Posted in guest blogger on January 27th, 2008 9 Comments »
[This week's guest blogger is Dan Meyer, a 21-yo student teacher from Sacramento who doesn't realize he'll one day consider six hours of sleep to be rather extravagant.]
Approximately eight hours for classes (in which I teach and am taught), four or five hours for prep work and homework, I've got a scant six hours in which to sleep, and I try to scrape an hour out of the remains in which to lift weights at the rec hall. I've never been this busy. I'm hoping that things will reach a steadier state for me because I'm burning out fast.
And it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't feel like such a failure. I had a real bad day on Thursday, wherein the class kinda ran all over the place, all over me, and didn't do their assigned work. At least my supervising teacher happened to be there for his bimonthly review visit. I mean, at least there's that.
When I apply for teaching jobs, when they ask for three adjectives to describe myself, I won't hesitate: incompetent, discouraged, burned-out.
Posted in guest blogger on January 26th, 2008 Comments Off
[This week's guest blogger is Dan Meyer, a 21-yo student teacher from Sacramento who really doesn't have a clue what he's stepped in this time.]
I drove an hour for twenty minutes of work.
At back-to-school night, what few parents there were didn't trust me. One verified (in front of me) that I wasn't ever going to be alone in the classroom. Another, in my short-term, spoke glowingly of [my master teacher's] teaching and I didn't have the courage to tell her that hi, I'm Dan, 21 years young, no experience, and I'll be the one teaching your kid pretty soon. If they only knew how much good I'm gonna be for their kids. [sorry, fella, not this year -ed.]
Posted in guest blogger on January 25th, 2008 Comments Off
[This week's guest blogger is Dan Meyer, a 21-yo student teacher from Sacramento who doesn't get along very well with other teachers.]
There was a substitute for my master teacher yesterday. Though she [the master teacher. -ed] does nothing in the class anymore except write comments on my teaching, because I'm not accredited in any way, she has to have a substitute. The kids were confused, too.
I told him that I could handle roll and he could take a nap, but he wasn't having anything of it. His introduction to the class was not pleasant. He said he had a stack of referrals and he'd use them. A couple of kids buzzed in the back and he ordered them quiet. "Don't make me be a sub," he yelled and I got the impression that this was his go-to line, his ace-in-the-hole guaranteed to curry the kids' favor. I can't imagine the average reception being any warmer than it was in my class. They hated him. He yelled when a kid dropped a pencil.
After he told the kids he'd refer them if they didn't listen to me, implying plainly that I couldn't handle myself, both I and the kids were stifling laughter. I had to turn to the whiteboard and cover my mouth while I gained composure. By the end of today — a low-key test and worksheet day — he had thrown two girls out. That just doesn't happen under these circumstances.
As the kids filed out after class, his expression was smug. "Good cop, bad cop," he said to me and sighed, as if he were rubbing the luckiest charm on his bracelet. So he thought that raging tyrant routine was doing me a favor. I wanted to sock him in the nose for all the trouble it would be to clean up his mess.
Plus, he thought I was a high schooler and called me a "TA". I'm a student teacher, bitch! [look, I apologize for this guy. -ed]
Posted in guest blogger on January 24th, 2008 5 Comments »
[This week's guest blogger is Dan Meyer, a 21-yo student teacher from Sacramento who won't realize how good he had it until several years later.]
Every day I come to student-teach at Florin High School with something to write. Be it a movie review, a letter, or a movie script, I always have something to speed up the interminable — my two hours of observation. I finished three reviews (of admittedly variable quality) in only five days. Boredom makes me strong, gives me a reason to write, makes me prolific. But today I've got nothing so I've resorted to writing about having nothing.
Two Periods Later
Strangely, for the first time since I've been here, it wasn't an issue. First period trig was doing group work and help was needed all around. I got on my knees besides Arielle's desk and fell like a rock back into my old rhythms. It felt great to be doing something … finally.
See … and maybe I should just post the whole thing so I don't forget … but we've been talking in EDU 275 about classroom management — how we get the little blighters to fall in line and learn. My theory, which has got me branded as a maverick by my cohort, is that if I can make these kids believe that I'm cool, they'll follow me to the end of the Earth. Today my stock rose several points with that class, which won't hurt come winter semester when I take over.
Posted in guest blogger on January 23rd, 2008 Comments Off
[This week's guest blogger is Dan Meyer, a 21-yo student teacher from Sacramento whose crackpot consumer-driven theories on classroom management will eventually get him dragged in front of the dean.]
When you're going to take over a classroom from a teacher, to split the kids from their mother, it really helps the transition if they aren't altogether attached to him. Often times, it's a crap shoot. My short-term teacher laughs at his own jokes and tries to talk "jive" with his kids. I can't imagine them tying a yellow ribbon at his departure. [wrong there, brah -ed] I suspect they'll be pretty ambivalent about me too (for reasons that are obviously out of my control; it's first period and they're sluggish [and 'cause you suck, don't forget that one -ed]) but at least they're not in love with this guy. Don't set yourself up to follow a hard act.
My long-term assignment is a hard act. She nails the balance between mother and teacher and some of the kids would happily distract a bull elephant for her. This is hardly an ideal situation for me, but thankfully it's not beyond repair.
The only solution is to be really cool. That's the currency in high school, after all. Every one of their actions is taken in the direction of mimicking those who are cool. The social rites of these kids aren't all that enigmatic; just be someone they'd buy clothes from and you'll be able to sell them math, history, and home economics.
Spreading lies about your master teacher, general slander, posting all over campus the photo you took of his Christmas-party binge drinking when you said there wasn't any film in the camera, those are all viable alternatives, but they should probably be avoided. They're evil, and kids can smell evil as quickly as they can fear.
Short of being cool, at the very least make sure you're less uncool than your master teacher. Keep your head down and your mouth shut. Crack a stupid joke inside of the first week and you may as well trade your chalk in for a hairnet and start life anew shoveling Beetloaf onto plastic trays. Don't talk. Don't smile. Mystery will accumulate about yourself like debt on a Visa card. These tricks are obvious, but no one (least of all me) will say that they're easy.