Today ended my first week Student Teaching at the high school level. I’m pretty exhausted at the moment and am hoping that I will become more used to the work load as time goes on. I’ve been having difficulties adjusting to the time commitment as I’ve been coming home incredibly tired, force myself to stay awake until later, and then can’t fall asleep until late into the night only allowing me to get a few hours of sleep before waking up much earlier than I am used to. This terrible cycle has taken its toll on me, but I’m sure that I’ll be able to adjust in time.
Thankfully, today seemed like a normal, casual day.
My cooperating teacher had returned from her absence and explained that she is facing an imminent death in the family. Any day now, I may be called into action as she attends a funeral. This definitely helps to show how being prepared ahead of time is crucial and necessary to run an efficient classroom. Without a well-though curriculum or a back-up plan for days you may be out, your students may be left with a substitute who doesn’t know what to do. My teacher has been trying to plan ahead so that I can take over at a moment’s notice.
Today, I spoke with my cooperating teacher about a few students I had personal concerns with for various reasons such as a lack of interest, low grades, or bad behavior. She explained each student to me and I was shocked to learn of some of the personal circumstances some of the students are in. There were some, however, that even she couldn’t explain and hasn’t figured out how to help yet. She asked me for advice with working with these students and I was at a loss.
I will need to look into helping challenged students more.
I also experienced a student-teacher conflict today as one of the Painting IV students addressed my cooperating teacher about the grade she had received on the latest project. Because my cooperating teacher had left the grading to me, she instantly referred the student to me. The student began defending herself as she asked why I had taken three points off on her artwork.
“I used circles!” she exclaimed, explaining how she created an artwork using circles, as per the assignment. “I used them in the actual animal, and in the bubbles in the background! Why did I get three points taken off?!”
I began to explain to her that while she did use circles in her artwork and I did not take off for that, the teacher’s requirements had included to not make the picture too simple. I had taken off points from each students’ artwork that either had an incredibly simple background, such as one color, or left the background completely blank. While this student had included bubbles behind her octopus, the paper behind the bubbles was left completely untouched and blank. I felt comfortable defending my decision and showing the student the requirements, but it was not a pleasant experience. For the rest of the class, the student seemed upset and angered and seemed to avoid me. My cooperating teacher later expressed that this happens to her all the time and she hates having to deal with it. She agreed that I was in the right, but warned me to always be prepared to defend my grading choices.
Overall, today felt like an easy-going, laid-back Friday. Students continued working on the artworks they’ve been working on all week and I enjoyed my day. My cooperating teacher seemed to enjoy the day as well, and we spent some time trading tips with each other. She was thrilled to learn a new way to show example works for the students on her computer and used the new technique to cycle through examples of tree artwork for her Art I students.
While I’ve loved my experience thus far, I am glad this week has come to an end and I can get some much-needed rest.
“I felt comfortable defending my decision and showing the student the requirements, but it was not a pleasant experience. For the rest of the class, the student seemed upset and angered, and seemed to avoid me. My cooperating teacher later expressed that this happens to her all the time and she hates having to deal with it. She agreed that I was in the right, but warned me to always be prepared to defend my grading choices.”
This is why you need rubrics! This also is why you use the rubric for students to do self-evaluation of their work prior to turning it in – Formative assessment would have allowed the student to address the blank background if a criterion had addressed that.
Yes, you are exactly right! When I was asked to grade the projects, my teacher began asking herself, “Do I have a rubric for this assignment? Did I make one? I don’t think I did…” and she ended up giving me a list of criteria, but not exactly a rubric. The criteria were also vague:
1. Are the circles random?
2. Was thought put into the color choices?
3. Was conscious effort put into the design?
4. Is it too simple? Is it centered on the page?
Ever since my first Art Theory class with you, I’ve realized the importance of the rubric as it can make the expectations more clear for the students and the grading easier for the teacher, but now I have witnessed another reason to use them. This situation really upset the student and myself and I would like to try to avoid that as much as possible in the future. I was shocked to hear from my cooperating teacher that this happens to her all the time and that she’s even had parent-teacher conferences about it, and sometimes even over good grades. I had given this student a 97%, so I don’t understand why she was so upset!
Thank you for the response.