"O Captain! My Captain, Rise up and hear the bells; Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills; For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths-for you the shore's a-crowding; For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning..."---Walt Whitman
Well, the first day has come and gone. I approached it with a perspective I don't normally take. I was relaxed, and anxious to be up in front of the students again, but in a way that felt calm and ready. I joked that I was going to go Dead Poet Society on my students and have them reciting the brilliant O Captain! My Captain by the end of the day. I chose to veer away from that poem, as it is dedicated to the assassinated Abraham Lincoln and each stanza reminds the reader that the Captain is dead.
My CT and I planned to have me lead a small portion of each class, and the most natural one for me seemed to be American Literature and Composition. I don't know if my jokes were funnier in that class or what, but I thought that class went the most smoothly. I ended up entirely planning the rest of the week for that class, showed it to my CT and he thought it looked fine, so I guess I'm on my own tomorrow in American Lit. I'm sure if all of a sudden, I'm flailing and clinging to dear life he will rescue me, but hopefully if my brilliant lesson goes according to plan, it will be wunderbar and they will just offer me a job on the spot. (Joking. I guess I have to be a little careful about my sarcasm via computer).
...Actually, I'm sort of looking forward to the moment when I crash and burn with skid marks on my face. Seriously. I want to get that advice. Because it will help me grow. And that first time will be out of the way.
I thought I would hate planning for a 90-minute class, constantly having to change the plan, mix it up to keep kids' attention. But it definitely allows me to do a lot more, get more creative with what I want to accomplish with block scheduling. In my practicum, everything felt so rushed, as if I did not do the subject or the students justice. I think this has been good, because it forces me to really over-plan and have back-ups if something doesn't go as long as planned. I can also be a little more leisurely with attendance, housekeeping, etc at the beginning of class.
At the risk of being a little academic, I was reminded of Paradoxes in the Classroom article that Parker J. Palmer writes about. One of the classroom paradoxes is that "the space must be open and bound." That's one thing I'm trying to really take into consideration with American Literature and Composition. I want to give my students a lot of creative freedom, but give them enough guidance that they are bound to follow certain guidelines. I sometimes forget that what is second nature to me is not for them, so giving them the boundaries is what is difficult for me. I put a post-it note on my laptop that just says "Bound Open Spaces" on it to remind me.
I heard from every single person who has ever student taught that I will be wiped out after a day of teaching and planning. I sort of didn't believe them. OHMYGOSH. Exhausted. I never thought teaching was easy. It's not. But the physical toll is something that I never took into consideration. I hope I get used to it. And that I eventually get enough ahead of the game that I can get maybe 6 hours of sleep.
Until next time, cheers.