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Day 32

Today was my last day Student Teaching at Canyon High School. It was very bittersweet as I have come to love something about each of the students. I met my goal of learning every single one of their names and took the time to learn about them as individuals. I also became familiar with the teachers, the school, and the schedule. Today, I actually felt like this was just a normal day and then realized that it will all be changing again on Monday. Monday I will start Student Teaching at Goodwin-Frazier Elementary School with a new cooperating teacher.

Today I gave my cooperating teacher a small gift and thanked her for her service. I really enjoyed her critique, suggestions, and feedback. I thought that she was an effective mentor and I’m glad that I got paired with her. Although we may not have the same teaching styles, I still feel like I learned a great deal from her.

During some of my classes, students were sad to see me go. A large group of boys gave me a group hug after I announced that it was my last day and throughout the day several students stopped by during passing periods to give me a hug and say bye again. My cooperating teacher said that it’s moments like that when you know you’re doing something right and that you’re there for a reason. I really enjoyed learning which students really enjoyed being with me.

Today my cooperating teacher was pulled out to substitute for another class again. I feel like she’s been pulled out every single day this week. This gave me a final chance to flex my teacher muscles as I managed the classes during their work days. It was difficult to get students to work again; this time because it was Friday and they were all looking forward to the weekend. I can’t count how many times I heard, “I don’t want to work right now. I’ll do it over the weekend.” It didn’t help that my teacher extended her Friday deadline to Monday because of the shortened class periods this week. I really struggled getting students to work diligently.

I made sure to take photographs of all the student work from the lessons I created, though I wish I could have seen them finished. The clay creations from Art I are still sitting on the back shelves and I don’t know when they’ll be worked on again. The students keep asking me when they’re going to paint them, but it’s all up to my cooperating teacher. The Painting III/IV students were supposed to have finished their paintings today, but several of them did not, and some of them looked rushed or were turned in unfinished. I’m not sure if extending the deadline again would have benefited them or not because they tend not to work when the deadline isn’t close. Some of them also don’t appear to care about deadlines at all as one student who was nowhere near finished would not work on her piece today. I’m still learning how to set deadlines, yet remain flexible with the curriculum.

Overall, it was a pleasant day, but odd to think that I may never set foot in Canyon High School again. “Have a great life!” I called out to the students after the bell rang as I may never see some of them again. It’s always odd to me to think that I will get to know some of these people really well in a short amount of time and then never see them afterwards. It’s odd, but that’s how it would be when I’m a teacher as well. At least I’m not one who gets all choked up about having to say goodbye. I enjoyed my time at Canyon High School and I hope that this trend continues.


| Student Teaching Reflections |

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Day 31

Today was another shortened day as classes were delayed until 10:30am. Because the students still went to all of their classes, they were all reduced in order to make up the two hour difference. This meant that we had two days in a row with shortened class periods that made it difficult to get the students to work. With such little time in the day, they felt like they didn’t need to work. I’m not sure how a teacher might combat this. Today was a workday for the students, so perhaps making it an instruction day may be more beneficial. Work days can be difficult to get students to actually work and when they’re cut short, it’s even more difficult.

Lately, my school has been short on substitute teachers. Because of this, my cooperating teacher has been pulled out of the room to substitute for another teacher several times in the last two weeks. Today she was called out of 2nd and 3rd periods, so I was left in charge of the classes. Because it was just a work day, it was simple, but it was still a challenge to get the students to work. It was especially difficult for 3rd Block as students were unmotivated and rowdy. I tried my best to assist students and manage the class, constantly reminding the class that their new assignment is due tomorrow and that they have no time to waste.

During 4th Block, something happened that astonished me. Yesterday, an incredibly skilled student had painted a photo-realistic bird on a large piece of paper and I was discussing the background with him. He was convinced that he wanted to crop the paper, which would not meet the criteria standards and I thought would hurt the piece. I was talking with him about background options, but he wasn’t liking any of them. Finally I convinced him to try some kind of background and if he really didn’t like it, then we could crop the picture and paint the background white again. I tried to explain that once he cropped it, that’d be it and he couldn’t go back, but with trying a background, he could always paint over it. After class yesterday I saw his painting on the drying rack with a gorgeous array of colors. I was thrilled with the background he had added and thought that it really enhanced the piece.

