Student Teaching Reflection: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Today was an interesting day as I stepped down from my podium, returned to the observing position, and allowed my cooperating teacher to reclaim her position as the primary teacher. I felt way less stressed as I walked into the classroom knowing that I wasn’t responsible for anything today. It was also a bit odd though as I felt that I needed to fill my cooperating teacher in on what’s going on, especially since she was absent the last few days, so that she could pick up where I left off.

I was surprised at first that my cooperating teacher did not ask me how things have been going, where the students are at, or anything. At first, she seemed to ignore my existence. Finally, she asked if there was anything new to report, and I filled her in on where all of the students are at. I told her about what each class is doing, how they are progressing, and let her know that I finished grading all of the artworks and quizzes from all of the classes and entered them into the grade book. “It’s all graded, so you just need to hand it all back and catch up with the students who were absent,” I explained. The weirdest part, though, was when she asked me to move from where I was sitting.

“Can you find a different spot to sit? I want to be able to get to the hall passes easily. You can sit in the back where I’ve been if you like,” she said. I was incredibly confused as I’ve been sitting at this desk since my first day of Student Teaching. This was the desk that she instructed me to sit at, explaining that it was my space to work and observe. Anytime that a student needed a hall pass, I would pull it out from the drawer and fill it out for them which actually seemed to help my cooperating teacher. With this process, the hall passes were guarded and my teacher didn’t have to stop what she was doing to fill out a pass. I don’t know where this sudden change came from, but I obliged as I moved to the back of the room.

It is different being at the back of the room. Several times students asked where I was as they couldn’t see me. I also felt very removed from the classroom. Before when I was observing, I would walk around the classroom, help monitor and manage the classes, and interact with and assist the students. Today, I wasn’t sure if my teacher wanted me to or if she would rather me simply observe. I walked around and assisted ocassionally when I began feeling too removed. I don’t mind being at the back of the room if that’s where my teacher would like me to be as I can still observe and learn, I’m just confused about the change.

Today was an interesting opportunity as I was able to observe my cooperating teacher in a new light. Although I have been observing for weeks, I had a new perspective. Because I have taught in this classroom as the primary teacher for a few weeks, I could now observe my teacher with new insight. I could see how she handled situations I struggled with and notice techniques that I used that seem to be more effective than hers. I was pleased to find that the classes were about the same as when I was in charge, so perhaps my classroom management skills aren’t in need of as much improvement as I may have originally thought.

The advanced classes, (AP, Painting III/IV, and Painting II,) are not difficult to handle and they went about the same as they always do. It was the Art I classes, (2nd, 3rd, and 5th Period,) that I was most interested in observing. I immediately noticed that the 2nd and 3rd Periods were actually less managed and more wild than when I was in charge. Students were incredibly verbal, way more confident in moving about the room and messing with each other, and were more combative in getting to work. They felt comfortable wasting time and picking on my teacher. My cooperating teacher was very friendly and playful with the students, so I’m trying to figure out whether I need to lighten up a bit or if it would benefit my teacher to harden down a bit. The 2nd and 3rd periods did go pretty well, but the 5th Block class was not as successful.

During the 5th Block class, my cooperating teacher really struggled managing the class. Students were throwing clay, using language, and being disruptive. My teacher was instructing and giving a presentation throughout the majority of the class time and I was appalled at how unattentive the 5th Block class was. While the 2nd and 3rd Block classes were chatty, they were attentive to the presentation. They were commenting on the presentation and interacting with my teacher. This class, however, was chatty and talkative but were not paying attention to the presentation. They were talking with each other, turned away from the front of the room, and ignoring the teacher. Several students kept asking what they were supposed to be doing and my teacher kept having to repeat herself. Several times she stopped the presenation to try and wrangle the class back in. She called students out, kept telling them to stop talking, pay attention, put away electronic devices, and even sent students out into the hallway. Nothing seemed to work, though, and at one point she completely stopped her presentation and sent the students to work. I was surprised that she wasn’t able to get through her entire presentation like she had in the 2nd and 3rd Block classes. I feel bad for the students who are well-behaved in the 5th Block class as they are losing out on instruction. I don’t know what my teacher could have done, but that class did not seem to go well.

Another thing that I was surprised about today was when I observed the first Art I class. I had filled my teacher in on where the students were. I told her that I had graded all of the work and entered it into the grade book, so she would need to hand back the work. I also told her that most students have finished sculpting their clay creatures and we left them out to dry over the weekend. Several of the students would be ready to paint them today. I also let her know that there are still some students who aren’t finished sculpting, and a few who haven’t even started. We also still have a student working on her printmaking since no deadline was set. When students came into the classroom and asked eagerly if they would be painting their creatures, I just told them we’d have to wait and see what my cooperating teacher has planned for the day. I was surprised when my cooperating teacher began the class with, “All right, everyone put your clay away and get your sketchbooks out! We’re starting a new assignment today! We’re moving on!” She expressed that she couldn’t wait for the students to be finished with clay.

I felt odd and concerned for the students. I’m hoping that they’ll be able to at least finish their clay creatures. I don’t know how my teacher is going to address students who haven’t even started the clay, and what about the ones still working on printmaking? The students were also upset when they found out that after drying their clay they weren’t going to be able to paint today. I’m also confused as my cooperating teacher told me I had to work with clay. She shouldn’t be tired of it already when she requested it.

Today I just felt a bit like I’m being phased out and if my teacher is trying to reset everything back to normal and reclaim her territory. I can understand that, but I’m still here for another week and she’ll be getting another student teacher next week. I wonder if she’ll make her sit in the back of the room. We’ll just have to see.


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