Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Weeks In

Well vacation came and went, school started, routines changed, tears fell, summer ended...and that brings us to now. 

I've been officially student teaching for three weeks now.  So far things are going well.  I am more exhausted than I've ever been, perhaps with the lone exception of the weeks prior to being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, several years ago.  In case you didn't know, keeping pace with 24 six-year-old children and then coming home to a 16-month-old toddler on a daily basis has a tendency to deplete your energy!

Overall my placement is good.  I mostly enjoy my time at school and am happy to (finally) be applying some of the knowledge I've been spending the last few years accumulating.  Today I got to do some real teaching, which consisted of reading the children a book and going over some math and grammar worksheets with them as a whole group.  Up to this point, I've been feeling rather like a (slightly) glorified secretary.  Not that I mind doing some of the prep work when that's needed but it was becoming quite excessive for a minute.  There have also been some scheduling issues, which are completely out of my control. 

There's been a lot of stress surrounding the time of day the children are slotted to go to their "specials," which are subjects like art, gym, music, technology and media.  They go first thing in the morning, which means all the academic subjects have to be crammed into one long afternoon...NOT a good arrangement for first graders!  Since I'm required to do two student teaching semesters--one for elementary education and one for early childhood education--I'm currently at the school for three full days and two half days each week.  These (along with daycare arrangements, my husband's work schedule and our car sharing arrangements) have been in place since late August.  It's not logistically feasible for me to make any major changes to my schedule at this point, which basically means I end up missing out on a big chunk of the academic schedule with the children on two days of my work week.  Granted, this is a bummer but it's not something that will be detrimental to my placement and my learning this semester.  I'll still have plenty of opportunities to observe and teach all of the subjects, not to mention the fact that I will be working five full days during the two weeks when I'm teaching my unit.  There has been so much stress surrounding all this and it's very frustrating, for all parties involved.  With the support of my college supervisor, I finally had to directly state that a schedule change was not possible for me.  It was tough for me to speak up like that, since I want to shine in my role as a student teacher but it was essential.  Once that conversation was over, some of the stress eased.  It's still a daily challenge but the stress is no longer directed at me and my schedule, which is a huge relief.

Whew!  That was unintentionally long-winded.  I'm required to keep a paper journal as part of my student teaching experience and of course, I've been writing about all this (and then some) in that.  I didn't expect to have so much to say about all this here but it just kept coming.  Stream of consciousness I suppose.  In any case, I'm done for tonight.  Time for me to go get ready for tomorrow and then get some much needed sleep.  All the stress and exhaustion aside, I do love getting up in the mornings, knowing I get to spend my day with youngsters.  I feel that my time is valuable and purposeful now, in a way that it really never has been before.  I can't imagine how great I'll feel when I reach the point where I'm actually getting paid to do something I love so much...hang out with children.  First graders are so very sweet!       



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