It’s been an interesting month and a half since I last wrote on this blog. Honestly, I’ve never been so stressed and so certain that I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing (while also being very confused and uncertain about what I need to be doing). I thought I would be able to commit more to blogging throughout the experience, but some things are really hard to change. Frankly, I’d rather finalize a lesson plan or powerpoint or sleep than blog most nights. It’s really that simple.
Today’s not that kind of day. My third week as a full-time AP English Language and English III teacher is coming to a close and I’m too nervous about Site Review to really sleep. On one hand I know that there are plenty of things that I haven’t done that I should be doing. I also know that there are plenty of things I’ve done that most people wouldn’t do. From having a 10-minute long afternoon meeting with my English III classes to having a two and a half-hour conversation with one of the school’s custodians, I’m an exemplar of the atypical teacher. Still trying to figure out if that’s a good thing.
I’m not a very good “No-Nonsense” person. It’s been three weeks and I’ve given one consequence in class. A “seasoned” teacher might’ve had a whole period in detention by now. I approach my students less as a teacher or an instructor, but more as a mentor and a facilitator of knowledge, which irks many of them. Working with high-level students, who are used to approximating answers and getting validation from their teacher, is especially challenging (actually it’s hilarious!) because I pull on them even when they’ve got absolutely nothing to say. They have to generate the knowledge or class will not progress. Period.
Now this doesn’t fit well into the standard models of secondary education, which is why (after initial yells and screams) I was happy that I was going to be teaching AP classes. I can’t leave the students on their own or just treat them like college students, but I can push them to think more critically and rigorously about everything. I’m planning on having a Whole Class discussion for the majority of my lesson next week just to really push them to engage.
In all, I’m a baby teacher. I was born in July and I was placed on the floor and told to run. Right now I’m doing the best I can with what I have to move at the pace that I need to move at. Funnily enough, I’m putting my students through the exact same thing. I’ll try and let you know how that goes.