After completing my second full week of teacher assisting, I am confident of one thing: Middle School is where I want to teach. It’s not because of the snotty noses, the sweaty high-fives, the peculiar smells in the hallway, or even the 15th time I’m asked what page the homework is on when it is clearly written on the board. None of these things are what I love about middle school, but what I do love is hidden underneath. It’s the tiniest amount of innocence and willingness to learn that’s still beheld by middle schoolers that too often seems to disappear once they transition into high school that makes them such a gift, if you will, to teachers like myself who are willing to put aside all of the less than appealing sides of these preteen learners.
By now, the students have gotten pretty used to having Dominic and I in the classroom and seem to be just as comfortable with us as they are with our CT. We have moved on to some bigger responsibilities, such as grading quizzes and homework, as well as going over homework questions with the class. I have really enjoyed this, and this has been my first experience in front of the classroom thus far. I was pretty nervous at first, but I’ve realized lately that my nerves are simply stemming from the fear of the unknown. It went pretty smoothly, however it is nerve-racking having twenty-some beady eyes on you just waiting for you to do something to make their day more entertaining – good or bad. As the week went on, I got more and more comfortable with my teaching style and with how I wanted to manage the students. Things can get pretty out of hand quickly, I’ve learned, so it’s important to have tricks to reel ’em back in in a way in which you want them to respect and view you as a teacher. Speaking of the students; I love them. Each and every one of them. They’re a riot. Kids say the darnedest things.
“It’s weird when you hear teachers call each other by their first names. It’s like they’re friends or something.”
This past week I sat down with Dominic and one of our professors to talk about what goals we have for this semester of Teacher Assisting. Going into the meeting, I really didn’t know what to expect, nor did I know what to tell to my professor. I had so many things I wanted to accomplish this semester, how could I possibly put them into words? So naturally, when asked those dreaded words, “What are your goals for this semester, Kelsie?” a disorganized explosion of words flooded out of my mouth. I truly felt bad for the two men in the room that had to listen to my barely comprehensible mumbling, but I didn’t know how to make it stop. Eventually, with the help of my professor, I was able to organize my thoughts. I realized that what I was really wanting to focus on this semester was getting comfortable with the material I’m going to be teaching, as well as learning how to make killer (is that still cool to say?) lessons. I was really wrapped up on the idea that I don’t know how to write a lesson plan. This turned out to be kind of funny, because a few days later in my seminar class, we spent almost the entire class period talking about the format our school uses for lesson planning, and our assignment this week is to create one. It’s kind of funny how things have a way of working themselves out.
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
– William Arthur Ward
I have spent the first 22 years of my life being a student. Being a teacher assistant doesn’t change that, as I will probably learn more during this semester than any semester in the past. However, this is the first time in my life where others will view me as a teacher. This is exciting as well as utterly terrifying. My first week as a teacher assistant went slightly different than planned. I got a taste of one of the small (yeah right, HUGE) benefits of teaching; snow days! With two of those bad boys to start our week, I was completely discombobulated by the time Wednesday rolled around. That first day in the classroom was awkward and full of nerves, but come Thursday you would think a week had passed. The students were already starting to warm up to Dominic (the other TA in our classroom) and I, and we were connecting more with our Cooperating Teacher (CT), Lindsey. I am already falling in love with the school and the students. I truly cannot wait to see what this semester will bring.
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”