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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Student Teaching. . . Exhausting, yet Exhillirating

Its been too long again since I've posted anything. The end of summer was super busy with me finishing my last round of summer classes, taking a trip back to Minnesota to visit family and friends,and my last round of pre-service tests before getting my teaching license.

I passed all my tests, including the Middle Level Language Arts and ESOL, so now I am officially a student teacher. Yay!

The program I'm in is unique in that it has 2 semesters of student teaching. One is part time, and the other is full-time. My part-time is also combined with my ESOL endorsement practicum, so it really feels full-time to me! During our second semester we also have to do an EdTPA, and are the first year of students to do so in Oregon, boo!

I'm split between 2 different schools, so I spend 3 full days at one school, and one full day at the other. The 2 schools are quite different from each other, but they're both full of great kids who I'm honored to be getting to know and being trusted to teach. I'm also blessed to have 2 amazing CT's (Cooperating Teachers), so I know that I'll be equipped with what I need to be successful by the time I finish this semester.

My elementary placement is in an elementary school on the outer fringe of the Portland metro area, in an area that is culturally mixed between more rural and suburban. For this reason, it definitely has the benefit of more parent and community connection than many of the other schools I've spent time in. So far, I can also see that the staff have good relationships, and it feels like a very positive work environment in my experience so far.

I'm in a 3rd grade class that currently has 36 kids in it! Fortunately, the teachers were just informed by the district that they will be adding a third class that will be a grade 2/3 blend, which should take my classroom down to less than 30 students.

It was the students first week of school, so I got to see how they're adjusting to a new teacher, routines, and procedures. They're a great bunch of kids, so we didn't have anything out of the norm as far as behavior is concerned (as you might imagine, 3rd graders love to talk!).

One of the highlights for me this week was coming for a meeting with my CT and University Supervisor right at the end of the school day on a day that I wouldn't normally have been there. Most of the class said hi, and a couple of the little girls ran over and gave me a hug-and this was only after spending one whole day in their class. Kids are amazing!

Another thing I really enjoyed was being able to help my CT make some time to get the kids started with an art project in the middle of a busy week.
The kids read Nasreen's Secret School, and connected it to a standard about books and reading around the world.

For their art project, they each created a self-portrait using painted paper on a background that depicted our own environment here in the Pacific Northwest. They made accordion-folded pages that looked like books, and created their own symbols above the book to represent the things that they had learned from reading.

It was fun to see the uniqueness of ideas that some kids had, and note how some of them struggled, and chose to copy an idea from a peer (so many of them chose to represent math symbols after my CT used it as an example).

The projects were a success, and I'm so glad that they'll have something to show the parents for the open house next week.

In the coming weeks, I'll have to start planning lessons with the curriculum and teaching instead of being more of an assistant, so now is the time for me to believe that I can do it and make it happen!