Student Work

Student Work

Today, my teacher found the student painting over the entire background with white paint at the start of the class. She had also liked the colored background and began freaking out when she saw what he was doing. “What are you doing?! Don’t do that!” she cried. She called for me to come over, and I also pleaded that he stop and think about what he was doing. The student explained that he didn’t like the background and that he just wanted to paint it all white and crop it down. I talked with the student for a bit to figure out what to do. The white wasn’t thick yet, so some of the colors were still coming through. I thought that it looked interesting and added a unique texture, so I offered he continue that around the entire background. I also suggested he only use dark, cool colors when he explained that he hadn’t liked the bright yellow colors in the background. He decided to paint the background white and then figure out what to do after that.

The student continued painting over the background when suddenly my teacher came and grabbed the painting from him. “Nope, you’re done,” she said.

“But-but!”

“Nope. I said you’re done. You’re not ruining this any more than you already have.”

“But Ms. Deatherage,” I began, “the damage is already done.” I tried to stop my cooperating teacher because he hadn’t even finished painting over the background. Now it looked incredibly unfinished. If he at least painted the whole thing white, it would look more unified.

“Nope. You can have it back after we grade it.”

“Well, isn’t it going to get a really low grade for not being finished?!” the student pleaded.

“I don’t know,” explained my cooperating teacher. “Miss Brooks will be grading this. What grade would this get?” she asked me.

I suddenly felt put on the spot. “Well, it’s obviously unfinished. Half of the background hasn’t even been painted…”

“You can get it back after we grade it,” my teacher concluded as she tacked the painting to the wall where students are required to place finished work.

“But it’s still wet!” the student called out.

The student wasn’t very upset, but I still felt odd. I would never take a painting away from a student like that unless they were throwing it in the trash. If a student is working on a painting, then it’s not finished and shouldn’t be turned in. Although the original background was better, there wasn’t anything we could do at the point where half of it was already painted over. The student should have at least been able to paint over the whole thing and then try out a new background or do whatever he was thinking to improve the piece. This situation may have also hurt the student’s ego, security, or even how he feels about his skills and decision-making. I was just very taken aback by the whole ordeal.

Throughout Student Teaching, I have definitely learned that students will hate their artwork more often than they will like it. I have amassed an enormous collection of artwork from students who didn’t want to keep their artwork or even threw away their artwork. I have been salvaging all of the artwork I can. I believe that when students have more control over the assignments and what they are creating that they will come to like their artwork more. I feel that students should have more freedom in this regard. I’m really sick of seeing artwork in the trash or hearing of students wanting to paint over the whole thing. Hopefully this won’t be as big of an issue in my class.


| Student Teaching Reflections |

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Day 30

Today felt like a rushed day because it was an Early Release Day for the Comal Independent School District. All of the classes were cut short to allow the students to get out two hours early and, as a result, it was difficult for the students to complete work in such a short amount of time.

Today was another intersting day of observation as the classes seemed to be even more out of control today than they did yesterday. 1st Block was fine because it’s AP and there’s only four students, but the 2nd Block class was wild and crazy. Before class even started, several students were at the front of the room, one student messing with the computer, one sitting at the teacher’s desk, and others standing around not getting their work out or working. One student was even wearing my cooperating teacher’s glasses.

Throughout the entire class period, my teacher was not able to get the class managed, and this is the easiest Art I class of the day! She kept egging students to start working, telling them to have a drawing done by the end of the day, and instructing them to stop goofing off and get back to work. It seemed like no matter what she did, she couldn’t convince them to work. Finally, she pleaded, “Fine, I’ll just bribe you to work! Anyone with a drawing done by the end of class will get a lollipop or other candy!” The class was still rowdy and unproductive, but several students earned the reward by the end of class.

The next period started as my teacher was called out of the room to substitute for another class. I jumped into the lead and tried to take more control over the class. I had everyone be completely silent so that I could deliver the information. I told the class that they had the option of working on their clay or on the new drawing assignment, but those were the only choices. I also explained that because the drawing assignment is due this Friday and the clay has no deadline at the moment, they should probably work on their drawings. I questioned the students to make sure they understood and set them to work.

One student was incredibly reluctant to start drawing because he doesn’t believe in his abilties, so I decided to inspire him with word art, a form of art made using words. After showing him some examples and asking him how he could integrate it into the current drawing assignment, he was suddenly excited. “Oh…I can do that! I can write words, so I can make art with words!” he exclaimed and immediately set to work. He had a finished drawing by the end of the class period. I felt proud to have inspired him and I hope that he’ll continue with this confidence throughout the year after I leave.

