Student-Teaching Q4

Today, I began my second student-teaching placement. Last quarter, I was placed at G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton, and that was a bit shaky, I hate to admit. I made some mistakes and didn’t do my best, but there were a few reasons for that, none of which do I want to spend time discussing. Now, I am placed at Oswego High School, and so far, it seems like a much better fit. It’s practically right down the road from Sheldon (where I live), so I’m free from the stress of worrying how I’m going to get home and how I’m going to get to required events, and so far, the students seem to be responding better to me than they did in Fulton, so we’ll see how it plays out, since I haven’t started teaching yet (the plan, I believe, is to start teaching next week, when I will be teaching Judith Guest’s ORDINARY PEOPLE to eleventh grade American Literature students). I’ll definitely be attempting to write as often as I can about my experiences while, of course, respecting confidentiality, but I’m definitely going to be busy; this is the quarter that student-teachers have to complete a teacher work sample, so that’s definitely going to be time-consuming, but I’ve already begun organizing it. I’m really looking forward to this placement, as, like I said, I think that it will be a much better fit. I get a pretty good feeling from the school’s environment alone.

Student-Teaching over Spring Break

While I don’t mind having to student-teach over the college’s break (I get a week’s break in February and another one the first week of April), I do certainly mind the conditions under which I have to stay on campus. To those of you that don’t know (obviously, most essentially lower classmen that don’t have vehicles and will be student-teaching in the future), if you are student-teaching over Spring Break and consequently need to stay on campus, you may not stay in the residence hall in which you already live, anyway; you have to unnecessarily move to Hart, an utter waste of time. I’d really like someone try to explain to me why this is necessary because honestly, I have played out every possible theory in my mind, and I’ve ultimately debunked every single one.

Hart is open, anyway, because that’s where international students reside, and Residence Life shouldn’t have to ask any more RAs to monitor residences and ensure that they have permission to be here than necessary, and that’s true, but we are adults; there shouldn’t be any reason why we can’t live in our respective residence halls without RAs and DAs on duty. Because international students will be staying in Hart and Hart will therefore be open, anyway, Hart’s doors will be the only ones that will be open to students that need to stay. Again, that’s true, but if you can program my ID to open Hart’s doors, you can program it to open my own residence hall’s doors, and I’m sure that it’s within Residence Life’s capability to program only the IDs of students that will be staying over the break. That’s about it; I honestly can think of nothing else, and in my opinion, I’ve successfully debunked every possible reason that I’ve presented.

Why does it matter so much to me? Well, I’m not looking forward to this as it is; I’m going to be here for nine days with nothing open (not the gym, not the library, not even a single dining hall), and essentially no one here that I know, and I would imagine that even that amount of people will be relatively minimal, so this campus is going to be a ghost town to me, on which there will be absolutely nothing to do. So, the least that could be afforded me is the familiarity and the comfort of my own room, the one in which I’m paying to live. I don’t even think that I get a room in Hart; from my understanding, I get a lounge on the fifth floor. It seems so utterly ridiculous that I have to waste time moving when my own room is going to be empty the entire time, especially since I will likely have somewhere important to be on Friday night (my school’s musical) and I also have to somehow set time aside to take two or three different trips walking belongings that I will need over the course of nine days from Sheldon to Hart; everyone that I’ve spoken to about this agrees that it is ridiculous.

Yet another reason that I care is that like I said, no dining hall will be open, so I will be responsible for preparing my own meals. This means that I will be having to make trips to the store to purchase items and will be unnecessarily further away from Fastrac and Kinney’s. I know that it must seem like I am an annoying person that loves to complain, but I really do think think that this is ridiculous. My Friday afternoon and evening will be spent moving belongings when I shouldn’t have to do that, when I already have a place to stay. I sincerely hope that in the future, Residence Life will at least look into amending this ridiculous standard and maybe even allow future students that need to stay on campus to remain in their respective residence halls so that, unlike me, they will not be drastically inconvenienced by being made to complete extremely unnecessary tasks such as removing belongings and acquainting themselves with a new environment when they should not have to do that.

Student-Teaching Update

The semester is really driving me crazy, and it’s definitely left me with very little time to myself. The student-teaching experience itself is quite interesting; some of my students drive me insane because they’re so crazy, and others are fantastic, doing their work and staying quiet when they should be quiet. My classes are definitely a “mixed bag” if that’s an acceptable term to use. Currently, I am going over what makes a person a monster with them, so they’re examining good and evil, morals and a lack thereof, etc., and right now, they’re reading “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and after this upcoming mid-winter break, they’re reading “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and I’m excited about that because I think that the point will come across a lot quicker to them, or at least I hope that it will. I have a lot of planning to do over this break, but I’m actually kind of excited, and I’ll try to write again soon; thanks for reading.

Student-Teaching – Blog 1

Monday, I was placed at G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton for the first half of the semester; the second half, I am at Oswego High School, which I’m very happy about because I don’t have a vehicle, and that’s well within walking distance. At first, transportation to Fulton was very inconvenient because I was taking a bus to Fulton in the morning (which meant getting up before 5 in the morning) and then taking one back, which was very problematic. To make a long story short, I got on a wrong bus in Fulton on Tuesday, and the driver was very rude when he made this discovery; I get done at Fulton at about 2:30 and didn’t make it back to campus until after 5. Luckily, I found more reliable, comfortable transportation last night, so my placement doesn’t make me feel so flustered anymore.

