Today, I taught an entire 100 minute block period by myself. I did the entry task (warm-up), the administrative stuff, the lab, and the "oh-no-we-ran-out-of-time" activity. And here's the thing: the students actually listened to me.
This might seem like a silly celebration, but only two days earlier, most students were definitely of the mindset that I "was a student teacher, so therefore not a real teacher, so therefore we don't need to listen". Wrong! Right? Yeah, but they didn't budge at all, no matter what I did. So, today, I started class out, and after trying to keep them quiet for a bit, I announced that I was assigning them seats. Without a peep from my mentor teacher - she didn't even flinch - and they knew that somehow, they had misinterpreted my power. It was AWESOME! Respect, for the rest of the class, was easy to come by. All it took was a few names called out, and relative, working silence followed.
At the end of the period, we were taking books down to look at, which are numbered and ordered so that each student is accountable for one book each period. That way, if any go missing, we know who to ask. Anyway, they were having a really tough time actually figuring out that if someone else took their book, they should probably find it instead of just grabbing a random book. Instead of just sorting it out, I made them ALL put the books back, and practice grabbing the books again. Oh MAN you should have heard the moans and groans, but they did it. I think that may have helped with the whole authority issue, again, because AGAIN Ann did not even flinch, so they knew that I meant business and that she was going to back me up.
Now, this was only one period, but it did wonders for my self-esteem/confidence in front of these kids. It's amazing how incredibly daunting and intimidating these kids can be, but are they EVER!
To top it off, the termites we ordered from a biological supply company (who will remain nameless) are not coming in on time. So, I spent the afternoon prep period digging in the gardens at school searching for pillbugs (potato bugs). Needless to say, they don't WATER the gardens at my school ($$, probably), so everything was super dry. For those who don't know, pillbugs are fond of dark, wet places. So, I spent the evening digging around in my back yard. I found all the pillbugs I needed, and several spiders and centipedes that I didn't. Ugh. For an ecologist, I sure am creeped out by things with lots of legs (except octopi).
Anyway, another day in the life, I suppose. Things are becoming more of a schedule, and a student actually asked me, "Ms. Kramer, are you teaching us today?" which implies that they at least know that I'm SUPPOSED to be teaching them something, whether it's working or not....Also, it shows that they know my name (BOO-YAH!).
My new motto has become: "Small gains = big smiles." Those who have taught/are teaching will understand particularly well what that means.