My teacher returned shortly and, together, we managed the class and kept them productive in the short amount of time that they had. I kind of felt that my teacher needed my help, so I decided not to return to the back of the room.

I did the same for 5th Block, aiding my teacher in assisting the students and managing the class. 5th Block was better today, but still hard to deal with. My teacher started off the class with a new seating chart, which really only moved about four or five troublesome students. The students were confused and unhappy with the change, but thankfully obliged without any issues. The seating change seemed to make a huge difference today as the disruptive students were quiet and not troublesome. They actually completed work, although it took one student a lot of coaching to get started. Overall, the class was loud and unproductive, but that seemed to be the trend with all of the classes today. Perhaps the Early Release Schedule was throwing off the students or making it feel like they didn’t need to accomplish something in the shortened amount of time. Between the two of us, my cooperating teacher and I helped students stay on task and figure out what they were working on.

During 7th Block, my university supervisor came to observe me at Canyon High School one last time. My cooperating teacher wanted to instruct, so I was asked to assist. I circulated the room and tried to help students get started on their pop art paintings. It was difficult to get some students to put away their electronic devices and pay attention to the presentation that my teacher repeated from yesterday.

After the observation, my cooperating teacher and university supervisor sat down with me to give a final evaluation. Thankfully, everything was what I was expecting, which shows that I am good at reflecting upon my own strengths and weaknesses. I know where I’m at and what I need to improve on. I’m glad that there weren’t any surprises. Basically, I am skilled at instructing, setting instructional outcomes, creating PowerPoints and lesson plans, and lecturing. Anything to do with planning, delivering information, creating assignments, etc. I have nailed down. Where I need to improve his mainly classroom management. I still need to work on my “teacher voice.” I need to find a way to get the entire class to stop talking, pay attention to me, and keep their attention on me. I also need to find procedures for dealing with incorrect behavior and act on them. This is my least favorite part about teaching and it’s what I most need to improve on.

Thankfully, my university supervisor explained that this is where most new or student teachers struggle, and they quickly learn the ropes and improve within a few years. She’s confident that I’ll find my place in my own classroom and will make a successful art educator. That’s a comforting thing to hear. I’m looking forward to a bright future!


| Student Teaching Reflections |

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Day 29

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.

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Day 28

Today was a pretty good day overall and I am happy with my results. Today was the last day that I will be acting as the primary teacher in the classroom. Today was also the day my cooperating teacher decided to take her “free day” which she is awarded for having a Student Teacher. She was allowed to take the day off while I taught the class without a substitute in the room. It was only me in the room, but I felt comfortable and confident.

Today, my Art I students took the Printmaking quiz that I worked on last week. There were three versions, one for EA Special Needs students, one for integrated Special Needs students, and one for the rest of the students. My cooperating teacher advised that I give the Special Needs version to students who were also just struggling in the class, but may not necessarily be identified as Special Needs. I found it difficult to remember who to give each quiz, especially since I was supposed to do so in a way that no one knew there were different quizzes. I ended up making one mistake, giving a student who is struggling in the class a “normal” quiz. After grading his quiz, though, he actually did well on it and would have only gotten one more question right on the Special Needs quiz. It’s difficult to keep track of all of the students with their individual needs and try to meet their needs in a private manner. This is something I will need to continue working on.

After grading all of the quizzes, I was pretty happy with the results. Most of the students did really well and there weren’t any questions that most of the class missed, meaning that my quiz seemed fair. I was especially worried about the diagram of a print I had put on the quiz that asked students to read some information such as, “This is Lindsey Brown’s fourth print. She plans on making ten prints in total. She wants to title it “Fox Eyes,” and then label the print using the information. Almost every single student succeeded with that part, which made me very proud. Many of the students did not label their prints correctly, so I’m glad to see that they can at least do so on a quiz.

Other than taking the quizzes, the rest of the class periods were work days in which students were continuing their clay creatures. Several of the clay creatures dried over the weekend, but we did have a few casualties. An elephant lost its head, a fox lost its horn, and several creatures had cracks or breaks. I worked with the students to repair their pieces and hope that they will dry without breaking this time. I’ve still been working with students to try to make their pieces strong in the first place so that their pieces won’t break when they dry.

