Saturday, August 20, 2016

I survived my first week of student teaching!

What a week it was!

I am student teaching for special education at the junior high and high school level at Manchester Community Schools in North Manchester, Indiana. My first day was baptism by fire, and I loved every second of it.

The first day of school was Tuesday, August 16. I'd already spent about ten days at the school helping my supervising teacher get ready. There was much to be done since she is the special education department chair for 7-12 grade. And since there was also a huge change in the daily schedule and a large staff turnover, she had copious amounts of administrative duties to take care of.

One of the biggest hurdles she had to cross was making sure each student had the support they needed in every class. That's an enormous job. Honestly, I don't know how she keeps it straight. She only has X number of para-educators to go around. And now, with the school starting a new program called Student Resource Time (SRT) each student gets a 30-minute period a day to get academic support while the teachers collaborate in their respective departments.

She had to work closely with the administrators to get all the kinks worked out in arranging for paras. Not only for the regular SRT, but also for the special education students. She also had to make sure those students who needed a 1:1 staff person were covered. I don't know how she did it, but somehow, she got it all on paper. I won't go into the other stresses she experienced with disgruntled staff, but we all know that when there are major changes, there's going to be someone who's unhappy. We humans like our routines and are pretty good at voicing our displeasure.

On the Monday before school started, the school had a teacher's meeting and they went over all the changes and more. I left still confused about how the schedule was going to work, and to be honest, I still am. When I understand it well enough to explain it, I will do so in a later post.

While the students are in SRT the teachers then go to PLC: Professional Learning Collaboration. I'm fascinated by this idea and process. And I find myself extremely eager to get involved. But down, girl, down! You're a student teacher, not part of the team (yet)!

I also got to meet my clinical supervisor who will be evaluating my teaching. I love her! I am so,  so, so blessed to have the input of two very professional teachers and administrators. Really, I struck gold in terms of having the very best to learn from.

Some super hilarious things happened while the supervising teacher (I'll call her RB for the purpose of this blog) and I were preparing. She had a ton of computer problems, and well, her computer managed to shut down three out of I think five of the school's printers. It kept shooting paper out full of code after she'd only sent one little document to them. We looked like Lucy and Ethel trying to get the copiers to stop. I've not laughed that hard in years.

In future posts I'll share some of the ideas I implemented, and how the first days went. I'm so blessed to have a supervising teacher who leads with an open hand. She listens, appreciates my ideas and is willing for me to try them. That really makes my experience tons of fun and whole lot easier. 

How was your student teaching experience? I'd love to know! 

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