Friday, September 26, 2008

New Clothes...

So I have decided that I need to update my wardrobe. This decision came after the conversation I had with a second grader as I was walking in to school this morning. This precious little boy in the class next door is really one of my favorites...he is always so happy and he's so cute! Anyway, I met him in the hall this morning as I was walking in. He says, "Mrs. Bell, you put on a black shirt this morning?" I said, "Yeah, I wore a black shirt so it would match my flip flops" (it was Flip Flop Friday at school today). He says, "but I can't believe you put on a black shirt, you usually put on a blue shirt." Apparently I have way too many blue shirts if a 2nd grader thinks that's all I wear!

Another funny comment from today was boy told me that his friend was sad because one of the "big kids" called him a nerd. I said, well that's why you weren't supposed to be playing with those "big kids", they're not very nice sometimes. Then the boy says, "well, being a nerd just means you're really, really smart, and it's good to be really, really smart. So I told my friend that he shouldn't be sad that someone called him a nerd, because a nerd is good." What a great perspective!

On another note, the same boy was telling Mrs. S (the teacher) a very sad story about his mother getting beaten up by her boyfriend. As Mrs. S was listening, she said "now you're never going to hit a girl, are you?" to which the boy replied "heck, I ain't never gonna hit nobody!" We felt better to at least know that maybe this boy hasn't been tainted by the bad influence of his mother's boyfriends. Thankfully, he no longer lives with his mother, since she obviously did not provide a safe environment for her son.

I made it through my 2 weeks of teaching by myself in the 2nd grade! It ended a week ago, and it was actually really fun, and I'm looking forward to having a class of my own (someday...but probably not in Chicago). Before the internship began, I couldn't imagine having to teach by myself, especially with another teacher watching me. But, it really wasn't too bad. Most of the time when Mrs. S was in there, she wasn't really paying attention. The only thing that was tough is I felt like I needed to do things just like she did, instead of like I would do them. Anyway, it was good for the most part! The teacher was gone for 3 days during my 2nd week of teaching, so I really got to see what having a class to myself would be like! There was a sub in there with me, but she stayed busy making copies and doing projects for other teachers. This week was a little less exciting, since I was back to observing and trying to find things to do! The kids had several tests to take this week, so I really didn't have many opportunities to teach. I did get to teach one afternoon because the teacher had to leave. I can't believe I'm almost done with my 1st 8 weeks of my internship! After next week, I'll move to 5th grade. It will be a completely different atmosphere, and I'm interested to see what it will be like. The teacher (I'll call her Mrs. C) I'll be with also has a totally different personality than Mrs. S, so that will be fun to see a different perspective on teaching. I'm looking forward to it...but a little nervous, especially since some of the 5th graders are bigger than me! Well, I better go for now. I need to get back to the homework I've been trying to avoid! Have a great day!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kids say...

So I'm not sure when people develop the sensor that tells you that some things shouldn't be shared with the whole world, but 2nd graders definitely don't have it. They will tell you anything, often whether you ask or not. They want to share everything they know with you, and many times 12 of them want to share at the same time. At times this can be overwhelming, since there is obviously not time to listen to what every kid has to say all the time. Asking one question in class elicits 17 hands going up, each with something to say. Sometimes the hands are actually in response to the question; other call on them and they say something totally unrelated to the topic at hand. For example, " Are we going to computers on Thursday?"(it's only Monday, so the schedule on Thursday is not really important right now) or, "I can run really fast" (good information, but not in the middle of social studies!). However, if you take the time to listen to their stories (not necessarily in the middle of the lesson, but at appropriate times) the things they say may provide critical insight into a child's home life, help you relate to a child because you know what they're interested in, and help you get a glimpse of why they may act the way they do. Not that their moms or dads necessarily want them to say the things they fact, they would be completely embarrassed to hear some of what is said! I've had kids tell me all sorts of things in my 5 weeks in the school..."My mom says she doesn't want to help me with my homework," and"My dad's big black mustang got taken away from him yesterday because he didn't pay for it," and "I can only see my mom at DHR (social services)." Obviously, once kids develop that "sensor" they wouldn't tell a teacher things like that. They would be embarrassed, or ashamed, or just not comfortable enough to say anything. And although their parents probably didn't want me or their teacher to know these things, it does help us to understand and relate to these students better. The innocence of children is so refreshing. They hear, see, and understand much more than adults often give them credit for. They know exactly what is going on at their houses, even if their parents try to hide it and keep it a secret. So, when all of the sharing starts to overwhelm me, I try to remind myself how precious their honesty and openness is and show a little more patience and caring as I listen to them tell me stories.

On a funny while we were standing in line for the bathroom (I was actually not standing in line, but the kids were), one little boy looks at me and says "My doctor hits me with a hammer." Not sure where that came from, and it kinda took me off guard (and I didn't want to laugh because kids are very serious when they tell you things)...but I did verify that it was the reflex hammer on his knee!

My internship is going well. I just finished my 5th week, and my 1st week of teaching all day. I really enjoyed it. I felt like the kids were actually learning something (most of the time) and I didn't feel like I was boring them to death, so that was a plus! I have had my first 2 evaluations by my professor at school, and I did well on both of them. She loved the games and activities I included in my lessons, which was good. I must confess, I made the lessons a little more interactive and exciting because I knew she would be there! There just isn't enough time in the day to play a game, do an activity, complete the required worksheet, and teach the lesson for every single lesson that must be taught in the day! But I do try to incorporate something interactive or "hands on" in every lesson. Kids are going to move around while you're you might as well give them something productive to do while they're moving! This allows them to wiggle while still learning! Sometimes I feel like I might be too idealistic since I'm new to teaching, but I truly enjoy being in the classroom. I certainly have moments (and occasionally days) where I just feel frustrated and irritable, but those moments come no matter what occupation you have. Overall, I'm enjoying my time and can't wait to be teaching "for real" in a classroom of my own! Well, I should go for now. Have a wonderful weekend!

Matthew 18:3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."