Friday, July 6, 2012

Student Teaching Part I - The Beggining

Looking through some old computer files recently I found my student teaching journal.  I wrote in this document every day of my student teaching.  Below is the first of nine blog posts that are taken from this journal.  I've editing it down significantly (the journal was forty-five pages single spaced typed) but left the syntax the same to preserve the spirit of the entries. 
Mr. S told me something very important about teaching today.  If you show your students that you care about them then you can be stern and even angry with them.  Kids will take it and understand it if they get that what you are doing is coming out of care and love.

There are some sad stories with the students.  One kid has issues with her parents and has really been let down by adults in her life and therefore has issues taking on responsibilities.  It just seems like there is such real issues and problems that these students have.  Seeing the parents in action in some ways really relates how some of these students deal with these issues.

I talked to one horn player who’s parents never come to these band events.  I was surprised how open she was to talk about it and in some ways she probably just needed someone to talk to.  It’s these small moments that make what I am doing feel more significant.

This was the in-service day.  All of the teachers in the district crammed into one gym to hear the new superintendent give a speech along with all the other district heads.

The superintendent shared a story about how during one in-service day all the students’ names were placed around the walls of a big gym and teachers went up and put sticker dots on the names of kids they have made real connections with. The students who had the fewest dots had the most issues in school. I’m really trying to focus on making every conversation and interaction with the students count and not waste an opportunity to help out or make a positive difference in the lives of the students.

One thing that hit me today was how you have to trust your instincts sometimes. One girl I decided to pass on a playing test, even though she didn’t have it all together because I felt she had been working very hard and later I found that she had a learning disability. I’m glad I subconsciously caught that. I need to work on not being a nice guy and focusing on making the hard choices that will benefit the students.  I will get there with time.

It is interesting to see how things get planned out in teaching situation. With marching band there is the spectre of the weather to deal with and the constant crunch time that makes the marching band season so hectic.

Mr. S decided to take the band to U of I this year and the reasons came from a financial and ultimately educational standpoint.  It is amazing the power of competition over people in a band culture.  There is so much to gain but there is also so much that can be easily compromised. I find    competitive nature interesting and how worked up people get about playing times fighting for their students to have the best experience.

At ISU the band would not have been as competitive and would have ended the season on a down not but at U of I they have the possibility to win.  Here is the weird thing, someone is going to come in last place, some school is going to have a down turn for the end of the season and it sucks for that band.

Is it worth the glory and the rewards of the band that wins over the price of the bands that lose. It's a community philosophy and unfortunately it's as much or even more of a reflection of the programs and the teachers as opposed to the students. Is so many ways it's not even a competition of the bands but the directors. As the competition side of this is so new to me it will be interesting to see how the students react to competition and how it drives and motivates them towards success.

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