I still found it difficult to manage the Art I classes when they were working on their clay creatures, but I’ve been told that it’s just always going to be that way. Thankfully, today was a lot better than Friday. Students were still out of their seats, needing hall passes, refusing to work, on their phones, messing with friends, needing my help, and all of the other activities that generally go on every day. I feel that I am learning how to generally manage these classes. I’m just worried about another serious event coming up, but hopefully I’ll be better able to handle it now.

There’s really not much else to report as it was a pretty chill day. I administered my quiz and found it to be fair and successful. I graded the quizzes along with other artworks that I’ve been struggling to find the time to grade and started handing back work. I made lists of the students who were missing work or were absent for the quiz and will be checking in with these students tomorrow. I entered all of the grades and feel caught up on everything. I am proud of my work today and look forward to tomorrow.


| Student Teaching Reflections |

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Day 27

Today was an odd day as it was good for the most part, but I had one of my worst classroom management issues.

Today, my cooperating teacher was pulled from the room as the school was short on substitute teachers. She was asked to sub for another class, so I was the only teacher in the room all day. I wasn’t worried as I’ve subbed for my teacher several times and have been the primary teacher for almost two weeks now. Plus, it was Friday, and the classes are usually easier to handle on Fridays.

The classes did go well for the most part. I was direct with the students about what I expected from them at the end of the day, even though it was a work day, and I reminded them about the quiz that they’ll be taking on Monday. I helped students continuously and seemed to bond with the students as well as they talked to me about their interests and told me that they didn’t want me to leave after next Friday. I felt that the classes were productive, yet fun. I was feeling pretty good about everything, but then 5th Block occurred.

5th Block is notoriously the hardest class to control and the most tiring class of the entire day. I was expecting today to go smoothly as it was another work day and because the Special Needs students had let me know that they were not going to be in attendance today. We have a group of about 10 Special Needs students that come to the class each day, so without them, the near-40-student class would be greatly diminished. I thought that this would make the class quieter, more focused, and easier to handle. Unfortunately, I had several issues and did not address them all correctly.

The class began as normal with several different students needing me for several different reasons. I was taking attendance when I received a call from Tutorials asking for one of my students. When I told the student he needed to report to Tutorials, he wouldn’t go at first. Students needed to get a drink, go to the bathroom, needed my help, and some even needed to turn in assignments from last week. I felt overwhelmed for just one person. Finally, everything was settled and the work day began, but there were some students I just could not get to work. It’s hard to motivate students to work, help students who need assistance, manage students who are misbehaving, and keep an eye on the entire class at the same time. Teaching is way more than I was expecting. I just don’t remember seeing this many problems when I was in high school as a student.

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Day 26

Today was an okay day. Thankfully, I felt in a better mood than I have been most of this week as I felt less tired and more chipper. I’ve been feeling increasingly stressed all week.

Today I had a new experience as I was invited to sit in on an ARD Meeting. I have never had any experience with an ARD Meeting before, so this was enlightening and I learned a lot. While I have studied and learned about these meetings in classes, it is much more beneficial to actually see the meeting in person. This particular meeting was addressing a student with incredible vision disabilities. Legally blind and 19 years old, this student is working towards becoming more independent so that he can get a job and start living a more independent life. I’m not sure what kind of program the student is in, but it seemed incredibly beneficial for his needs. The members in attendance seemed to care for the student personally and were talking about his transition to a new program. They kept talking about his long-term goals of getting a job in the food industry or becoming a farmer, and would talk about how to help him reach those goals. I was surprised at some of the expectations they had set for the student, such as learning how to shower independently, fill out a job application, find transportation to and from work, and other life skills. These are skills that I do not feel are well-taught in the school system, so I was surprised that this student was in some kind of program that focused on teaching like this. His mother was also encouraging and interested in the meeting, wanting the best for her son. At the end of the meeting, all members signed in agreement for the year-long curriculum for the student. This was an incredibly beneficial meeting for me to witness.

Other than the ARD Meeting, the rest of the day was pretty standard as all of the classes have been participating in work days in order to complete their current assignments. I am still finding it difficult to help all of the students efficiently and effectively and managing all of the tasks that must be done such as taking attendance, signing hall passes, handing out supplies, and managing the classroom. I still feel like this job is too big for one person to handle.

