23 January 2007

My first day at school

Today was my first day at Cooper Middle School; the beginning of my first student teaching assignment. It was a great first day! I learned about zero kid's names (give me a break there are 90 or more), I already know who my special kids will be (those requiring more attention than others), and I met about 20 teachers who all expect me to remember their names, too. On top of that, when I went out to my car to leave school, it would not start! It might just be the starter, but it could be more serious. In all seriousness, it really was a good day.
Today was so much different than all of the observations I have done. First, I was there all day; that was different because I got to see what a day in the life of a teacher is actually like. I think I was most surprised at how much "free time" they have. Now I know it's not really free time, but it is time to plan, grade, gather your thoughts, and think about what you might have done differently during the last hour.
I am very impressed with my cooperating teacher; she seems to really have it all together. She is a seventh grade teacher and has been teaching for more than 5 years. She has her national board certification and she is very patient with the kids. In fact, I probably should pay close attention to how she handles the kids in class. I think she is less strict than I am and that is not necessarily a bad thing. I tend to be quite demanding of kids when it comes to classroom behavior and I may have to ease up or go insane.
I felt like I had the subject matter in hand better than I thought I would. We are working on genetics and I think I could have taught the lesson after the first or second hour. Mrs. N. told me there will be occasions when I am unfamiliar with the subject matter and in that case I will just have to learn along with the students. The advantage is I have the book! With all of the answers even! Pretty cool!
I am excited to be in class with a few students with which I am already familiar. There are one or two in each class who have ridden my bus in the past. Knowing some of their background will enable me to better understand who they are as a person and what they might require as a student. Many of the kids at this school come from below poverty level socio-economic status. This affects all areas of their life, especially school. Most have no support from parents, so all work has to be done at school. I really have a heart for these kids and hope I can make a difference in their lives.

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