It’s time for mid-terms, which means it is also time for the obligatory scholastic disillusionment post. Tonight I practice my ASL handshape story, a five minute story told through the use of body language and next to no actual signs, and study for the Shakespeare mid-term for which I am wholly unexcited. I can’t wait to have one full guilt-free week off.
I don’t care much at all anymore, and know I’m half-heartedly jumping through the required hoops. This does not a good student make.
After almost one full week with a fever Ethan went to the doctor and we found that he has, of all things, scarlet fever. It sounds so Old World Victorian (“My baby has the plague!”) but turns out to be a strain of strep throat with a body rash. All week long I asked Does your throat hurt? Nope. Do your ears hurt? Nope. Okay then. The fever must be the pink eye or Fifth Disease, certainly not the Black freakin’ Plague.
In other news I have begun to get phone calls for student teaching interviews.
Going to the high school and observing the classrooms has begun to move my internal view of myself from student to teacher. Today I passed out an initital survey to the students and found that everyone is both classes has a computer, only three don’t have internet access at home, and at least six have both a website and a blog. I hope to do my semester research on the connections, if any, between technological literacy and scholastic success, primarily based on case studies, interviews, and student work. The school I observe in is unusually outfitted with the latest ed tech and the teacher I observe with uses it to its maximum degree. This is quite rare in secondary Lit classrooms, so I want to explore what kinds of effects it has on the classroom environment as well.
One of my greatest difficulties this semester has been establishing a teacherly persona. I am in the schools for two class periods. The first is overall well-behaved and engaged in the lessons at hand, while the second period is essentially run by a group of rowdy boys who insist on having the last word and making the class into a comedy venue. Truthfully they’re quite funny. This is a problem. Once I start laughing I can’t stop.
Further, they are obsessed with my presence in the classroom where the first period observed doesn’t care one way or another. Every day I get a barrage of questions ranging from What did you do this weekend? to Where do you live?, What is your first name?, What’s your screen name? Can we chat? and I’ll bet you go to frat parties, don’t you? I switch between giving smartass answers and none at all.
When I finally picked a lesson plan to teach (after abandoning the idea of Sandra Cisneros, we settled on Eliot’s Prufrock, thanks for asking), the teacher informed me that she isn’t even going to ask me to teach the second period. She said she felt like it would be throwing meat to the wolves, and frankly, I feel like fresh meat. Relief.
Perhaps the most telling experience indicating my need to better develop a teacherly persona happened last Friday. After listening to a long conversation between students on the finer points of punk rock, including the aural importance of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, how the size of piercing gauges correspond to numbers, what constitutes a cool tattoo, and other fine examples of high school inexperience, I found myself tempted to join in on a more-punk-than-you game that I thought I had long abandoned. In the interest of prudence, I shouldn’t divulge the stories I wanted to tell, but I guarantee that anything I could put on a list like this would be scandalous enough to blacklist me from any future teaching job and require an instant revocation of my laminated feminist card.
The overwhelming urge to bring in my CD collection and school these kids in the fineries of pre-1990’s pop culture has yet to pass.
Nirvana. Jesus. When did the 90’s become old school?
[For more on my observational experiences at this school, you can see my class blog: Miss Education.]