This was incredibly apparent during 5th Period when the Special Needs students’ assistants asked for my assistance. The assistants felt that the students were completed with their clay creations and they wanted my approval on the pieces before setting them out to dry. While I was approving, I was showing how the creations needed to be made more sturdy in order to not break during the drying process. They also asked me to help two students who would not create a creature in particular with the clay, but would just play with it. I obliged, but this took up a great deal of my time and the rest of the class needed me as well. At one point, while I was helping the Special Needs students, my cooperating teacher emerged from the back of the room to manage the class and discipline misbehaving students. I felt hurt that I wasn’t doing my job well enough that my teacher had to intervene.

Today was tiring as I felt flustered and overworked. There’s also still a large pile of artworks and papers that need to be graded on my desk that I can’t seem to find time to grade. Even during my Conference period, something comes up, like the ARD Meeting today. Teaching is an incredibly exhausting career and I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to this kind of workload.


| Student Teaching Reflections |

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Day 25

Today I made three versions of the same quiz! I was asked to make a quiz for the Art I classes to take next Monday over the Printmaking unit they just recently completed and was happy to create one. I was then surprised when I was asked to create different versions, especially since the Color Theory quiz the Art I students took did not have different versions. I was asked to make one for the class as a whole, one for the students who have been identified as Special Needs in some way, and then one for the Special Needs students who come into the class separately and who are paired with assistants, (the EA students.) When the students took the Color Theory quiz, the EA students were simply excused and there weren’t alternate versions made for the integrated Special Needs students. Although my teacher may not make alternate versions, I was happy to create alternate versions, myself.

I was pleased with my original quiz as it contains a variety of questions: true or false, matching, labeling, fill in the blank, etc. I was also excited about my image of a print that the students need to label correctly. Overall, I think this quiz is well-made, so I will have to see how the students handle it next Monday.

I then created a modified version for the integrated Special Needs students and adjusted it after receiving feedback from my cooperating teacher. She suggested I make it shorter, take out harder questions, give less choices during matching and multiple choice, give choices during fill in the blank, and use images. She also explained that I would need to hand this modified version to identified students without anyone knowing that they were receiving a different version. This sounds tricky as I’ll have to personally hand each student their quiz to make sure they are receiving the right one without anyone knowing there’s a difference.

Afterwards I created one for the EA students. I was confused about making a quiz for them because they were excused last time. Many of the students cannot speak or will not speak, and some seem to have incredibly low function. My cooperating teacher and I suggest that one student is at a one-year-old’s level or so. How can I test someone who doesn’t even understand a language yet? I created a 5-question quiz that focused on basic ideas. I used pictures and all questions were multiple choice, many times with only two choices to choose from. I learned a great deal from making these quizzes, and after getting approval from my cooperating teacher and an EA assistant, I feel confident in my ability to modify for students’ needs.

Other than making the quizzes, the rest of the day was pretty standard. All of the classes are working on the same assignments from last week and have work days to try to complete them. I felt frazzled during the Art I classes, as always, as all of the students seemed to need me for something. I am still finding it difficult to manage these classes, especially when it comes to behavior. At one point, my cooperating teacher addressed a student for using foul language, and I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t caught it.

I still feel like I need to improve my classroom management skills. Lesson planning, making quizzes, and delivering instruction, I feel that I have mastered. I can create interesting presentations, keep students engaged, and create useful activities with clear learning objectives, but it is hard for me to raise my voice and it is hard for me to discipline students. I still feel that I have much growing to accomplish.


| Student Teaching Reflections |

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Day 24

Today was another tiring work day in which my entire day was filled with classroom management and assisting students as they work. I have found that I don’t like work days much. It is tiring on me as I pace the room and help students as they need. In the Art I classes I am frantically moving about as several students call for my help constantly. My feet hurt, I feel flustered, and I get incredibly bored. The days feel long, and I feel like I’m doing the same thing every day. I feel as if I’m not benefiting the students since I’m not actually teaching, but I know that’s not true. The students are receiving my personal help and are learning through creating as they work on their artworks. I just feel more energized when I’m actually instructing or presenting material. I haven’t figured out how to brighten work days for me.

Today I continuously ran out of clay for the Art I students and had to cut clay several times. Thankfully today was Cougar Time where classes are shortened to allow for a new class period in which the students participate in activities led by a peer team leader. I used this extra class period to cut more clay which I ended up needing again. I have found that I needed more clay than I thought and it may have been more beneficial to cut all 10 or so boxes of clay in one long setting, rather than cutting one box at a time. I am sick of cutting clay. It’s long, it’s dirty, and it’s hard to fit into the day. Next time I do clay, I’ll prepare for it better and cut all the clay I need ahead of time.

