Friday, December 11, 2009

Uh oh, the Witch is watching us

My student teacher is doing a wonderful job. She is about two-thirds of the way through her work sample and will be done next Thursday or Friday. She chose a lovely topic combining culture, music and travel which incorporated clips of Flamenco and El Norteño dance. She did a lot of research and planning and prepared a very nice unit. Unfortunately her supervisor told her halfway through that her post assessment needed tweaking, which really meant that she had to change the last half of her work sample and extend it by 4 days. So a little stress and a lot of support from me, she is back on track and doing a great job.

Anyhoo, for all my teacher friends out there, you know what I’m saying when I tell you that hands down, classroom management is the biggest challenge to a student teacher. This challenge carries on into the first couple of years as a new teacher and eventually works itself out, or causes the teacher to change professions.

My student teacher has definitely struggled with this but overall, I’m impressed with her management skills. The main thing that is missing is follow through. “If you continue to talk...then (fill in the blank with whatever consequence you want)”. Unfortunately, the consequence only happens once in awhile and usually in response to a pretty mild offense rather than to the main offender.

Again, all normal. The consistency comes with experience. I have a pretty rough class of seventh graders this year who challenge me some days, mainly because they refuse to shut up. Nice kids, not super motivated, and completely incapable of being quiet if you do something ridiculous like...turn to write something on the board. Or breathe.

I’ve been trying to give her a wide berth, and have only intervened in extreme cases because she is totally capable of handling things, she just has to bite the bullet and do it. Today was a really hard day, though. During 6th period, she was constantly being interrupted by chatter, kids were openly conversing with each other during lecture and shouting out constantly. I could tell she wasn’t going to finish the lesson due to the constant interruptions so I quietly got up and stood in the front of the room, leaning against the wall with my arms crossed in front of my chest. One kid started talking to a neighbor and I said his name aloud. Instant silence. Another kid said, “woah, go Mrs. Burel” to which I looked at him and said his name. Once. There were no other outbursts, comments, or chatter.

I said nothing else and didn’t move from the front of the room for the rest of class. The silence continued for the remainder of the lesson.

Somehow my demeanor and tone were scary enough to stop all goofiness.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reader's Block

I think God is trying to tell me something.

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I received a Borders gift card in the mail for $25 for filling out a textbook survey. This morning I received a gift card for Barnes and Noble from a good friend and I also got an email from that my next credit is available. One credit basically gets you one audiobook download. Yesterday I got an email from the library letting me know that the books I had on hold are waiting for me.

I haven't read a book since June. I started listening to books on tape over the summer on a couple of long car rides and now it is December, and I haven't read an actual book in half a year! And I'm part of a book club! Pretty sad. I was really excited about Harry Potter on tape but I haven't listed to that in a couple of days. Writers can get Writer's Block but what do you call it when you just can seem to start reading again?