Wow, where to start with this group? These students were mine from day one. They were my most challenging, but my most rewarding group. And they taught me a lot about being a tenth grader.
Here’s what I learned:
- Getting everyone to smile for a picture….nearly impossible
2. Getting homework done on time…can be like pulling teeth
3. Writing about themselves: not too bad if they can choose the topic
4. Me reading aloud = yes
5. Sitting wherever they want in the classroom is pretty awesome
6. They’re passionate about sports, fine arts, family, hunting, fixing cars, and spending time with their friends
7. They might be a challenge, but ultimately they will work hard…if you make them
My English students were the group that I took ownership of from the first day. This definitely made it hard to say goodbye (for me and them) since I was their main teacher for almost two months. This group kept me on my feet. I realized that I needed to always be ready to change my plans, always have back-up activities, and always be flexible. I also learned that tenth graders struggle with late work and late assignments, which meant that the most important thing I needed to do is stay consistent and set high expectations. Even if that meant some of them failed at the start.
Reading Tuesdays with Morrie with this group was fun. I loved it, especially because I was able to take complete control of how I wanted to teach the book, creating activities and lessons on my own and seeing how they turned out. I also had the freedom to be creative and engage the students in projects that made them draw, color, symbolize, and get crafty with characters, plot, and ideas. I think this, coupled with the reflective, narrative writing assignments made the class a little more fun.
As I reflect, these classes were the ones with the most attitude, discipline issues, and struggling students, but despite that, by the end of my placement, I loved teaching these guys! Though they might not show it from their last-day pictures, they did like the class (at least somewhat) and I hope they miss me as much as I’ll miss seeing them bright and early in the morning!