Because yesterday’s critique with the Painting II students didn’t seem to go well and all of the students turned in their artworks without changing them anyway, I had to come up with another thing for them to do while the rest of the students finish their assignments by the Wednesday deadline. It’s crazy that some students finished within a few days and others don’t look like they’re going to make the deadline. It’s hard to set deadlines in the art class.

To occupy the Painting II students temporarily, I decided to allow them an experimental day, something I’ve seen my cooperating teacher do. I explained that I would give a new assignment to the whole class tomorrow and today they have the day to experiment. “Dig out the watercolors, the acrylics, the pastels! Try something you haven’t tried before! We’ve got plenty of scrap paper; today’s about experimenting and learning on your own!” I was pleased that the students were very receptive. All of them were eager to try something on their own and many of them grouped up and painted together. There were portraits, landscapes, watercolor, acrylic…I was excited for what they were creating and learning. I thought that this was a beneficial experience for the students and an exciting reward for finishing early. They were occupied, painting, and seemed to be learning. Unfortunately though, my cooperating teacher told me afterwards that she would prefer that I have an actual activity for the students instead of allowing an experimental day. Tonight I need to prepare a new activity for the early finishers to work on. In the future, I think that an experimental day could be a positive reward for good behavior or possibly for students who finish early. As long as students are working and learning, I believe that it is beneficial.


| Student Teaching Reflections |

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Day 23

Today was the beginning of my second week acting as the primary teacher as if my cooperating teacher was not in the room. I found that I was much more comfortable and confident today and felt as if I’ve been the actual teacher the whole time. I’m not sure why that is since I’ve only been the teacher for about a week, but maybe it’s because I have substituted for my teacher at least 5 days. In a way, this is my third week as the primary teacher!

This week is primarily a work week for all of my students, so my job will be mostly classroom management and helping students personally. I found that it is still difficult to assist the Art I classes as students need clay, printmaking materials, ideas, inspiration, personal help, management, so many things! I am finding it difficult to bounce from one student to the next and having to tell students that I’ll get to them in a second as I help another who’s called for help. This is increased in difficulty when a large number of Special Needs students is in the class as I must greatly modify for them and aware their assistants of the day’s agenda and procedures. I literally feel like I’m teaching two classes in one during those class periods. Thankfully, my cooperating teacher has been assuring me that while the class may seem chaotic, I’m actually succeeding in keeping the students busy and well-managed. Whenever she says this I feel a lot better as I find myself with sore feet, just about out of breath, and feeling a bit defeated after the Art I classes. Perhaps I just need to build more self-confidence and assurance. I may just need to adjust to this hectic and busy job.

Today I learned a good deal more about the Painting II class. Last Wednesday we started a new painting assignment, “What’s Your Problem?” an assignment that the class voted on. I was expecting the assignment to take the full two weeks that I would be teaching but after a day or two I quickly realized that the students were working much more quickly than I anticipated. I set a deadline for this Wednesday, but still found that almost half the class was finished on Friday. Because of this, I needed to quickly come up with something else. Today, I decided to hold a miniature critique with the students who had finished. Those who hadn’t would continue on their projects and wouldn’t participate in the critique. We aligned all of the completed pieces along a table and I had all of the completed students gather around. I explained that the point of the critique was to see how successful the pieces were and to suggest ways to make them even stronger. I reminded the students that they had until Wednesday to make any changes and make their pieces incredibly strong.

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Day 22

Today started off with an emotional moment as one of our AP students received an email from the University of Texas, the college she’s hoping to attend. She asked if she could call the school and we allowed it. Shortly afterwards, she returned and explained that she was denied from the engineering program, the program she was hoping to attend. She began crying and tried to hide her face and apologize. My cooperating teacher and I tried to console her and help her figure out what to do next. By the end of the class, we had come up with a Plan B, but it was unpleasant to go through. This student also scored a 4 at the V.A.S.E. competition recently, (the highest score possible,) but didn’t make it to the State Level. It’s hard for me to witness heartbreak in my students and I want to do all that I can to help them.

