Day 2: Chaos on the Courtyard

I was really excited for the opportunity to shadow a student today. I went to an elementary/middle school–no special reform model–and my group did not have to leave until late morning due to the school taking standardized tests. Initially, this sounded like a nice perk…

Basically, after awkwardly navigating the bus system to the school for an hour and getting rained on, we were really hoping this visit would go smoothly…NOPE. The principal–the PRINCIPAL–was not even expecting our arrival. We waited in a 5th grade classroom that just finished testing while we waited for more guidance, and we were eventually paired up with some of them to be shown around the building. I mean, those kids were super friendly and inquisitive, but from what I had been told, I was expecting a pre-organized plan and selection of student guides. I was dropped off in a random 3rd grade class. The teacher welcomed me kindly, and a couple students noted my presence, then a few more, then the whole class was trying to introduce themselves at once, and for the rest of the time I spent in that class the teacher struggled to keep students engaged in “free time” and not fighting or running around. When I spoke to students one-on-one, they did seem compliant and willing to answer my questions. But where there was no supervisor, there was madness. The volume level certainly did not die down when I visited the 7-8th grade lunch period either. The girls I met were definitely interested in talking to me, but when they weren’t, their interaction with each other involved a lot of ‘friendly’ yelling and pushing. The disciplinary staff in the cafeteria used this method too…not exactly what I would’ve recommended…

This experience, plus the long bus travel, had very much drained me by the time we had to start Day 2 of the College & Career Institute at Midtown. It was hard for us to go from a chaotic morning to more teaching. Although we had a bit of fun in the beginning, we did not maintain as much of an energetic tempo as we could have, so we lost our students’ attention at times. This is something I intend to work on for my lesson tomorrow, after a lot of coffee…YEAH LEARNING!

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