Today was my first Friday at Goodwin-Frazier Elementary School and it was an interesting day. Fridays at Goodwin-Frazer are called “Fitness Fridays” as all special classes are replaced with a gym class. Because art is considered a special class, this meant that my cooperating teacher and myself were in the gym the entire day. We did not teach one art class today. This will be the case for every Friday, so I am no longer looking forward to the end of the week.
The day started off with an assembly, which I’ve been told happens every Friday. The school has started a new program called P.R.I.D.E. Leaders in which students who show leadership potential are granted P.R.I.D.E. Leader badges that grant them extra privileges such as being able to walk in the halls without a supervisor. During today’s assembly, the next batch of students to be granted the P.R.I.D.E. Leader badges were announced and congratulated as their badges were granted. The system actually seems like a good idea as I hear all of the teachers talking about P.R.I.D.E. Leaders. They use it as a reward and a reinforcement for students who do and don’t have the badges. My cooperating teacher said that this is something they should have been doing since the start of the year.
After the assembly, the first gym class began. Because the 4th and 5th grade students have been watching a maturity video and starting a sexual education program this week during the art classes, I’ve already hosted two gym classes this week. One day the girls were in the sex ed program and the boys were in the gym and the next day, vice versa. Today was exactly the same as those two classes, so I did the same exact thing 6 times today. The students entered the gym, sat on the floor, were given instructions, had to run 5 laps around the track, then had the rest of the class period to play with the different stations set up about the gym. Students could play with hippity-hops, hula hoops, basketballs, soccer balls, jump ropes, racers, scooterboards, puzzles, building toys, white boards, or do gymnastics on the mats. The day was exhausting. All day I was on my feet, monitoring students, completely bored. I actually wanted to join the students in what they were doing. I would have loved to play with hula hoops, jump ropes, puzzles, building toys, or the scooterboards and racers. Ah, it looked like so much fun! I would have even liked to join the students in running laps around the track. I was so bored and sore from just standing and pacing all day. I could see why students would be excited for Fitness Friday, but for the art teacher, it’s no fun and we don’t get any fitness.
I feel as if my Friday reflections may be a bit short as this will be the schedule each week.
Thankfully, there was a bit of variety today as it was Club Day. My cooperating teacher explained to me that instead of having before- or after-school clubs, the school has decided to host three Club Days throughout the year in which the last class period is replaced with a club time. Every teacher hosts a club and every student gets to pick the one club that they would like to be in. My cooperating teacher’s club is the Serious Artists Club. She said that she added the “serious” part so that she would get mature, more responsible students who really are interested in creating art. Today, she gave the students air-dry clay from her leftover clay unit and instructed them to make whatever they wanted, but suggesting making bowls so they would be less likely to break. The students finished within half of the class period and the rest of the time was used for free draw or to color a coloring sheet my teacher had. While the students were working, my teacher was arranging all of the supplies she needed to do work over the Spring Break. I was so bored that I decided to sit down and color the coloring sheet alongside the students. Thankfully, that quickly cheered me up and ended up being enjoyable.
I still don’t feel comfortable here and I think that my relationship with my cooperating teacher may be one reason. We don’t have a bad relationship, I just feel like she doesn’t know what to do with me. Thus, I am given no instruction, information, or even acknowledgements, sometimes, as she’ll leave the room without saying anything. Her classroom is so well-organized, there’s nothing for me to clean up, her students are well-behaved, so I don’t need to work hard in order to manage them, and any time I ask if she needs any help, she doesn’t. And with no workspace, I don’t have a place to retreat to and observe and take notes. I did end up talking with my cooperating teacher today during lunch and she mentioned that she is a micro-manager and is serious about her work. I feel like she may be very similar to myself, and if that’s the case, then she may be nervous with me and not know how to handle me. I’m a bit too shy to approach her or start a conversation, but maybe it’s the same for her. I’m just really hoping that things will turn up in the following weeks.
Pharrell Williams – Happy
Here’s one of the songs that’s played at the beginning of the Friday assemblies.