This would be a long post if it weren't limited by my need for sleep. Here is the excitement that has happened in the past week, during which I believe I have taken a huge step toward becoming a "REAL" TEACHER:
Subbing: My mentor teacher was unexpectedly really ill, and at the last minute I found out that I was going to be in charge of our entire 1 - Biology, 3 - Biology, 5 - Chemistry day myself, which is really intense. I ended up having about 4 people come in to observe me that day, too. But I rocked it. Seriously, it was great! Of course, I will post photos later, but I managed to do some really cool stuff in my chemistry class, thanks to the advice of a certain genius mentor Melissa. I'm going to post that this weekend though, because it's 11 and I HAVE to write about Arts Night before I go to sleep. The moral of this paragraph, though, is that I can totally handle being by myself, even if I'm still shaky and a little bit unprepared, still, for TWO different preps (classes). Feeling good...
So, on to the really exciting stuff: ARTS NIGHT!
This was basically a night for all of our Arts Core students to show off the skills they had learned this semester in their Arts Core classes. Since we're an arts themed school, this is a big deal. There were yoga demonstrations, break dancing sessions, choreographed dancing, band performances (one by students who had only played for 5 weeks!) and short skits performed. The entire event lasted about 1.5 hours, and was accompanied by an academic display of student work at the back of the gymnasium. Families were invited ----- and the gym was FULL. People had to stand. It was, in a word, inspiring!
I hear so much about how our students' families "don't care" and "aren't there" but they were there in full force tonight to support their students. Watching the kids perform with big smiles and, quite honestly, the passion in their hearts for what they were doing showing through on those smiles - it really gave me quite a start. I realized that this school has really become a part of me, and with only 5/6 weeks to go, I'm going to have to start letting it go a little. I've really put my whole self into this student teaching internship...and by doing that I've fully invested in these kids. I realized that I have to start talking soon about when I leave, so that I'm not abandoning them...because I really feel that I have become a part of their schedules, their routines, even maybe their lives. They have certainly become a solid part of mine.
Tonight, I really realized the power of the community my students come from. It's the type of community that I've always craved: a bunch of people who are SO different from each other, but united by SOMETHING. They're not always united, but the possibility exists, and tonight I saw that. There were no fights, no teasing, not even any drunk kids showing up (that I saw). This was a night relatively devoid of high school debauchery. These students took PRIDE in their work. Like I said, I was inspired....
On the other hand, it really made me sad to think that I won't get to see these particular students through their high school years. I won't be able to teach at this school, but I can hope for a community like this one. I'm really going to miss these kids, but I know that I will carry a lot of them in my heart and mind for a long time, since they are the ones who have really been teaching me how to teach (along with my mentor teacher, of course). These are the people who are shaping how I do things as an educator, and these are the students that I will think back on and be motivated by for quite some time.
In other words, I love my experience thus far, and it really floors me that things are this great. I want to bottle up this enthusiasm for the hard times that I'm sure are to come in my remaining weeks here...but I know now that the highs and lows are part of the job, for me. Tonight, I'm floating high high high, and I am so proud of both the work my students have done and the pride they are taking in it.
They have SO MUCH to be proud of!
Signing off....it's past 11 now....must sleep!