I have survived my first week at the middle school (okay, it was only four days, but I’m going to call it a week). So far, so good. My students seem pretty good, there are a couple that struggle with motivation, and a couple of little behavior issues, but nothing too terrible. With all of the horrible things that you hear about middle schoolers, I think I’ve got a pretty good group of kids. I know that frustrating times probably lie ahead, most likely in the area of motivating the students, but I am looking forward to the challenge.
The days don’t seem to be quite as intense as at the early learning center. It is amazing how big of a different the independence level of the students makes in your day. I’m no longer needed for bus duty or lunchroom duty. I don’t have to make sure that a student doesn’t over stuff his mouth and choke, and physically prevent students from licking the tray. This also brings the added perk that I have sucessfully made it through four whole days of student teaching without getting food or bodily fluids spilled, spat, wiped, dropped, or smeared on me. I also have time to use the bathroom every now and then (no kidding, at the early learning center, there were days when I only got the chance to take a bathroom break during my lunch) and a I have time to sit and relax a little while I eat my lunch (as opposed to gulping down my food as fast as possible so I could get back to my classroom.
Most of the four days was devoted to meeting the students and staff, trying to learn names, (I’m actually doing pretty good) and adapting to the new routines. I’ll begin teaching math lessons this coming week, so I’ve brought the math curriculum home to study and write lesson plans over the weekend (but on a cheery note, I do remember more algebra than I thought that I would).
The highlights of the week were probably one of my students, Justin, coming in to class early after lunch to discuss Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (he is reading the Harry Potter series for the first time), and playing hangman with Cory, our deaf student, during in-house (it is just like homeroom) so I could practice my ASL alphabet (which is improving, I’m sure that I will learn some more signs as the quarter progresses). Gilligan Thursday during in-house was also a pretty fun time (on Thursdays my cooperating teacher allows his students to watch Gilligan’s Island on dvd during in-house).
All in all, a good start so far!