Monday, February 28, 2011

A Career in Education is a Roller Coaster Ride!

Day 21 - Monday February 28, 2011
It's good to be back! With mid-winter recess over, it's time to go back to school and begin the final three week stretch at Longwood High School. After a week off, I was excited to head back to school and get back to work. With a fresh hair cut I hoped to look a little more mature (possibly age 18!) and no longer be asked for a hall pass when I walk in the halls during class. I was excited to see my colleagues as well as the kids. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the amount of acceptance and approval given to me by the students. Before, during, and after each class, students will converse with me informally about their lives and ask for advice about their futures as well as joke around a bit. They all were more than willing to engage in the warm-up without protest and brought a high level of energy to the team handball games. After three weeks I had developed a very strong professional relationship with these students and was flattered to have them ask me for advice about their personal lives. This is perhaps the best intrinsic reward I have received thus far. As a teacher, it is an unspoken responsibility to be a mentor and resource to all students. Teachers help to guide students toward their interest and help to reveal their character as they grow into adults. This respect is something that I am truly honored to have gained and I am more than ecstatic to continue to work with these students for the next three weeks!

Day 22 - Tuesday March 1, 2011
Two separate, but equally important events defined today; one inside the classroom and one outside the classroom. Inside the class, I had to deliver my first 'stern' lecture to two of the classes. During both warm-ups, students refused to jog or stretch after several repeated statements by me to do so. Mr. Reilly said bring them in and talk. After I blew my whistle, I brought everyone in and told them simply that I would like the same respect given to me as I have demonstrated to them. I inserted a few jokes as to not seem overly stern but enough-so that set a precedent that I am a teacher and should be listened to as if it were Mr. Reilly teaching the class. It is crucial to draw the line between student and teacher especially if you are a student-teacher. I'm not much older than them and if I want them to listen I need to lay out the foundation of what is expected before I jump into gaining their approval.
Outside of the classroom, there is growing concern over potential layoffs within the school district due to the recent cuts to education funding by Governor Andrew Cuomo. With the recent news of Sachem School District laying off 315 teachers (noted above in the video), Mr. Dillon called for a meeting of the physical education staff. Due to the budget cuts, it appears that Longwood School District may cut 70 teaching positions. This put a sense of unease in some teachers as it is the recently hired teachers who will be the first to go, some of which are in the physical education department. It is an uncertain and frightening climate in the realm of education and no one knows when this will clear up. Districts all over Long Island, New York State, and the country in general face massive layoffs. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is raising the issue of performance over seniority in removing teachers. If is currently a troubling time to be a teacher, let alone a teaching candidate like myself. While the uncertain outweighs the certain, I must remain positive and look toward the future and remain in a form of solidarity with my colleagues.

Day 23 - Wednesday March 2, 2011
As the financial climate of the school district continues to heat-up, many are uneasy about what their futures hold. Yesterday, we met with the department chairperson to discuss the current situation and go over potential issues that may continue to arise as we move forward. Today, there was to be a meeting with the district's director of physical education regarding the most up-to-date issues and where we stand and where we go. After school, we met with Ms. Curiale as a department alongside the health and family-consumer science departments. She announced that things were looking rather grim for the future. There appeared to be imminent excess of teachers in order to recoup some of the funding that was cut from the state. For me as a future professional, this is quite troubling as it appears that the field of education is something that is being dismantled piece-by-piece as we move toward the future. With these teachers being excess, the need to hire new teachers becomes mute. I need to explore more options for my future while I still can in order to provide a happy and prosperous future for myself. I truly still want to be a teacher and hope things clear up, however, I need to always consider alternative options to keep food on the table and the bills paid well into the future.

Day 24 - Thursday March 3, 2011
Since January 31, 2011, all of Mr. Reilly's classes have been playing team handball. Class after class, they would play by the same rules, use the same equipment, play with the same teams, and follow the same routine. In order to shake things up a bit, we lowered the basketball hoops as an alternate scoring opportunity worth double the points. Also, we switched from using a playground ball to using a school-approved team handball. We then allowed them to chose new teams and opponents for the class today. I also introduced the concept of a yellow card and ten second penalty for a rule infraction. While these alteration may seem minor, they were able to boost morale and excitement about the game. After playing the same game for so long, the students began to become weary of it and wanted to move onto the next sport. By adding new challenges and tasks into a game, it breaths life into it in order to keep it going for just a little longer. I know the kids want to move to the next sport and I myself admit that I have gotten to the point where I am beyond team handball. Keeping the kids on their toes and listening to their feedback gives them more ownership and enthusiasm for the game and creates a better environment for the teacher and the students. Hopefully these rule changes can get us through to next Wednesday for the completion of the unit!

Day 25 - Friday March 4, 2011
There are days that are good and there are days that are bad. Today, however, was probably the best day that I have had here at Longwood High School as a student teacher. Going into the day, I knew that Mr. Reilly was going to be out due to the track meet upstate and that there was going to be a substitute. Essentially, the class would be mine to run with support from the substitute teacher when and if it were needed. Generally, 'B days' tend to have the most active students in class and today was no exception. The classes all acted as if Mr. Reilly was still there in class. All were on their best behavior and participate fully and enthusiastically. I made sure to balance time with activity in order to provide the best experience possible. This was the first day in which the classes truly felt like they were mine. I was in essence on my own and working and interacting with the students as I would in my own classroom when I become a teacher. To top it all off, my student teaching supervisor, Terry Phelan, stopped by for a visit. He observed our 7th period class which, coincidentally was another double class with another substitute. The class however ran like a fine oiled machine. All students remained on task and cooperated fully. I received praise for my performance but still needed to focus more attention to safety during the class. This proved to be an interesting week with all that was occurring but at least I was able to end it on a good note like this!

No comments:

Post a Comment