Friday, February 5, 2010

Student Teaching Day 9

2/4/10

Day 9

Today was another normal day.  The morning work and math lesson symmetry went well.  Everything was fine until we went to the computer lab to write our final copies of the persuasive letter we wrote this week.  Things went downhill in a hurry.

The students were very needy.  How do I ..... over and over again.  These students have been doing similar exercises on these machines since kindergarten.  They should know how to type a document on a word processor.  The computer lab teacher and Mrs. J agreed.  It was hard not knowing who to help and who to let struggle a bit more.  I made some mistakes that raised the tension level in the room.  Students made some bad choices that further added to the stress.The overall computer lab experience was terrible for all involved.  Maybe this is due to the lab environment instead of having computers in the classroom.  Some ed-tech types say that labs are bad.  Technology should be like air - unnoticeable and everywhere.  I am inclined to agree, but if there were 5-10 computers in each classroom, then the classroom teacher would be responsible for teaching and coaching technology use.  The experience level and teaching capabilities are widely varied among the teachers.  Would putting computers in the classroom give all students an equal opportunity?  I'm not sure.

I was able to witness a few of the students have some social difficulties.  A few of the boys had a fight difference of opinion at recess.  This led to one boy being shunned at lunch; no one would sit with him out of fear of getting into trouble.  The shunned third grader, a normally rough-and-tumble type, had a tearful meltdown at the lunch table.  It was not the warm-fuzzy teachable moment you read about in the textbooks, but it was an opportunity for growth. I think the class troublemaker learned a bit of the unwritten curriculum today.   Sometimes the lessons taught by playground politics are just as difficult to learn as long division.

I got to witness a bit of the emotional stress that teachers must endure.  One student's family is going through a break-up.  The child seems to sleep (or not sleep) in a different place every night.  Another student will soon be evicted from their residence. Knowing these details of a child's life places a strain on the classroom teacher.  I do not know how a teacher could not be affected by the events happening in their students' lives. If a teacher is not affected by these issues, perhaps they are in the wrong profession.  I've barely known these kids for a week or two, and I'm losing sleep worrying about them.   How do teachers deal with this for 180 days and year?

Today was not the best day of my teaching experience; but they can't all be great.  Another teachable moment for me.

On a brighter note, I was invited to sit with the teachers at their table during lunch.  I've made it to the big time in the lounge.

1 comment:

gail said...

Dontcha just hate that. In kindergarten, the social piece is a huge part of our day. We always have flare-ups but they are not the hormonal type tragedies that you see developing in later years. I have found that resolving the conflicts as completely as possible is critical. This means getting to the place where the students can see the problem from the outside, find the answer to the problem, make amends and actually like each other again. That takes time and it's not written into my lesson plans for the day but they still become teachable moments for the whole class who see that conflict resolution is followed through on.