Saturday, September 22, 2007

Settling Down

I'm already finished with 3 weeks of school! It's hard to believe that so much time has passed already, but at the same time I can't believe that so much has happened in the past 3 weeks.

Things are settling down, which is a good thing. It's becoming a lot more comfortable being in the classroom, I'm learning my role a bit more, and I think my CT and I are learning to communicate a bit better. Oberall, i think my big stress week was really a lot of emotions coming togetehr and making it seem worse than it really was because it was so new. Now that I'm starting to have more of a routine, life is much more consistent.

Let's see. The elementary school is good. :-) It is still challenging, especially managing behavior in the classroom. I just don't have the experience yet, and there are 21 kids, so it's hard. I'm learning as I go. We have some difficult students, but I think their main problems are that they are frustrated. Of our 21 students, 15 are below grade-level in reading. 10 of them are 2 grade levels behind. This makes for difficulty when we want them to work on something independently. If they can't read the directions, the numbers, anything, they get frustrated and don't want to do it. Other problems are stubbornness and anger management, but they are also in process.

Things I'm learning about myself in all of this school process are vast. I'm learning how I naturally react to problems in the classroom, and whether or not that is effective. I'm getting to see how my personality fits into the routines we have established, and how I might start things in my own classroom. By observing other teachers, I'm also seeing the wide array of options available...we really don't need to "recreate the wheel"...there are SO MANY good ideas that we can share with each other! It's not going to be about what new and creative idea I use. It's going to be more about how I use what I've seen to be effective in a way that fits my personality and teaching style. I've also seen my sinfulness, and that of the world as a whole... I just get angry or frustrated/irritated sometimes. I react in ways that I know I do not want to react, but they are what come out first. I know there will be some sanctification in process, and I'm starting to learn what Jason meant when he said God was teaching him a lot about patience his first year teaching...

College is also going well. The two classes are so different, but the concepts that we are discussing really are connecting. For example, yesterday in class 1 (our "collaboration" class) we talked about problem solving. Certain problems (especially when it comes to educational placement of a child) are "ill-defined," meaning they have no clear-cut solution. Those are the hardest to solve collaboratively, because there are so many other options/ideas to weigh and discuss. We practiced this in role-playing. Then, in class 2 (our "language development" class), we are collaboratively problem-solving. We are working on case-studies involving real teachers, students, and parents, creating a wiki where we can share our research and proposed solutions as well as discuss the outcomes of whatever interventions occur. It's really cool, but completely different than any other class we have been in. I like it when things connect, though. :-) Our other "class" is a seminar, and this week we had a speaker about behavior management. It was good! I learned a lot, and got some more ideas about how to start things when I have my own classroom.

Outside of elementary school and college, life is good. I don't do a whole lot, but I'm hoping to get involved in a church pretty quick. There are 2 options so far that seem realistic and potentially where God wants me, but I don't know which one yet. I'm actually just going to one for the first time tomorrow. :-) The first (that I went to last weekend: The River) is a church that seems very similar to Riverview, which would be good. I even met a couple that are about my age.... The second (that I will go to tomorrow: Lighthouse Chapel) seems really cool because the services are in ASL, and the pastor is Deaf. I'm excited, even though the pastor won't be there tomorrow, I'll at least get to experience it a little bit. :-) I'll keep you posted on what I learn.

I think that might be all....
I have a lot that I need to do this weekend, but I know it'll all get done. God bless, and have a great night!

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