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 started!

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.