24 February 2007

The week in review

This past week student teaching was the most interesting yet. I actually fulfilled the long awaited "takeover" of the class on Wednesday. It was a momentous occasion when the students began to ask where the teacher was and when she would be back. The look on their faces was worth every dreadful hour I spent sitting in my chair wondering what I would do differently, given the opportunity. We are still finishing up genetics for the first two days of next week, but then we start space on Wednesday. I am pretty excited to be able to share some of my passion for astronomy with the students. I hope I will be successful in that. It's a tall order since they are just getting used to me, but I'll do my best. It's hard to believe I only have two weeks left there, but it's exciting to think about going to the high school. It is not, however, exciting to think about learning 100 new names of students. Oh well, such is the life of a teacher.

I was able to exercise a little of my classroom management techniques on the class this week. It's been interesting to see how these kids react to me versus the normal teacher. My naturally loud voice really gets their attention when I choose to use it. It is usually followed up by "Mr. Bowie, why you yelling at us?" To which I reply, "You guys haven't heard me yell yet!" I try to be light hearted about that even when I feel angry. It's a real trial to not let the kids get the best of me. It's actually much more difficult than I thought it would be.

Stay tuned for updates on how my job search (had an interview this week) is going and how my last two weeks in middle school goes. Thanks for reading.

20 February 2007

Just some ramblings about church

This past weekend at church was a great time. Pastor Tony spoke about anger and how we, as Christians, should and do handle it. I left church with some real conviction in my heart and that hasn't happened in a long time. I felt that I don't always deal with my wife/kids in a manner pleasing to God when I am angry. I have had some things to pray about and talk with my family about since Sunday and that has been a great time to draw closer together.

Sunday night we continued our time in Soul Cafe with striving for an understanding of God's will for our lives as college students. I don't know about anyone else, but I am stressed about finding a job when graduation is over. It's crazy but I am worried that I won't be able to find the right one. When I begin to feel that way, I stop and pray. I thank Him for bringing me this far through school, even at my age, and remember that He has a plan for my life. I remind myself that to the best of my knowledge, I am in the center of His will and as long as I work to hear what He is telling me through scripture, prayer, circumstances, and the church, He is faithful to answer me when I call to Him. While leading this series during Soul Cafe' I have been so blessed to begin to understand just how to hear God when He speaks. The single most important thing I have learned so far is to stop and listen. Sometimes it is hard to hear what God has to say when there are so many other things vying for my attention.

God, please help me to remember to stop and hear you when you speak. Even though there may be other things I need to do, help me to remember each day to listen for your voice in my life and to keep you a number one priority! Amen.

12 February 2007

The father of "develop over time"...

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin! If Darwin were alive today, he would be turning 198 today. Not too bad for a guy who sailed around the world on a ship propelled only by sails, the HMS Beagle. This man turned the scientific community on it's ear when he proposed the idea that species change over time after he studied many different species in the Galapagos Islands, particularly finches. Interesting that such a non-descript man would study such an ordinary species and cause such a stir, the repercussions of which are still rippling throughout the biological community today. Kudos to a great scientist who, despite persecution was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in.

What a terrible day...

What is the deal? Was it a full moon last night? Those seventh graders were insane today! Every class, even the ones we don't normally have trouble with, were crazy. They would not sit down, they would not be quiet, they would not stay on task for more than a minute or two. I really don't know what it was today, but there was something strange going on.

So, how is my student teaching going you ask? About the same. I am in observation hell. I haven't done anything in front of the class to speak of. I got up today because the teacher was called out of the room on an emergency at a time when she was actually "teaching". I simply stood up and took over. When she came back in, and I had a moment to stop, she took over again. It's the strangest thing. I almost think she doesn't want me to teach in her room. Maybe she is weirded out by me being in the room? Maybe she lost her groove? Maybe I have interrupted the space time continuum? I don't know! And frankly I am beyond asking myself the question anymore. It's pointless. Why stress over something I have absolutely zero control over?

So, does that answer your question about how my student teaching is going?

06 February 2007

Time is getting away from me...

Here it is Tuesday already and I haven't written anything this week. So here goes:

I am getting into a routine at school, knowing the kids better everyday, and was able to meet some parents last night. We had parent-teacher conferences and I needed to sit in on at least some of them. We were at the school for 12 hours yesterday. Long day! I got some good face time with parents, though. It was good experience to see how to intereact with parents who are pissed that their child is failing your class. Some parents were good, i.e. ready to do something with the student, and others came in on the defensive. My cooperating teacher and the geography teacher were both really calm and expert at calming the parents down. It was not a surprise that some parents get a different story than what is actually happening at school. I don't understand student's thought process when they lie to their parents. I guess they think there won't ever come a day of reckoning, and for many it never does. It's so sad to see troubled kids who know their parents/guardians will never make the effort to come to the school and find out why their kids are doing poorly in school.

I heard a great quote last night by the geography teacher concerning parents and kids. It was "Kids mirror parents just as a dog mirrors it's owner." That is so true! It makes me laugh. Now I could never tell Mrs. Smith that because she might think I were calling her daughter a bitch. While I might think that is how her kid acts, I could never say it. :) Parents (myself included) don't take a comparison between their child and an animal very well.

So, now I am not only learning how to deal with kids, I am learning what to do with parents as well. It's great knowledge to have and I hope I can retain some for future reference. Kids in the classroom are one thing, but parents? There is nothing you can do for them except talk. Many hear you, but not a few never hear what you are saying because they are too busy thinking about what they are going to say in return.

02 February 2007

Kids in the classroom

It is so hard to find the "happy medium" when it comes to discipline in the classroom. I have found that my cooperating teacher is much more lenient than I am when it comes to discipline. That being said, where do I fall when it comes to discipline? Especially when I am not teaching yet? Do I correct even when she does not? Do I assume that she doesn't hear everything that is going on? I used to think I had bad hearing, but if I am hearing stuff that she's not? Maybe I'm not as old as I thought I was. It is entirely possible she has begun to tune things out, too.
I haven't answered my question, though. Do I just give up on some kids and accept the fact that they are going to disrupt my class and act like little pricks? Obviously I am talking about boys here. There are a couple of boys (one of whom I am friends with his mom and dad which makes things doubly complicated) who ignore what the teacher says, have to be told several times to sit down and stay on task, and simply get up and walk around the room for no apparent reason other than to talk with other boys. My teacher is definitely not as strict about this walking around stuff as I would like to be. Maybe she has tried to fix the problem but the kids refuse to cooperate? No, I refuse to believe that. It's not possible. I am still naive enough to think I can make a difference in lives and that kids will do just what you expect them to. I hope I never loose that. Kids will rise to whatever expectation you set for them. If you think they are going to misbehave, they will; however, if you think they can achieve, even at the lowest level, they will. I refuse to think that there are unteachable, unreachable kids. Every student that walks through my door will take something away from my classroom. It's up to me, at least in part, whether that one thing is positive or negative.