Sunday, September 11, 2016

Surviving Week 4 of Student Teaching
This was my first week of solo teaching. Which, in Special Education is sort of a misnomer because you're never flying solo, really. You have paras around and the kids with emotional disabilities have their mental health aids with them. But it was my first week being without the supervising teacher feeling like she had to stay in the classroom. Which is another misnomer because high school special education teachers are rarely in their own classrooms anyway. They're usually out and about in other general education classrooms helping calm behavior kids, in IEP meetinsgs, etc. That's what I'm not sure I'll like. I want to teach, but these days, high school special education teachers do a lot of social work.

The most fun thing I taught this week was how to scan QR codes. I taught the students how to add an extension to their Chromebooks that allowed them to practice this skill. I love the model of Chromebooks they are using because of the camera that rotates. The students were all issued the Lenovo N22 11.6" Chromebook. Not a Cadillac by any means, but it's impressed me on several levels. First, I didn't think I'd like the idea of using all things Google, but I have to admit, the ease of communication with students is awesome.

The case the school issued, the Maroo work-in cases, allow students to use the Chromebook while strapped into the case. This helps protect the cases. Students aren't allowed to remove their computers from the cases.

Originally I was supposed to be evaluated on Friday for the first time by my clinical supervisor. However, we had a fog delay of two hours, so my Life Skills class got cut by 2/3s which meant there wasn't enough time for the lesson. To prepare the students for using a QR code to access an online quiz, I needed to teach them how to scan one the day before.

They'd never done this before and had a blast. I made four QR codes that linked up to funny memes that made them laugh. So hopefully, on Monday when I have my evaluation, they'll remember how to use their Chromebooks to access the quiz. It's hard to know whether they'll generalize this skill or not. Even if they don't, it won't take long to refresh their memory.

One thing I'm nervous about is that a student was absent all week who is the most challenging and he'll likely be back Monday when I'm being evaluated. Should be very interesting! But this is what I signed up for, right?

I am having anxiety dreams about being evaluated which is ridiculous. I dreamed that I had to crochet a square into a grid (I haven't crocheted anything in over 30-some years) and then I had to click whether or not I was willing to be a recreational director. Say what?

But I am well-prepared. Over-prepared, actually. I do have a bit of a time issue with my presentation. I've decided to tell the students we will discuss some of the material further in another lesson. Hopefully that will be acceptable to the evaluator. We'll see.

What I was hoping to do was tie the lesson in with National Teddy Bear Day. And what do bears love to eat? Honey, of course! So my lesson is on honey. Well, since I can't tie it in with National Teddy Bear Day now, I'm tying it in with -- wait for it, wait for it...National Honey Month! Winning! How blessed can I get with that?

:::goes to PowerPoint and changes Teddy Bear slide to National Honey Month slide:::

Fails this week:
  • Not getting any of my editing done on my book.
  • Second-guessing myself/confidence issues.
  • Teaching math is scary for me. I have a phobia about it that's absolutely silly. 
  • Got tummy sick over the weekend and didn't have time for any homework or book editing.

Successes this week:
  • More at ease with rowdy 11th grade boys -- able to direct traffic better and keep them focused. Starting to connect with them. Remembering their names.
  • Prepared an awesome lesson on honey I can be proud of
  • Learned to navigate several different online lesson planning sites
  • Solo taught with success
  • Held my tongue with staff when I really wanted to spout off
I'll save most of my pictures for next week when I let you know how my evaluation went. But here's a teaser: 

Taste test set-up for Basswood honey.

Oh! And another win this week? My first teacher name plaque! 

Makes it look sort of official, doesn't it?

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