First Week of Joy

So I didn’t get to try everything that was on this calendar of joy this week, but I did get to try a few.

20 Ways in 20 Days Calendar Challenge _Angela Watson (1)

On Monday, I spent some time reading. I’ve been taking a lot of joy from reading and reviewing and writing about the books that I’ve been reading. This has made me feel as passionate about literature and reading as I was in high school, before I decided to major in English. Not to say that an English degree killed my love of books, but I didn’t have a lot of time to choose my own reading while I was working on my English credentials.

On Tuesday, I spent time alone to go over the lessons and gather myself. I have to admit that it helped a lot. A lot of my mornings have felt rushed; I wake up at 6am to shower and get ready. I’m at school by 7 or 7:30, where I head to the library and finish tweaking the lessons and talking to other school staff. This time, I prepared by myself, with my own thoughts before the over-stimulation of the class could hit me — and it helped!

On Friday, I didn’t get to make calls home, but I did practice writing positive comments for students on post-its and sticking it on their desks as they worked. I was wondering if the students were going to throw the notes away, and although some of them didn’t say anything in response to the notes, I was surprised to see that they held on to their notes as they moved around the classroom. Even as they allowed other papers to fall to the ground or shuffle papers as they looked at handouts and worksheets, they held on to the note.

I can’t wait to try more of these exercises next week! ūüôā

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Joy

Week 8 of student teaching ends tomorrow.

My students are working on their Socratic Seminar skills this week. Today, they tried it for the first time. I wasn’t sure how I expected the first round to go, but felt frustrated anyway when some of the students expressed that they didn’t know what was going on. My mentor teacher was there to reassure me and she pointed out that I should expect the first few practices to go this way, as they learn the process and procedures. She helped me to realize I needed to think more positively about my teaching, instead of fixating on the things that went wrong.

This last class seminar session, our professors let us know they weren’t seeing very much¬†joy in our teaching lately. They wanted to remind us that this is an important part of our self-care and stamina as teachers. Today, my professor sent us a month-long challenge (via Angela Watson) for March, filled with little tasks to practice¬†joy¬†in teaching.

20 Ways in 20 Days Calendar Challenge _Angela Watson (1)

Since the challenges are so manageable, I’m going to commit to following this calendar. Hopefully, I’ll discover something I can use when I’m on my own next school year! ūüôā

1st Month of Student Teaching

The first month of student teaching has been interesting!

My university¬†program expects a lot of us. They ask that we engage with 5 different field placement classes before entering student teaching. Every semester since sophomore year, we’ve been visiting classrooms twice a week to see how schools and teachers function in different areas. We never take on huge responsibilities, and once we enter our (3) practicum courses after we complete the O.P. courses, we are asked to teach a minimum of 3 lessons within a semester. We complete reflective pieces and research-based essays regarding the care and education of children and how we are going to apply this to our own practice. Many of us naively believe that this is what teaching is really going to be like and/or that we have any clue as to what teaching every day is really like.

After a month of student teaching, I realize how foolish I was! We know nothing!

…Okay maybe not “nothing”, but the difference between a¬†twice a week visit to a¬†classroom and the demands that come being there every day are VERY different.¬†I can’t believe our professors are generous enough to allow a¬†minimum¬†of 45 hours because it seems like¬†nothing¬†in comparison to the minimum of 450 hours we are required to log in 4 months! Last semester, I felt so proud of how much we had learned with our education program, and now I feel like I do not know enough! To be clear, we¬†did¬†learn a lot from our university program. The training, techniques, and education theory I have learned is helping me to think more critically about what is going on in the classroom than what I would have been capable of without any of that training. However, it feels like I’ve just been handed a much bigger pair of shoes to fill, and I have!

The first thing that began to overwhelm me was the daily drama that happens with being around so many children/teens at once and for such a long period of time every day. There always seems to be something happening! And besides that, how much the kids need you to be there daily. I think my emotional stamina has improved exponentially since I started 4 weeks ago! For me, this has been the most challenging part of the difference in time commitment.

While my main concern has been the emotional commitment, my colleagues in have been struggling with the unending workload, where they continue to take work home after they have completed the hours on their respective campuses. Besides this, it’s difficult to come up with engaging and interesting lessons every day. When you are the twice a week visitor, you can introduce a fun, well-thought-out, developed lesson plan that you have drafted, reviewed, and revised. When you are writing lessons every day, it’s much harder to give things time to mull over in your mind as you continue to revise and seek feedback from peers, professors, and mentors.

