Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day of School

Unfortunately, I can't say this will last, but for today it has. I feel like God has blessed me so much to put me in a major and school that I absolutely love. When I'm not teaching I think of all the things I want to do, like design and making crafts. However, the reality is I like doing those things for myself. If I had to design for someone else I'd go crazy because I don't want to create things based on what other people want. With teaching, however, I could see me doing this for years (hopefully this isn't just the honeymoon stage).

Well, as I said I'm going to put up what I wear to class. I'd like feedback on my outfits! If you see something that you don't think a teacher should wear or that makes me look too young let me know! Now, I'm not going to dress inappropriately - I'm not that kind of person - but I'd like feedback! Today I wore a pinstripe shirt that has a bow that ties that I was given for free by my awesome roommate and fellow high school teacher, Hannah. The pants I'm wearing I bought at a thrift store in Kentucky. My webcam doesn't do my outfit any justice, but the pants are REALLY nice. I actually bought a few pairs before I started back because I'm teaching every day now. Thrifting advice I give to you is to look at thrift stores for dress pants before you go to a real store (hopefully Ally at Fever Thrift* will appreciate this --also check out her thrifting blog it's awesome! AND she's also another teacher in my classes). More often these pants are cheap and in much nicer condition than jeans you would find, at least the dress pants I looked at were all in great condition.

On to the first day. It started with a clap in. All the teachers stood outside and clapped for the news students. There was a balloon arch and the principal was welcoming everyone. It was kind of corny but cute. I'm not going to talk in detail about every class because, honestly, it was pretty boring. There were also some problems on the administrative level that should have been worked out that caused problems through out the day. However, it didn't really disrupt the flow of our own classroom. For one, they gave us a bell schedule that they didn't even follow, so my teacher would be talking and the bell would ring mid sentence which makes it hard because he's really good at time. Another problem was that they put down the wrong classroom number so a lot of students went to the wrong room which caused them to show up late and miss some of the material they needed.

My job today was to greet students as they walked in the door. One thing I need to work on, like I said, being assertive and not timid or shy. When I'm around friends I'm pretty outgoing but around new people I tend to shy away. However, when I made the decision to be outgoing I really was. I welcomed students and told them what they were to be doing while my mentor teacher stood outside and kept people from coming in if they were not in uniform. The school has a uniform policy and one thing my teacher does it will not allow students to come in without the correct uniform. He won't even let students tuck in their shirts inside because it is so easy for them to just walk in and forget about it and it causes more classroom discipline issues than there needs to be. I also took attendance and got to put it in the computer. You should have seen me trying to figure out how to put everything in the computer though... haha it was hilarious. I also collected summer homework, which was confusing because 1. I didn't know what to expect, and 2. I was given papers from some people and not others and some turned in some sheets but not others. It was a mess, but I got it all covered.

Like I said in an earlier post, my mentor teacher is huge on procedures. He spent all 5 classes describing procedures for warm ups, homework, start of class, etc. He has an opening phrase that either one of us will say once the bell rings and that is "30 seconds. Have a seat please and thank you." This way students will know they need to be seated, quiet and ready. He even explained what he meant by seated quiet and ready. Even with high school students you need to be explicit with what you want from them. One thing I noticed he does a lot of is praising. Praising for everything! If students are quiet while doing their warm ups he stopped the class and thanked them for being silent and even told them to notice the silence. Also, this way students we shown that they CAN be silent during the warm up, so he can pretty much use it against them if they start talking later in the year. He likes students to raise their hands, so when a student does he praises them and says explicitly what he is praising them for. If a student answers a question without raising their hands he reminds the class that he answers questions by students who raises their hands. I like that he doesn't explicitly point out that one student or give them a hard time. Also, when he would explain how he wanted the warm up set up both of us would walk around and make sure the students were doing it exactly how he wants them. Honestly, it was a pretty boring day. The repetition of doing something 5 times is draining, but it was a successful day.

At the end of the day my mentor teacher asked me how it went. I told him I was surprised with myself because I was more outgoing than usual. He went on to say that he thought that I was fantastic and that we have great chemistry together in the classroom. It's really true though. We are a great team. He's been teaching for 13 years and he told me that he thought, "What would I have done without Miss Albert?" But it's so true because there is so much a teacher has to do that first day like attendance and tending to late students that with me there he didn't have to break stride because I was there. I told him I really appreciated that he let me come in 2 weeks early because I actually felt like I was part of the staff and that it was my room too. If I had just been there yesterday I definitely would have felt like I was imposing. He told me that he really appreciated the feedback and he had a lot of teachers make fun of him for having the intern come in 2 weeks early to do work, but now he knows that it was successful. I really like that our relationship is such that we can talk about this kind of stuff and give each other feedback. I also like our team teaching strategy. UC wants interns to take 2 or 3 classes all by themselves, but my mentor teacher is totally against that because teachers will never get a chance to co-teach, so for me to be given this opportunity is really great. I will have the rest of my career to be thrown into a class by myself on the first day, but to be given the opportunity to be shown the ropes will help me my first years of teaching.

All in all I'm so thankful for this opportunity. I'm so happy right now. Let's just hope I can say that in 5 weeks!

1 comment

  1. WOO HOO! I'm so happy that it was such a great day!!I love how you described your mentor teacher's procedures, I need all the info like that I can get :) Your outfit is awesome! I think it's a good idea to dress a little more "professionally" on the first day (maybe to represent a little more power or something?). And, OF COURSE, I appreciate the shout out and thrifting recommendation! (Do you think it would be possible to make the body text of your posts bold? I absolutely love your new background, I think the text might stand out a little more if it was in bold?). I am thrilled that you're updating this so often. Reading about your experiences is the best.

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