Today was a return to normal as my cooperating teacher has returned for the most part. Although she will be out this Friday for her father’s funeral, she will be here all week to help organize things and get things back on track. I am glad to have her here as I feel less flustered. When I am on my own, simple questions like “Where’s the drawing paper?” are no longer simple. I feel that once it’s my own classroom I will be comfortable on my own, but when I’m in someone else’s classroom with someone else’s students, I don’t like to be left alone.
Today was mostly filled with grading the Art I Color Wheels. Now that my cooperating teacher had returned, she asked me to grade the color wheels. I had started grading them about a week or so ago before she was out for many days, but wasn’t able to finish them. This time, however, as she gave them to me to grade she remarked, “Oh! And let me make a rubric for you real quick.” She scribbled a few criteria on a sheet of paper and handed it to me. I was incredibly thankful to have a rubric to grade from now, but why hadn’t she done that for me earlier! Although I had about half of the color wheels graded, I now had to go back and regrade them all to the rubric to make sure they were all consistent. This was annoying, especially as almost all of the color wheels were not done well, they were not easy to grade, there were a lot of them, and every time I have sat down to grade them thus far, I have become frustrated and agitated. Grading color wheels is no fun!
I was incredibly surprised to find that the color wheels that I had previously graded based off of my own judgement actually were about the same grade when I graded off of the rubric. This gave me a boost in confidence as it makes me feel that I am fair at grading and know what to look for. I was still quite peeved to have to regrade all of the artworks again, as well as finish the ones I hadn’t gotten around to yet. My cooperating teacher didn’t help grade them at all, though she kept saying she would get to them, so hopefully it helped her out to have me grade them for her.
Another challenge of today was feeling put on the spot again. My cooperating teacher was talking with me and trying to figure out what lesson plans I want to write and deliver for the classes. Again, I need personal space and time to create these lesson plans. I need to be sitting at home at my desk and have time to think about a lesson plan. I think that’s a big difference between my cooperating teacher and myself. I thrive on organization and planning, and from what I’ve seen my cooperating teacher has a disheveled desk and plans lessons on the fly the day of, sometimes. Because of this, she kept asking me, “What do you want to do for Art I? I want you to use clay. What do you want to do with the clay?”
“I don’t know…” I would respond, “I would have to think about it.”
“Well, do you want to do something simple or complex? Do you want to do animals, vases, or something else? What do you want to do?” She would pause and stare at me, waiting for a response so I felt incredibly pressured. She then began typing “high school clay projects” into Google and looking at images. “Oh, maybe you want to do this? This is cute. How about this?” I just don’t lesson plan this way, so I’m having troubles coming up with things the moment she asks. The clay unit is still weeks away, so I don’t understand why she can’t at least give me the evening to come up with something and discuss ideas the next day.
Today I also worked more in-depth with the Special Needs students as I made adjustments for them. I wanted to increase my efforts since the assistant refused to bring them to class previously because she felt it was a waste of the students’ time. It is pretty difficult to serve so many of them while still trying to manage and instruct an over-sized class of Art I students. My cooperating teacher and I are really struggling to keep up with the Special Needs students as they finish everything we give them within a day or two. Since it takes the rest of the class a week or two to complete the same assignments, we’re really struggling to accommodate for them. This is one of the biggest challenges that I am facing at the moment and I’m hoping to find some solutions throughout this experience.