Regardless, this is still the most fun I’ve had in my bachelor’s degree program and the students make it worth it to show up every day! So far, I am realizing (as my mentor teacher has continually told me) that there are days that I feel great about my lessons and there are days that I feel not-so-great about them!

4 weeks down! 11 to go! Updates to come, hopefully?

#WhereIFindPoetry

My professor brought my secondary education, English content cohort to a Georgia Heard conference last month. Georgia started discussing a poetry activity to complete with students encouraging them to find poetry in their everyday lives.

My professor decided that we should start practicing this as well on Instagram, so she checked to see if the #whereIfindpoetry hashtag had been taken (it hadn’t), so we started posting. This turned out to be a long-term activity I really liked. I’ve been posting with my cohort every so often. Here are a few of mine I really like:

IMG_2658

Poetry is in the sunny days
spent under the cover
of tree branches.
You would think that
the outline of their shadows
were the falls of a living room.

 

 

 

 

 

I bought an umbrella.
One bursting with color and designIMG_2750
so when rainy days come,
I can replace the gloomy gray sky
With Van Gogh’s “Almond Flowers”.

“Real” TV Shows and Writing Revision

I’ve been watching a lot of Jane¬†the Virgin.¬†It’s a really cute show. My boyfriend hates it and grumbles whenever I watch it, complaining about the sound of the narrator’s voice and the plot of the story. I like it anyway. My not-so-guilty pleasure.

My taste in TV is varied. I like TV shows like¬†Grey’s Anatomy, House,¬†or¬†Norman.¬†You know the kind of TV shows that keep you on the edge of your seat, leaving you angry, confused, or crying after each episode. On the flip side, I also enjoy slow, relaxed shows like¬†Jane, New Girl, or Fresh¬†Prince.¬†I run to the quirky, light-hearted shows when the dramatic ones have successfully sucked all the life out of me.

My favorite thing about Jane, though, is that I relate to her in a way that I haven’t with any other TV show character. She’s a bookworm AND she loves to write. She eventually realizes her dream of becoming a published author. I just watched this episode where she got the opportunity to write a column about what it was like dating as a 26-year-old widow. She imagined that she was Carrie Bradshaw in¬†Sex in the City.¬†I like the way the way the show portrays the writing process, with an emphasis on revision, instead of a one-and-done writing process which is what is portrayed more in shows like¬†Sex and the City,¬†where Carrie often just sits down and writes. No revision.

I wonder if, as a result of social influences, we’re moving in the direction of more “real” characters. Not saying that this is a realistic show, but it does tend to make a mockery of the drama that is usually incorporated in TV shows (i.e. the narrator’s snarky comments). Of course, that drama is necessary for good storytelling, but it still made me happy to see the real writing process being portrayed in over-dramatic television shows…. Too nerdy? ūüėõ

 

Reading and Writing

It’s going to be crazy this week. I’m flying into Texas for one of my best friend’s weddings, arriving tomorrow (Monday) and then coming back early Wednesday, to arrive back in Hawaii just in time for class! I have a scholarship interview later that same evening! AND I need to have another draft in for my senior project paper by this upcoming Friday!

I have a professor that always tells us to “live our craft”, which is the “craft” or subject we are planning on teaching. For myself, that would be reading and writing. Since I’ve started working on my English degree, reading and writing have become a normal part of my life. However, I haven’t really taken the time to read and write outside of what my professors were assigning.

The past few weeks, I’ve been trying to make an effort to make time to read and write outside of my class assignments. I’ve created a blog dedicated to teaching and reading, in addition to this one, which I think is dedicated to more general reflections. It’s been helping me to feel more motivated to fill up the blog pages with content.

Onward…

So I didn’t take the time out during the summer to write on here. I had the time. I could have written, but I kept thinking I needed to write something significant. As I am working more with students, at the college and high school level, I realize that this isn’t true. Writing does not always have to have a significant purpose. Sometimes, you can just write and appreciate the simplicity of the words on the page (or screen).

I am in my last year of my bachelor’s degree, my double major in secondary education and English, finishing up my last two English classes and my last practicum classes. One of those English classes is my senior project and we are working on a unit that we will teach next semester during student teaching in the practicum block. Things are starting to feel very final. The climax of this story comes next semester, during student teaching.