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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thanks for the Gift. Now What?

A little boy from the pre-school I work at gave me a wonderful gift a few weeks ago.  It is two small pieces of wood nailed together with an empty film canister taped to the wood.  While I really love the gesture, and enjoyed receiving the gift, now I just don't know what to do with it.  It's been sitting on my dresser for the past few weeks.  I want to get rid of it but I feel kind of bad just throwing it away.  All it's doing is taking up space in my already crowded dorm room.  I'm thinking I'll give it until Finals week, and then accidentally-on-purpose throw it out in the general clean-up of my room.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Teacher Cl0thes

This semester I have completed about eighteen bazillion obser.vation hours (or at least, that's what it feels like). By "obser.vation hours" I don't necessarily mean I was strictly observing. For one of my classes I have worked intensively with one particular student. For some of my other classes, my observing really was just me sitting in the corner of the room taking notes. No matter what type of "observing" I do though, I have to go into the schools. And I have to look like a real grown-up type person.

I put a lot of effort into this. Probably too much effort. I first have to find a shirt that isn't a messy t-shirt, but also isn't too low-cut. I have to wear jeans that aren't ripped up on the bottom. I blow-dry my hair. I put on earrings.

I start off by trying the outfit out on my friends. It's not uncommon to hear me ask, "Do I look grown-up today?" I also take note if someone comments on my clothing un-prompted.

I have a slowly growing collection of what another education student friend calls "teacher cl0thes". I take my teacher cl0thes very seriously. I don't want to wear the same shirt to every observation, so I have to carefully monitor when I wear certain shirts. I'm always asking myself, "did I wear this last week? Two weeks ago?"

If I obsess this much over what I wear now when I'm just a random observing college student, I'm afraid for myself when I start to stud.ent teach. My cl0thing selection process will likely become more complex and selective.

(Seriously. These are the things I think about before I go to observe.)

How cute! (The professor, not the children)

An alu.mni sch.olor was visiting my school, and giving a brief lunch pres.entation.  There were very few audience members present (an  embarrassingly low number of audience members, actually).  Since there were so few people in attendance, we all introduced ourselves to the alu.mni sch.olor.  One of the fairly new education professors introduced herself and her research interests, and then stopped for a second to introspect out loud:

"I still don't really like being called a professor.  It's really weird to think of myself as a professor.  I can't really believe that I am one."

That nervousness in her was kind of comforting.  Having had her as a professor, I know that she is completely competent and a wonderful professor.  But seeing her kind of...freaked out (for lack of a better phrase) about her recently acquired status in the education world made her seem real and human.  And there are some other professors at my school who I am not entirely sure are human.  So her humanity is very comforting.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Objectivity in Observations

Still looking over my observations, I noticed that I used the phrase "super-cute" to describe something that happened in the classroom. That probably means I've lost some of my objectivity, doesn't it.

But really, this girl was "super-cute." Sometimes I read the story to the class on days when I observe. (This class is very small, and somewhere between being a resource room and being a self-contained special education classroom.) On this day, one of the paraeducators was going to read the story. But, when the students came in from recess a 1st grade girl came up to me, gave me a hug, and asked if I was going to read the story. The paraeducator said that we could take a vote on it. The girl said "I vote [notquitegrownup]." And since there was no one else there to vote, and as I said in my observation journal, this girl was "super-cute for voting," I read the story.

I'll just be even more objective in the rest of my journal to make up for the "super-cute" comment. Will that even it out in the end?

And This is the Person Who is Teaching Me to Teach?!

I am looking through my observation journal, preparing to start thinking about writing a case study about the child I have been observing all semester.  In reviewing my professors comment's on each of my observation journal entries, I realized that she doesn't seem to know when to use "to" as opposed to "too".  That makes me a little nervous.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I'm not quite grown up...But Someday I will be.

Until that point, I will be here in school. I attend a midwestern liberal arts college. I'm going to be a teacher one of these days, and therefore I currently spend countless hours observing and working with children. I also spend countless hours observing and working with my professors, who are are anywhere from wonderful to not-quite-competent.

I had (still have) another blog, but I feel that I have lost some of my anonymity on there. I don't want to say anything that will get me in trouble. But I do want to point out cute things that the kids do, crazy things their teachers say, or the frustrations I have with some aspects of my school's education department.

So, I created this space. Unfortunately, with the semester winding down, there will likely be a lull before I have even really begun writing here. But I hope to continue writing, both to help myself reflect, (though it's not like I don't already do enough reflection in my education classes) and to give others a view into the life of a future teacher.