Rough Day

02.17.2013

So last week was my first week teaching all of the classes with all of my own plans. I started off teaching one biology class, then I added a second, and then I would watch the teacher teach fourth period, and I would model her lesson for fifth, sixth, and seventh periods (physical science). I was teaching all day every day this past week and everything was going great until Thursday. Thursday was my first bad day. Wednesday I had my capstone seminar from 4:30-6:30 and various other things going on, so I was up late getting work done. By midnight Wednesday night, I had graded probably almost 100 papers for my physical science classes over distance and displacement. I made the unfortunate discovery that the students really didn't understand the concept of distance or displacement after spending 3 days in class on the subject. I knew I would have to reteach, but I was at a loss as to how I would do so. I went to bed unhappy and feeling like a failure as a teacher, but I was exhausted. I woke up early Thursday morning, pondered the scenario in the shower and rushed to school early. I came up with some new ideas and changed my plans for all of my classes for the day. I decided that my 2nd period biology students needed to practice reading and gathering information, so I changed their lesson. I changed my 3rd period biology plan because I decided they have been bored out of their skulls all week, and I decided to reteach distance and displacement for my physical science students. I got to school and frantically got stuff together just in time for 2nd period to start (my planning period is 1st).

I walk into second period, frazzled but relieved to have gotten my day reorganized. I explained to the students how proud of them I was for their awesome tests, but then also told them that they had to read their textbook today for the first time. I usually try to do fun activities for the students to learn rather than make them read, but the students need to learn how to gather information on their own. I went through the text features and literacy strategies with them that pertain to reading a science textbook, and then I had them do their worksheet. Well, this would have been all fine except for the principal walked in just as I was beginning the lecture over literacy strategies. I am almost never nervous to be observed or evaluated, but this was just not the day. I was frazzled, feeling like a bad teacher, and I had the least interesting lesson plan ever. The principal gave me a good evaluation, but I was still completely thrown off by the scenario. If I could have looked into the future at that point, I would have realized that I had bigger problems ahead.

So 2nd period goes by, the students were unhappy about reading, and I am a frazzled maniac. 3rd period begins and a couple of the students were squabbling in class. I am pretty used to this class being a bit challenging, so I didn't think much of it. I started class and was writing some notes on the board when I felt something hit my back. I looked down and a hair band was laying on the floor; somebody had shot a hair band across the room and it hit me. I picked it up and calmly asked who did it. I have to be honest, at this point I was about to cry, but I tried to keep calm. Nobody would confess, and I do not believe in punishing everybody, so I gave a short spiel about my disapproval of the situation and the consequences if it were to happen again. I have a hunch that it was meant to hit a student, but I do not know for sure. We got through the notes, and we were going to split the class in half for the next activity. Half of the class was going to another classroom and half was staying with me. Somewhere in this transition a fight almost broke out, and the teacher mediated the situation. I didn't see what happened and the situation was being handled before I even knew what was going on, thank goodness. I proceeded with class as if everything was normal and we eventually made it through.

By fourth period, I was ready to go home and cry, but they helped my day get better. I told the students up front that I was not having a good day, and they were all really sweet. They offered me candy to cheer me up (Valentine's day in a high school is like Hallmark just exploded). Anyways, my day was taking a positive spin, but I was still pretty upset deep down. Fortunately, I only had to teach up through fourth period because the students in our freshman team had a movie reward day for not failing any core classes. After the movie, the school had a pep assembly, so I had the whole afternoon to get myself back together and caught up on grading.

After school Thursday, my clinical educator (the actual classroom teacher) and I talked until almost. We debriefed about the day and the week. She had a lot of positive things to say about my first week as the full teacher and some helpful hints. We were fortunately blessed to have Friday and Monday off, so she and I both can go back Tuesday refreshed. I still love teaching, and I expected to have those days. I know that I am not a failure as a teacher, but rather an inexperienced teacher. It was definitely a day for learning experiences, but I am excited to go back next week.

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