For some reason, today seemed to run much more smoothly than the previous days. While I did take time to pre-cut a lot of paper and to pre-cut a lot of clay so that I was not trying to do so in the classes, I did end up having to cut during classes anyway. Still, the classes were much quieter, less rowdy, and students were generally in their seats. Even my cooperating teacher was surprised and remarked at how orderly and quiet the classes were being. I made sure to inform the students of the proper cleaning procedures and the order of tasks they need to complete. I continuously circled the room to help students and monitor the class, and I just feel like it was a successful day. I didn’t even need to use my bell to get the students’ attention today. My cooperating teacher echoed my thoughts, telling me that I’m doing well and that she has no further critique for me at the moment.

Today I was given the chance to address a student about naming his prints an inappropriate title. While I was taking the dry prints out from the drying racks and stacking them on the appropriate class shelves, I noticed that one of the prints was labeled “Raw AF.” I was pretty sure I knew what the “AF” stood for and when I mentioned something to my cooperating teacher the AP students in the room agreed with me, confirming what I thought it meant. My cooperating teacher told me to set the prints aside and address the student about it in person. When that class came about, she asked if I would like her to address the student or if I would like to. I decided to address the student and when I asked him what his title meant, he confirmed that it was inappropriate. I asked him to retitle his prints or lose credit in the class and was happy when he renamed them “Raw.”

Although I am completely exhausted and my feet are incredibly sore from standing all day, I am happy with the day. I feel that the classes ran smoothly, students finished a lot of work and made a lot of progress, and I had a better handle on the classes. I felt more comfortable, more confident, and more successful. I hope that this trend continues, though I do hope that I feel less tired at the end of the day. I am looking forward to next week.

Also, today after school I have been invited to participate in a parent-teacher conference. My cooperating teacher does not know what the meeting is about and the student is generally well-behaved, well-liked in the class, and not failing the class. We aren’t sure what to expect. Because the meeting is after school and I don’t know how long it will run and because my daily report is due after school, I am writing my report now during my 6th period off-period. I am certain, however, that I will gain valuable knowledge from this meeting as I will be able to see how my cooperating teacher interacts with parents and holds meetings and see how parents interact with teachers. I am also hoping to be a valuable asset to the meeting, possibly able to add to the conversation. I am eager to see what I learn.


| Student Teaching Reflections |

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Day 21

Today started off as a pretty crummy day. I came to school with a headache and stomachache and found myself to be dizzy, fatigued, weak, and feeling warm. I was unsure if I would be able to teach today, but I stuck it out and ended up teaching the entire day. It turned out that I started feeling better as the day went on.

The Art I classes were crazy as always. Students are still trying to finish up their printmaking while some are starting clay. Today I handed out several bags of clay for the students who were ready to begin and started to help them sculpt their creatures. Each day I feel more confident that these two units shouldn’t be overlapping as my cooperating teacher requested they be. The class is too chaotic with students trying to set up printmaking stations and I found it difficult to balance between students needing more paper cut for the printmaking, and students needing clay cut. I also felt that the students starting clay hadn’t received proper instruction, yet the printmaking students needed to finish. My cooperating teacher asked that I not spend much time on instruction for the clay unit so that the students could finish their prints, but I felt that the students with clay were left in the dark. In my own classroom, I want to set flexible deadlines. If students are working, then the deadline can be extended, but if they aren’t working, then they will have to face the consequences. I think that this will help my schedule and will put responsibility on my students. If a deadline had been set for the printmaking unit, then this overlap wouldn’t be occurring.

I would also like to have alternate assignments for students who have finished early. My cooperating teacher always starts students who are finished on the next assignment, but then this causes that student to become way ahead of schedule in proportion to the rest of the class. She will then introduce the new activity to the entire class for the student ready to move on, but the students who aren’t ready yet don’t pay close enough attention, and the student moving on doesn’t receive an in-depth introduction, but a short and rushed one. I just think this entire system isn’t very effective and I want to change it in my own classroom.

Today in the Painting IV class, I received a small boost in confidence. One of our students as been out sick all week and was in attendance today. I overheard her asking the students around her some questions and it reminded me that she missed the introduction to the current lesson. I asked her if she would like to go over the PowerPoint with her to introduce her to the lesson and one of the students next to her said, “Oh yeah, you should do that. It’s actually a good PowerPoint!” That really made me feel proud as I put a lot of effort into my presentations to make sure that they are interesting, engaging, educational, and effective. I felt so happy to hear that at least one student really enjoyed the presentation and it inspired me to continue putting in so much effort. In fact, yesterday I woke at 4:00am to finish my PowerPoint for the Art I classes. I really care about quality presentation and am glad that my students are appreciating it; or at least just one student.


| Student Teaching Reflections |