Chip: Hey, how was school?
Betsy: Were people nice?
Chip: Did you make any friends?
- Mean Girls
Okay, so the high school that I work at is not exactly Mean Girls. In fact, the people are amazing and very friendly. But come on, who doesn’t love that movie????
So yes, now that I have graduated, I am fully immersed in the Masters of Arts in Teaching Program (MAT) at St. Mary’s. I had a leisurely break from May to the beginning of July, and then started classes and my summer practicum. It was amazing to finally get in the trenches… I mean, summer camp, and work with middle schoolers! The secondary group spent an intense week in July working with these students on leadership skills and teambuilding. I promise you, middle school gets a bad rep, but those kids were hilarious. During my undergraduate degree, I had completed a number of placements at local elementary, middle, and high schools. However, this was the first time that I felt I was actually on the road to becoming a teacher!
The summer practicum and classes went really well… I learned classroom management, how to make lesson plans… and started my Masters Research Project. Oh yeah, that little thing. I decided that I really want to structure my project on the topic of English Language Learners. Social studies texts expect students to have a lot of prior knowledge of Western and American history, and many students that are from other countries do not have that background information. Therefore, I am hoping to adapt my social studies reading selections and instruction for the individual needs of these students. Yeah, exciting, I know. I’m actually pretty into it! I was worried at first that I wouldn’t have English Language Learners to work with at my placement school, but I have a student from Thailand and one from Bolivia in two of my six classes. Hey, it’s a start!
I do not want to give away too many specifics about my fall school placement, but I have to say that it is a flat out unbelievable experience. I want to teach at the high school level, so it’s been just perfect to teach six tenth grade government classes. I work with three honors classes and three standard classes, so I am able to interact with a diverse population of students. It is really a wonderful feeling to get up and go to work and think, wow, this IS what I want to do with my life! Thank goodness, as I am a few months into the program by now! But seriously, the kids are welcoming and friendly, and my mentor is beyond amazing and helpful. He’s given me the freedom to structure the class how I want, but offers support when I need it. He even gave me my own set of keys and my own desk… legit. The rest of the department is just as great… there’s one teacher that delivers me coffee every day, essentially saving my life. Then there’s the department chair, who offered me a ton of books on AP Government on Friday so I could see how they compare to my own classes. It’s almost overwhelming at this point, as I am actually starting to write lesson plans. For a few days, my teacher and I made them together, but I was having a little trouble using his script and plans. So, I started just making them on my own. I’ve been trying to add examples of governments from Latin America and Africa whenever possible, as that’s where my degree was primarily based, and because they are rarely mentioned in the curriculum. Sometimes that’s been a little comical… I drew Africa on the board the other day to explain an example, and it ended up looking like a chili pepper/South America/a strawberry. The kids thought it was pretty funny.
The First Day of School! My housemates and I put our best foot forward.
So really, life is good. Besides the in school antics, my mentor is also involved as a coach and senior class advisor. I was really involved in class stuff in high school too, so I love to offer my two cents on homecoming floats and hallway decorations. I’m hoping the senior class wins the spirit award this year… or else that’s just sad. I’ll keep you posted on how that works out!
Well, I’m on my way home from an epic Labor Day weekend so it’s time to stop procrastinating and work on my stuff for school this week. On Saturday, a few of my friends and I went to Solomon’s Island, then Baltimore for my friend Kathy’s (you remember her) birthday. Then, two of my friends and I decided to go up to New York for Sunday and Labor Day. My sister just started working for Michael Kors, so I wanted to go see her and bask in her shopping glory. It was pretty awesome, to say the least, but now it’s nine pm and we’re at some rest stop in Delaware for Starbucks. Miles to go before this one sleeps! Good thing I have a decent amount of work to keep me entertained… Well, it was nice to get back into blogging! I’ll update as frequently as possible on my antics!!!!