Fier Thy Words

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My First Week

2/29/08

3 days down, 27 to go.

Don’t be misled by my countdown, my first week wasn’t bad at all, and my outlook on teaching is nothing but positive.

While my first week (or half week) consisted of nothing more than observing my host teacher and getting comfortable with the format of his lessons, all in all I can look forward to the next 6 weeks and know that theres a better than good chance I’m still going to love teaching when its over.

The 3 different classes I’ll be teaching have got to be a collection of some the schools  worst behavioral problems.  One kid I was told just got back from a suspension for taking part in an altercation last week.  My host teacher told me the story went something like this:

The kid was waiting on the lunch line, while the kid in front of him, wearing a hoodie, started “talking shit” about a friend of the the first kid.  Without hesitation, the first kid took the kid wearing the hoodie, and in the exact words of my host teacher “pulled the hood over his head and beat the living shit out of him”.  When a friend came to try and help, he also had his ass kicked.   So if you’re keeping track, one kid pretty badly beat up 2 other kids, resulting in his suspension.

I had a chance to meet this kid today, and I gotta say, after spending a little bit of time with him, he was polite and very nice to both me and my host teacher, so I couldn’t believe the story about him, however I saw the referral slip for him last week so I know the story is true.  Should be interesting.

Anyway, the three classes are filled with kids who don’t pay attention, talk to one another while my host teacher is speaking, curse at one another as well as at my host teacher, wear blue-tooth head sets in the middle of class, listen to their ipods and openly text message their friends, while showing up late and leaving early as they please.

Yea, those are my kids.

Despite all of that, and they will certainly be a handful, these kids are funny.  I can definitely work with funny, because there was never enough fun in the classes I was in, and I know for sure I want to make sure that every class I ever teach is overflowing with humor.  So in that regard, I should be able to get a head start on developing the sort of teacher-student rapport nice and early.

While I had nothing to do when I was observing, there 3 days were hardly uneventful.

On my very first day (Wednesday), I was covering my host teacher’s hallway duty.  This meant that for a little more than an hour, I literally just sit in the middle of an empty hallway with nothing to do.  My host teacher told me to bring in any school work I had to pass the time.  But keep in mind I’m totally isolated, because about 15 minutes into the period, the fire bells started going off.  Not only that, but the doors at the end of the hallway automatically shut, and at that moment somebody came over the loudspeaker saying the following”

“All students and teachers must evacuate the building immediately”.

Shit.

First day, and the school is either burning or one of these kids brought in a weapon.

Additionally, it was no warmer than 15 degrees outside, so after I finally made it to my host teachers classroom to grab my jacket (despite the fact I had no idea what was going on while running through the halls of an unknown building) I had to stand outside for another 15 minutes just waiting to find out there was a malfunction with the bell system.

In hindsight, had there been somebody with a gun, god forbid, they would’t have had everybody running outside, however the unexpected bells and words evacuate immediately were hardly comforting on my very first day.

However, it ended up being nothing more than some issues with their fire alarm, and so all was well and my first day was otherwise a walk in the park.

Second day I had 2 classes to observe, and towards the end of the first class, once again the fire alarms starting sounds, and an announcement to evacuate the building came over the loudspeaker.

Thinking there was no way the same thing would happen two days in a row, I decided not to bring my hat and gloves into the building and now had to stand outside for another 15 minutes, with my shaved head and nothing covering it in temperatures which felt like -4.  NEGATIVE FOUR.

Needless to say there should be no surprise that as I sit here I feel miserable, sniffling and sneezing with a sore throat.  And much like Scott, if you ask me nobody has ever felt as sick as I do right now.

Today was completely uneventful, although when I walked out of my building weather.com said it felt like -12 outside.  And I believe it.  My windshield  was covered with a sheet of ice, leaving me with no ability to see.

This probably should have stopped me from driving to my school, however I made it 3 or 4 blocks before pulling over and realizing I was going to hit something or somebody if I don’t scrape off the ice.

Other than that, today was painless, and I’m pretty sure I’m good to go come Monday morning when I’ll be stepping in front of the classroom for the first time and getting some actual work done.

Next week actually shouldn’t be bad at all, as Monday the kids have a half day so I’m only with each class for 40 minutes as opposed to 80, while Wednesday and Thursday my classes will all be taking the unit exam, meaning thats two less days I have to worry about.

All in all, I feel good (not physically) about how things are going to go this semester, and I look forward to sharing all of the exciting stories which take place over the next 6 weeks, when from 8-11, I’ll be Mr. Fier, which personally is a title I don’t really go for, as I would much rather the students just call me Adam, but I’ve had it drilled into my head that being professional is priority number one.

The one other aspect I want to point out is how massively my sleeping schedule has already shifted, two nights ago I was in bed in asleep before 11, and last night I got into bed at 9:27 and was passed out by 10:15.   And while I don’t mind staying up late, I really do LOVE getting to bed early, so if nothing else I might actually start gaining sleep as opposed to losing it which is what I was afraid would happen.

And now I’m going to go spend the next 2 and a half days back in bed, working towards feeling good come Monday morning, when I get my first real taste of what teaching is all about.

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February 29, 2008 - Posted by | Student Teaching

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