Monday, January 23, 2012

Student Teacher and Deadly Doors

Today was my first day with my student teacher!  Wait--did I ever talk about that?  Hold on, let me go check----

Okay, I'm back, and from what I can see, I never explained the whole student-teaching thing.  I'll make this quick.  Student teachers are university students who have just finished their credentialing classes, but they now need "on the job training" in order to apply for their credential.  They are assigned to work with a master teacher for an entire semester.  In the beginning, they start off by observing only, but little by little the master teacher relinquishes control of the lessons and classroom management to the student teacher (that part is a little scary for the control-freak in me).  My principal asked me if I would like to be a master teacher for the second semester of school, and of course I agreed.  It was such a complement to be asked...it's not like principals choose the crappy teachers to represent their schools.

So today I met my student teacher for the first time (since I might talk about her again in the future, I'll dub her S.P).  S.P's a little on the shy side, but after introducing her to several different teachers and talking her ear off all day, she did start to warm up.  She's supposed to be in on everything I do as a teacher, so that's going to take some getting used to.  I love the solitude of coming into my warm classroom in the morning, turning on my iPod, making a cup of hot tea, and checking my e-mail.  It's that quiet before the storm.  Now I have to come into my classroom in the morning and make small talk with another person.  It's not a bad thing, it's just a break in routine that I'm going to have to adjust to.  Honestly, it feels like going from living alone for a long period of time, to suddenly having a room-mate.  There are lots of benefits to having a room-mate, such as always having someone to talk to and the general feeling of camaraderie; but it still takes time to acclimate to such a huge change.  Even the physical environment of my classroom has changed.  I had to pull out a row of three desks in order to fit in a nice, large teacher's desk for S.P, which resulted in some tweaking of my seating charts.  That was something I did out of the kindness of my heart--I figured since she was going to be with me for the rest of the school year, she'd like to have her own space.  I stocked it with a bunch of supplies (pens, post-its, etc.), and even made her a name plate.  I also had my students make her a giant "Welcome" card on Friday, and they all wrote really sweet messages on it.  That gave her a huge smile this morning.  Overall, I really like S.P. and I'm excited to have her in my classroom for the rest of the year.

On a somewhat related note, I've had a few accidents in my classroom the last seven days.  Last week, as I left my room, a student (thinking I was another student) slammed the door on me HARD.  When I reeled back from the impact and he saw it was me, he was immediately sorry.  He had been trying to play a prank on one of his fellow classmates.  But I still had to give him a referral because it was a purposeful act that could have caused injury (I was wearing boots that day, or else it would have thrashed my toes).  On Friday morning Ms. Whatsit's tail got trapped in-between two desks while students were cleaning up, and when a student shifted his desk, it squished her tail and ultimately she lost the tip.  That was a gory little mess.  She's healing up nicely though and should be back in the classroom this Wednesday.  It's sort of cute because the students are SO concerned about her and ask about her every period.  You would think it was their pet dog whose tail got circumcised.

Then today I slammed a student's head with the door.  What is up with that door?  It was right before homeroom, and I swung the door open to usher the remaining students inside the room.  Adrian was inside the deadly red circle right behind the door, and it hit him head-on with a loud crack.  I have no idea what he was doing back there, but the impact knocked him almost completely backwards.  His friends were standing around and he immediately tried to play it off as "no big deal", but it was obvious that he was feeling dizzy as he walked into the room.  I had him escorted to the nurse's office, despite his protests.  I called ahead, and when the counseling department picked up, I said, "Hey C, it's Jodi.  I just slammed a door into a student's head and--" but before I could finish, she started laughing so hard.  I wailed out,  "Wait, why are you laughing?!"  And she's like, "It just sounds typical!"  At any rate, Adrian is fine (parents planned to check for a minor concussion after school) and he has had a really good sense of humor about it.  He was the same student that shifted the desk that cut off the rat's tail that...(I just wanted to say "that" one more time. It was beginning to sound like a nursery rhyme), so he claims that I was subconsciously wreaking my vengeance on him.  I told him, "Yes Adrian, I sneakily peered out the window for twenty minutes waiting for you to walk up, hoping you would step into the red circle so I could clock you with the door."  But I have to admit, it WAS fun telling students all day, "Hey, get crackin' on your work lest I decide to bean you with a door too."  

And of course S.P. is watching all of this, taking notes.  Glad I'm not privy to the conversation she'll be having with her university mentor later.