Comfortable Beginnings

Today ended the second day of my internship at Hays Consolidated Independent School District’s Dahlstrom Middle School with my mentor teacher, Ms. Bandy.

So far, I have been thoroughly enjoying my experience and feel that middle school could be the place for me. The students are lively, entertaining, and rambunctious, but can be controlled with proper classroom procedure. They all seem to enjoy my mentor teacher, which gives me enthusiasm as I hope to be a beloved teacher some day.

Everything seems to be just about what I was expecting. Some students remain working the entire period, while some need constant reminders to stay on task. Others will completely refuse to work. The lunch period is short and the teachers are required to eat quickly in order to return to class on time. The school requires that all teachers teach a core subject during second period, so twice now I have seen my mentor teacher struggle to teach math to her art students. There are definitely restrictions and challenges in the schools, but seeing the positive impact that Ms. Bandy is having on her students is inspiring.

One thing I was not expecting is the level of quality coming from Ms. Bandy’s students. From the work I’ve seen in class and hanging in the hallways, her students seem to be surpassing what I thought was typical of a middle school artist. I am pleased by what I have been seeing and know that I can now raise my expectations if I am to teach middle school. Ms. Bandy’s students are also very knowledge about specific art terms such as gradation, value, depth, shade, and tone.

In Ms. Bandy’s classroom, she has posted the rules about noise level. Whenever she is talking, such as during lecture, taking attendance, or giving announcements, students should not be talking at all. When students are working, however, and Ms. Bandy is not talking, students are allowed to talk quietly. Ms. Bandy also has a few “Drive Your Own Device” signs posted. When I asked her about the signs, she explained that students are allowed to use their electronic devices in class, but for educational or music purposes only. They may use them to play music through headphones or to look for reference images and inspiration on line to help them create art.

I have been challenging myself to learn Ms. Bandy’s students’ names and feel that I should know them all soon. I have been paying attention during roll-call and whenever students are called to the front to try and catch their names. I have also been occasionally asking for students’ names or overhearing their friends using their names. I’ve also been trying to find individualities to match the names, such as Griffin is extremely friendly and talkative, Ana is shy and emotional, Emma is stylish and popular, and Shauna is quiet and seems sad all the time.

So far, I am enjoying my experience and look forward to getting to know each of the students. I am excited to watch their progress and to help them along the way. I also feel very comfortable and it seems like I am being well-received by the students. There was a substitute teacher today, so I mainly led the class and students treated me as they would any other teacher. I was even asked how to turn in choir money, to sign hall passes, and when report cards would be coming out. So far, I have felt completely prepared for this experience and believe that I am on the right trail.