Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week 6 and I'm still standing upright...

I'm not gonna lie. Week six about did me in.

Not the kids. Myself. I had so much self-doubt this week about things that had nothing, really, to do with teaching. More about how I felt about the way people communicate, and how my passion doesn't line up with reality sometimes.

Such as, I want so badly to help every single kid succeed. I want every single student to allow me to help them. But the fact is, some of them don't want to be helped. Some of them are simply content to maintain the status quo. Some of them simply don't care half us much as I care. And yet, there's still a part of me that thinks I've got to at least try to see if somehow it's our fault in how we present the material.

But as a student teacher, especially as a push-in student teacher for Special Education in a high school setting, I'm powerless to really do anything about that. Sure, I can encourage all I can, but I have no real power to make changes that need to be made for a student. And that is beyond frustrating because I'm a fixer.

I don't like being told that you can't save all of them. I don't like being told, "don't even try with that one. You'll never get anywhere. He's a lost cause."

I don't think anyone is a lost cause. Ever. I don't care how many times that kid has rejected all efforts. What if there's that one time that kid wants to try and we don't encourage him to? What if there's that one time we finally make a breakthrough?

See, maybe I'm too much of an idealist. I know it's a character flaw of sorts. As an INFP, that's how I perceive the world and attack it.

But that's also, I think, what makes me a good teacher. I can't be dispassionate about anything I believe in. And education is one of my greatest loves.

The entire week was so emotionally exhausting that I was more than happy to come home for the weekend. But it wasn't all bad. I had a very good evaluation on Thursday, when I taught a money math lesson. You can find my lesson plan here: Money Math Lesson.

Here's the rubric: Money Unit Rubric

And here's the money scoot game I used: What's in Your Wallet?

The students loved the SMART board game: Money Review Game

It made me feel really good that my clinical supervisor gave me a good evaluation and she seemed to really be happy with the activities I chose. Lesson planning isn't a weakness of mine by any means. It's probably my favorite part of teaching. I've often considered designing curriculum, or at least writing it. That's why Special Education appeals to me, too. I like figuring out activities and lessons that will engage students effectively.

On Friday, since it was homecoming, we cooked tailgating food: walking tacos and caramel dip for apples. The students did such a great job cooperating with the cooking. And it was all delicious!

Since it was homecoming week, the school had something extra going on with assemblies everyday. It really messed up our schedule, and I got more lessons in flexibility. The final pep assembly was pretty fun, though, if I must say so myself. The theme all week was The Hunger Games. In the last assembly, the teachers did a skit where they fought to win the hunger games. Weapons were things like swimming noodles and giant stuffed animals.

I think I'm over the hardest humps in this placement. I'm looking forward to this last week of teaching full-time. The following week (my very last week) I get to observe other teachers before moving on to my elementary school placement. In some ways this secondary school placement has flown by. In other ways, it's taken a long time.

I'm mostly frustrated at how tired I feel at the end of the day, and how much homework I have. It's not allowing me to get my other writing done. I'm not quite sure yet how I'm going to balance it all. How will I meet my writing deadlines and teach? I don't know yet. It's something I'm working out.

The teaching itself is going great. I love being with the kids and I'm dreading telling them goodbye. One thing I'll be focused on this week is figuring out a good goodbye activity for my last day. Makes me a little teary-eyed just thinking about. 

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