My reflection for this week could be broken down by day; I’ll highlight my two days ALONE in the classroom though! I wrote out a much lengthier reflection but felt like it did not need to all be posted! On Tuesday I found out before school that I’d be on my own that day; Deb was sick! So she gave me the assignment and asked me to have the students work on their homework for the class period. I’ll be honest, I was really scared to be all alone, but after a week of observing, I felt like it would be okay.
In all of the classes I briefly introduced myself so I was more than the girl sitting in the back of the room watching them. I treated different classes slightly differently in that I allowed one period of U.S. history to sit wherever they wanted to in the room, but by the next period I realized that regardless of the grade level, expecting students to A) work quietly for 50 minutes on bookwork B) while sitting wherever they want to in the room C) and being told that they may talk quietly all for a substitute may not go the way I had planned. All in all, the day was fine. I told the students that if they were talking too much I would assume that they had finished their work and I would assign them more for the weekend. Evil? Nah. Effective? Yes! There were some “disciplinary issues” (I think that’s the nice thing to call this…) I had been forewarned that certain students would try to “test” me, and this was certainly true. One student in particular would not sit in his seat, talked constantly (most of the comments were inappropriate and/or disruptive to my class and people outside—he was literally hanging out the window yelling at the elementary kids next door.) After going to the bathroom several times, I had him stay in the hallway (where I could see him.) However, I think he may have been even MORE of a disruption in the hallway! I wasn’t comfortable sending him to the office because I didn’t necessarily understand the procedures that went along with that (turns out there’s not much to it…) I made it through the period, but it was a bit of a challenge. All things considered, I felt like it went well for my very first time alone with the students asking them to sit quietly for 50 minutes to work on some textbook questions! (And this was only Tuesday!)
I knew that I was going to be alone with the kids again on Thursday, but this time I had to finish the lecture notes from Deb. Again, I felt really good about the end product of the day! I told the World history students that if we could get through the notes, we would watch the beginning of a movie. (“Yes, a real movie, not a documentary” – my response to the many questions that the students had!) As part of our unit on ancient China, I showed part of the movie “Hero” with Jet Li (how could that go wrong? The kids practically turned into zombies 30 seconds into the movie. It was amazing.) For the U.S. History class, they had enough notes and book work to keep them busy; they are also better at keeping themselves appropriately entertained enough that they choose to do other homework or talk quietly through the end of the class.
Having to take over the class for those two days made a HUGE difference in my comfort level in the classroom, meaning I’m starting to feel like a part of the class and it feels good!