First things first: photos of my room!
So, that's a taste of what the room looks like. Old chairs, etc. Lots of chemical supplies, though, even if they are mostly really old. It's all good. We have been mixing things and showing kids reactions and lighting hydrogen balloons (small ones) on fire in class. The usual, you know. It's funny because it's not entirely the kind of science I've been being taught to teach (was that a confusing sentence or what?!), but it's still fun. So much planning is required for anything that it's hard to do much else than demos and introductions right now. We're putting a lot more planning into the first few units. These are the "warm up days" of school, it seems. Especially since we are doing 6 classes a day right now, and starting Monday we will be doing 3 2-hour blocks a day instead. Things will change a LOT then.
Things have been very difficult. I memorized all the students names today, and I think that earned me some street cred. Okay, maybe not STREET CRED, but some type of cred. Does classroom cred exist? Doubtful....anyway, I can feel myself exponentially becoming more of a permanent fixture in the classroom. Students still call me "Miss", but that seems to be the default title for a woman whose name you can't remember. Especially if you are a Spanish speaker. They tend to use Miss instead of Mrs., which is fine with me because it's accurate. I told a kid the other day that I was 36 and his eyes got HUGE. Kids are gullible. Don't worry, I told him that I wasn't, but I still didn't tell him my age. They don't need to know that I'm only ~5 years older than some of them. Later. :)
I've been able to do a little Spanish work in the classroom, translating a few words (siblings = hermanas y hermanos) and catching people saying naughty words (sometimes it's just the WAY they say it, I don't know the word, but when I look at them and pretend I understand, they get sheepish...ha!). One student wrote on a survey we gave them that he wishes one of his teachers would just ONCE speak Spanish in class. I can feel the anxiety already (about speaking Spanish in front of a native speaker), but then I remember that he can barely speak English. Maybe we can trade lessons, who knows?
I've already caught myself focusing in on the typical people that I focus on: the very intrinsically motivated students and the ones that people seem to have given up on. I gravitate towards the extremes. It's something I have to be very mindful of, since there are students who exist in the middle ground who shouldn't be forgotten either!
All in all, this has been stressful, exhausting, awkward, and sometimes a little nerve-wracking. I've found myself really questioning my ability and my drive, etc. etc. However, I also met with my science methods professor and several grad students that work with him, and they really gave me hope that everyone goes through this stage of "HOLY S*%&, WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?"....So I think I'll ride it out and wait for the successes to pick me up and give me that certainty back that this is something I truly believe in.
I already love the kids, even the mean ones...and especially the scared ones!