I started my student teaching experience a week early. There were a few
reasons for this. First, I wanted to get a jump on the students. I
reasoned that if I were in the class from the start, the students would
be much more likely to view me as a teacher then if I joined in the
class a week or two in. Second, it helps create a good impression on
both the co-operating teacher (Maureen) and the other teachers. This may
become important when it comes time for my evaluation!
Mostly, though, I wanted to start early to satisfy my curiosity. I am
fascinated with the entire concept of teaching. This is something that
I've wanted to do for quite a while now and I couldn't wait to get it
Tuesday, Sept 2 1997
Today is a Teacher Work Day. There are no classes and the students will
not be in until Wednesday. We are here to listen to a few speeches by
the Superintendant, the new Principal and some insurance guy. In addition,
we are to learn how to use The New Copier. It can do pretty much
everything you would ever want to do with a copy... if you know how to
press the right buttons. With the patient tutoring of Donna, the office
secretary, though, we slowly learn the ropes.
The most important reason for coming in, though, is to get ready for
the school year. For some reason, I always thought teachers were
hyper-prepared for school. After all, they had all summer to get ready.
Right? Well, no. At least not the teachers I worked with. We
spend most the day frantically getting things in order. By days end, though,
everything is in order.
I suppose I should write a little about my shifting perceptions of
teachers. Logically, I know that teachers are just like any other
random person in the workforce. Some are lazy, some dedicated. Some
are deeply cynical and some are perpetually cheery. Some love their
work, some hate it. Most are somewhere inbetween the extremes.
But the only contact I had with teachers was as a student. In this role,
I could only see one (for the most part) side of the teachers. I saw only
the hyper-confident, authoritative, professional side. With this
background, I guess it isn't all that suprising that seeing the other
side of teaching is a bit suprising in itself.
Case in point: During a staff meeting, Craig, the new principal of
the high school, started talking about certain "special situation"
students. These are students that the teachers should pay a little more
attention to to ensure that they aren't caught off-guard. The first
name is mentioned
just the name, mind you
and the room explodes.
There is just incredible dislike for this kid that I am stunned. How
is it that every single teacher dreads that fact that he is back in
school (after a year's expulsion)? I find out later that this kid has
no recognizable respect for anything or anybody. He has no concept
of responsibility or authority. This is a kid that is in school only
because he legally has to be until he is sixteen. Not the type
of kid you want in your class.
In retrospect, the teacher's reaction isn't suprising. Would you like
to be forced into a teacher/student relationship with someone that just
didn't recognize you as the authority? Besides, from the sounds of
it, this kid is a first class jerk. Any normal adult would have the same
reaction in private.
But I never saw that private reaction before. In public, you would never
know that the teachers thought this at all.. and for most of my life,
the public reaction was the only one I saw. So this was a shock to me.