Monday, November 26, 2007

Week 12: Of our elaborate plans, the end

Observation week!

I slept until nearly 9:00, like a self-satisfied somnolent sybarite. I ate a leisurely breakfast and then tooled up to Brown Elementary to sit in on a couple of classes.

The first one was Some Guy's kindergarten class. He read a poem, then asked the kids to identify certain words' onset and rime. he then read a longer story, and stopped occasionally to ask questions on and ask for predictions about vocabulary, motives, and plot. It seemed the same as the first few weeks of first grade, but with a little less emphasis on print. For example, he played a song about the week's letter, n, instead of showing a big book with a printed poem. I liked the way he would ask a question and scan the room with his eyes, letting the whole class think about it, and then he'd call on a kid at random to answer. He also promised that if they identified all the words that started with n in a given picture, he'd do a silly dance, and he delivered. I liked the whimsy --- it reminded me of me in preschool. I did think he let the kids make too many noises, and get into each others' faces, while he was teaching. That didn't remind me of me.

After lunch, I went to Some Lady's kindergarten class. First, she introduced them to writing journals, showing them where to write the date, and then giving them a mock sentence to copy with a fill-in-the-blank ending of their choosing. Her kids seemed even more adept than Ms. L's first graders at writing, being familiar with the use of the period and being able to identify verbs as action words, for example. Her kids also demonstrated better listening skills and more subdued behavior in general. The second half of the afternoon was taken up with math. She had the kids think of and perform body-language patterns (stomp, clap, clap, snap, etc.), showed them patterns with classroom items (pencil, pencil, scissors), played a catchy song about patterns, and then gave the kids a pattern worksheet. The kids were also asked to, and could, label the patterns (as ABAB, ABBABB, etc.). I liked the results she got, but I got a vague sort of sense of superiority vibe from her. I may be overly touchy, just because I know I'm a good teacher and have more experience than others might expect, and it rankles me to be given advice when it's obviously delivered as if from a wiser mentor and not a colleague. (I need to learn to swallow that kind of thing, quick, 'cause I bet I get it at Prestigious.) Also, Lady did pretty much come right out and ask me to praise her teaching effectiveness compared to Guy's --- "Do you see a difference between the two classes?" she inquired coyly. I mean, I did, and Lady ought to be applauded for her skills, but I guess there was just something about her that struck me as smug.

Lest it seem that I'm over-reacting, let me relate something that happened back on the in- service day. I didn't mention it, but it stuck with me. A teacher from another school came up to the table where Ms. L, Ms. W, Ms. S, and I were sitting and started chatting with Ms. W, whom she knew from somewhere else. Ms. W did the introductions, noting that I was a student teacher and making a little crack about it. Which was totally fine with me, as, like I've noted, our team is irreverent and jokes around a lot. A few minutes later I made a little crack back at her, whereupon the teacher from the other school said sharply to me, "Uh, you're just a student teacher, so shut up. Know your place."

I kid you not. My team did stick up for me, in a kind of muted, non-boat-rocking of way. Anyhow, I said nothing, because I need to learn to let some stuff go. I have no intention of being spineless as a rule, but as practice for being the new (and slightly unwanted by some) guy, I ignored this particular power-tripper.

1 comment:

Churlita said...

Oh my god. I can't imagine someone seriously saying that. I think she needs to get over herself.