Saturday, August 4, 2012

No news yet...

Registration at the school just concluded, so now it's a waiting game.  Meanwhile, the kids I watched moved away, and I'm currently not doing anything else and a little bit bored, which translates to more interview questions:

Q: What do you want to do with your life?
A: This is a hard question to answer because it's way to broad.  What do I want to do as an educator, what do I want to do as a (someday) wife and mother, those are easier to answer.  I want to inspire a love of learning and reading in at least one child I come in contact with.  I don't need to be a savior to every child I meet, or be a teacher that gets a book written or a movie made about them, I'm happy to be a teacher that kids look back fondly on and remember well, like I do a lot of my teachers.  I do want to finish every year feeling like my students and I are a family.  I want to get married, have kids, and build a life surrounded by family and friends, with big noisy get-togethers and group vacations.  I'd like to volunteer my time, effort and money in support of reading, education, and homeless pets.

Q: How do you feel if a student does not meet a deadline?
A: That depends on the amount of effort I've seen put forth in other stages of the project or other projects I've assigned.  A student who is generally on-time with assignments can be cut some slack, if they can show me the work that they've done so far and can get it in as close to the deadline as possible.  A student who constantly turns in late, sloppy, half-finished work would need to be put on some sort of improvement plan, and parents should be involved in encouraging the student to up his or her game.  I would try not to take it personally, students don't generally neglect classwork because of a problem with the teacher.  Most important to me would be finding out the reason for the student's behavior - is there something outside of school that is making them unable to do their work?  Are they feeling too challenged and not supported enough?  My main feeling would be that I want to get to the root of the problem and help them to solve it if I can.

Q: It is the first day of class, you are writing something on the board and a paper wad hits you in the back, what would you do?  Later the same day, if all the students drop their pencils, what do you do?
A: On the first day of class, I'd probably be very strict, because you can always be hard and get nicer but you can't go backwards.  We'd talk about how you can get in just as much trouble for intention as you can for an action.  A wad of paper hitting a person is not going to cause much damage, but if the person is a teacher trying to instruct students and the paper came from a student who is trying to be disruptive and disrespectful, then it doesn't matter if it was a wad of paper or something that could hurt someone.  The person responsible would have to write a letter of apology to me and also the class, and parents would be called.  Also, if my students were so organized on the first day that they could orchestrate themselves all dropping their pencils simultaneously, they should use that power to accomplish things instead of making their teacher mad.  They'd miss recess coming up with a list of ways they could work together to do good inside the school and classroom instead of prank-ing their teacher.  I don't approve of missing recess for just anything, but something that big deserves big consequences.

Q:  What was the most frustrating thing that happened to you as a student teacher?
A: There was an instance where I was in classroom by myself while the mentor teacher had a 2 hour lunch (a privilege all the teachers got at some point during the year).  It wouldn't have been a big deal, except that it was Kindergarten and it was a "bilingual" class.  This meant it was me and 17 five-year-olds who only spoke Spanish.  Luckily, it was 2 classes that rotated between a math teacher and a language arts teacher, so I had seen the calendar and morning meeting lesson earlier in the day.  I was able to do the days of the week, the months of the year, and butchered my way through a story book in Spanish until it was time for Specials, and then the teacher got back.  The point was made that for a group of student teachers that did not include ANYONE who was planning on bilingual education, or even ANYONE who spoke Spanish, why was this mentor teacher selected?  The class operated on a schedule where 3 days a week, only Spanish was spoken in the classroom.  How then were the student teachers supposed to teach lessons?  Luckily, during the 2nd semester, this mentor opted not to have a student teachers, so none of us had to worry about it, and I learned I can fly solo even in the most confusing of environments.

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