period, so let me sum them up in two words: disturbingly catatonic. There’s fifteen kids in the class, and they’re all fantastically bright, but they don’t speak. Not to each other, not to teacher, not even to themselves or the voices in their heads. They don’t make eye contact. They don’t raise their hands. It’s like a ghost classroom, and DR and I are the mediums struggling to connect with the dead.

Now it was just them and me, for two hours, locked in an epic struggle over who would do the bulk of the talking that morning.

The funny thing is, they did. They opened up and talked and worked with one another a little bit. They never got anywhere near as alive as any normal class, but it was a significant improvement.

We had a full agenda, including a vocab test that we took using clickers, classroom reading of the first section of Antigone, and a small group activity that I later discovered I totally botched.

While the kids read parts from Antigone, I revamped that section of the lesson in my head, figuring out what was and wasn’t working. When fourth period came in and finished their vocab tests, I had them change their desk layout so that the readers were facing into the class rather than being scattered around the room reading to the whiteboard. I wanted them to stand up and act it out, but wasn’t sure if it would turn into a disaster or not.

Then it was lunchtime, at which point I came to the conclusion that if teachers were going to have to teach two hours per class, they ought to get a twice-as-long lunch as well.

I wrapped up the day with sixth period, which is definitely my most boisterous and fun class, and then – seven or so hours after it started – my day was over.

(Well, except for the four hours of class I had to attend that night.)

Final verdict?

I LOVE this.

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Into the Lions’ Den Teachers, and the People They Are

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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

I am striving to maintain anonymity on this blog so that I may more freely interact with my fellow edubloggers. If you know who I am, please help me protect my anonymity in your comments. I use pseudonyms or initials for everyone I write about to preserve their anonymity as well.




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