At this placement, I unfortunately won’t have much freedom as a teacher. My Host Teacher, who is very pleasant and funny, says that because the school district tends to perform so poorly, she is hesitant to give me control, so I will be teaching her lessons most likely as her co-teacher, but I think that my placement at Oswego High (which begins in March) will afford me a lot more freedom. I have already communicated with that teacher via email, and I already know that she is allowing me to select a novel out of a list that provided, most of which are on Challenged lists, so she sounds like a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to that for that reason and also because I won’t have to depend on someone for transportation; I hate having to rely on people, not because I tend not to trust people but because I strive to be an independent person that is not needy, which unfortunately isn’t always possible.

This week, the students are taking Regents exam, so I have yet to really meet any of them. On Monday, I will be partaking in an introductory activity with them which I did actually organize, so I’m looking forward to that. I am also going to go over my expectations with them. My Host Teacher said that a majority of the students are not motivated and consequently don’t care about their work. I am hoping to help them find that part of themselves that I know does care, and maybe that’s too ambitious for a student-teacher who has such a small amount of experience, but I want to do everything that I can; my primary teaching goal in general is to make a difference in young people’s lives, to motivate and to inspire them. I’ll be writing more as soon as possible; for now, take care, all, and welcome to the new semester.

Winter Break So Far & Student Teaching Very Soon

It’s hard to believe that the break is almost over, yet it is; there is only a week until it’s time to go back to Oswego, and I have very mixed feelings about that. Normally, my sentiment would be, yes, yes, get me away from this godawful prison so that I can be in Oswego with Ray and get back to my studies and my life with my friends, but I have spent the majority of my break with Ray in Connecticut, so I’m not in any kind of hurry to get back, especially since my student-teaching is this semester. I can’t believe I just said that; as you can see, I’m nervous.

It may sound like I don’t have much motivation to do my student-teaching, which could potentially be a scary situation if teaching is what you want to put your life into; however, as I said, I’m just nervous. Going to bed early and getting up early every day is something that is going to take a great deal of adjustment, as I haven’t had to do it since high school. I’m not a morning person; I am, in fact, a night owl. I’m usually happiest and most active at night, so going to bed early isn’t easy. Additionally, what’s definitely more monumental is that I am nervous about teaching itself. Teaching is something much different than learning how to do laundry or bake cookies; it isn’t something that can be perfected after one or two tries. It requires years of experience to master, and even teachers that have been teaching for many years will say that they still make mistakes, so I’m not so self-important that I would think that I’m going to be a good teacher right away, and I know that there is a very strong possibility that I won’t be well-liked by most of my students. I will be at Oswego High School for my first term, and that, at least, is good news because I don’t have a vehicle, and that’s well within walking distance from where I live on campus. I will be writing again as soon as I can.

Practicum (Fall 2011) – Day 9

Today wasn’t very eventful. The students are taking a test on Friday of this week, a test on literary terms, so the student-teacher helped them study. He had developed a Powerpoint presentation for them that went through literary terms, and I found myself surprised by some terms with which eighth graders are not familiar, such as foreshadowing. I can’t remember when I learned that term, but I’m pretty sure that I knew it by eighth grade. I am very strong in English, so I don’t mean to put people down; I just would have thought that those were basic concepts by eighth grade. If not, then there are some pointers that I need before I start teaching.

The student-teacher then taught the students how to write a book review, which I think is important. They practice writing and hopefully enhance their writing skills while using a form that they are probably not used to handling. I am all done with Practicum now; now, next semester, I start student-teaching, which really makes me nervous. Wish me luck.

Still Here to Tell the Tale

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another year at SUNY Oswego (or, to freshmen and transfers, welcome to your first year). I, for one, am so ecstatic to be back and am looking forward to my senior year. There are definitely nerve-wracking worries, such as student teaching in the spring (with absolutely no education classes left save the Practicum that I am doing this semester), but I have a fairly good feeling that this will be a really good year, and my hope is that everyone else feels the same way – positive and confident. If you’re new here, just know that, for the most part, I have had a very good experience here at SUNY Oswego. My experience here has been great, not only because I feel like I have had a really good education, but because just about everyone that I have encountered is very friendly and welcoming, and I have yet to experience any kind of persecution due to my sexuality, and that is ultimately the first experience of my life about which I can say that. SUNY Oswego prides itself on being a “safe space” for people, so persecution because of race, religion, sexuality, you name it, is not tolerated, and based on my own experience, it isn’t even something that you have to worry about.

My plans for the future are somewhat complex, as I have yet to sort some problems out. My boyfriend is here and is way behind even though he is the same age because many of his transfer credits don’t count toward classes that he needs to take, so he is considered a junior even though he should be a senior. This means that we will not graduate together, and he will need to stay a year longer than I do, but I am not prepared to leave him behind. I am twenty-one, and he will be twenty-two in November, so we are certainly not children, and I’m more than ready to begin a life with him. I would absolutely love to find an apartment with him by the end of this year, stay in Oswego over the summer, and then complete my graduate work here at SUNY Oswego. However, money has to be taken into consideration, and the job that I have doesn’t pay nearly enough to provide me with confidence as far as saving up for an apartment is concerned, and I neither have the time nor the ability to work a second job (ability only because I have actually tried, and no one hires). I applied to be a DA, figuring that that wouldn’t be a time obstacle because I could get homework done while I was working, but I didn’t get the position, and even if I could rely on someone actually hiring me, there really isn’t anything else I could manage to do, especially since, again, I am doing my student teaching in the spring. There is no way that I could balance that and two jobs. I just hope that, somehow, everything works itself out, because this is really important to me. Does anyone know if it would be possible (and if so, how) to take out a loan to help me pay for an apartment? I am considering this also because the job that I do have is work-study contingent, and although I don’t know for sure, I don’t think that that will still be provided beyond my undergraduate years. Again, I am really looking forward to this year and am hoping for the best. Good luck, everyone.