26 March 2007

My first day in High School...

No, I don't mean I am attending High School for the first time, I started my student teaching at Putnam City High School today. I think I am really going to enjoy the older kids more than those 7th graders. While these kids will not be without difficulty, things simply seemed to be more laid back and low key than with the younger ones. It's amazing just how much they change in 3-4 years. The maturity level is truly different. I'm not sure I remember my 9th grade time as being that mature, but these guys (even the difficult ones) are much better than what I experienced in my first assignment.

The really sorry thing about this is now I have to learn the names and personalities and home lives of a whole new set of students. While that is not an impossible task, it certainly is not an enjoyable one. I am still looking forward to my own classroom where I have the same kids for at least one semester.

So, I am no longer a Cooper Cougar, I am now officially a Putnam City Pirate! Hopefully for longer than just this 6 week assignment. I would love to work there.

24 March 2007

38 today...ouch!!

I can't believe I am only 2 years away from 40. This getting old thing really sucks! I mean I don't feel like I am 38, I feel like I am about 25. (except for early in the morning when my back reminds me that I really am not that young anymore) Seriously though, it's not all that bad. I guess we in society have simply attached a stigma to 40 and in our 20's that seems so old! It is not looking that bad right now, though!

Anyway, it's another day and another year. Hopefully this will be a good one as far as jobs are concerned. At least I am finally graduating from college!

13 March 2007

A rollercoaster of emotions

Well the end of my first assignment has come (and gone). It's hard to believe that you can get to know more than 100 kids in such a short time. I am really excited to be back on campus for the week. It's good to see familiar faces and sights again; kind of comforting, actually.
Teaching at Cooper was a major roller coaster of emotions. It's interesting to look back at the past posts and see how my emotions changed from day to day. One day would be amazing where I could almost see the light bulbs come on all over the room when the look on their faces was "Oh! I get it!" Those are the times that I have come to live for and love. That is why I teach. Not to get summers off (although that is nice), not for the money (God knows it's not for the money), it is simply for the satisfaction of passing (at least some of) my passion for science on to people who still have time left in their lives to do something with it. I may not be an old man, but I am past the point of doing any amazing research, past the point of going to medical school, and past the point of becoming an astrophysicist. So, I can do all of those things through my kids. They still have time to do something with their lives. Time to make a difference in medical research or cosmology. Wouldn't it be ironic if one of the kids I teach later go on to find a cure for some unknown disease that I end up having? That's a cool thought!
Sure there were days when I thought, "No way will I ever teach middle school!" While that was true on that particular day, I did have many days that I thought "Wow! What a great day!" So which of them were more numerous? I have no idea. I believe I could be happy no matter where I end up. God has a place carved out for me and I simply have to be willing to accept His Will for my life, no matter the school setting. I thought that I might even not teach, but it looks like I am headed down the path of low pay, summers off, disrespectful kids, and the most satisfying job anyone could ever have.

05 March 2007

Holy super doody! The worst day ever!

Well, at the risk of sounding like an incessant whiner. I will simply say, today was, as far as classroom behavior is concerned, absolutely the worst day since I have been student teaching. My sixth hour couldn't shut up. The talked the entire hour to the point that I lost my patience with about 10 minutes left and I finally just ended class before I got really pissed off and said something I would later regret. Fortunately for them, and me, I stopped before I reached that point. Sometimes I wonder how we ever keep anyone teaching in the middle school. I can tell you unequivocally I am ready to go to the high school. Today inspired me to write a short little poem. I call it "The dirge of student teaching". Want to hear it? Here it goes:

I was ne'er
so glad to smell and hear,
the exhaust in the air,
as the buses drove away,
and took the kids home for the day.

04 March 2007

Another week already?

Here it is the last week of my assignment. Another week gone and nothing to show for it here on my blog. Pretty sad. I have not kept up with this at all the way I wanted to. I taught all week long and it was the most rewarding, tiring, exhilarating week of my life. To see the kids actually get interested in something we were talking about was so fulfilling! We started space on Wednesday and I began by introducing them to some things I think are important to remember. The other teachers liked it so much they wanted all of the seventh graders to hear it, so I taught each team for three successive days. It was awesome to share some of my passion about astronomy and help them realize they can all do it! They were very receptive to what I had to say and were engaged in asking questions and understanding things they already knew a little about. It was great! I am so looking forward to the high school and a dedicated astronomy class. I can hardly wait to get in the room with some upperclassmen who really want to learn about the universe. It promises to be a major challenge with equal rewards.