In the past two weeks I finished up my 14 weeks of student teaching (best experience EVER), passed my student teaching course, was given amazing feedback about my progress by my cooperating teacher and supervisor, finalizing the process of getting my Bachelor’s of Science, getting certified to be a NYS teacher, and was nominated by the principal to work for the Department of Education.
Hard work, restless nights, long long train rides back/forth, tons of stress, and being challenged every single day have and will continue to pay off.
Alhamdulillah x infinity.
Today has not been good, at all. I woke up feeling pitiful for myself for never learning from my mistakes, as usual, and allowing myself to grow to care for someone who I thought felt the same way but was deliberately waiting to find a reason to lash at me. Nothing new.
Today’s lesson plan consisted of an activity playing “Cross the Line.” If you have seen “Freedom Writers” you’ll know how the activity is conducted. It consisted of placing colored tape down the floor and having students stand on one side of the side. Then statements are announced and if students agree or have dealt with the situation they cross over the line and turn to face those who have not. The goal of the activity is to expose how similar we are all to one another.
Statements such as the following were made (going from general to deeper), cross the line if you:
As the day went by and I taught this lesson, I watched my students (who are high schoolers) and their reactions. How their faces went from smiling and cracking jokes on one another for preferring vanilla ice cream to putting their heads down looking hopeless as they crossed over the line to show that they were going through what the statement said.
By 9th period, I had a whole range of emotions going through me and holding tears in was getting harder and harder. My coop teacher realized that it was getting to me.
I played the activity with the last class and then discussed it with how they felt. Students began to open up to say which statements really triggered them emotionally. My most perky and loud student M (won’t reveal names) began to say how that when she gets home she is not the same person everyone knows, and feels very lonely keeping to herself. She broke down in tears. Another student, K expressed how because she chose to cut her hair short, her father’s comments accusing her of going through a gay phase really affected her. She broke down. Another student opened up about how she just recently found out she had a younger brother and thought she was an only child for the longest. Another student felt like her family didn’t care about her because she floated from household to household because her mother has mental issues and cannot take care of her. One student expressed mourning over his father’s death which happened in the summer.
As I stood in front of the class, all of us quietly I looked around and then couldn’t hold tears in any longer. I felt like I was looking at myself back in high school, still to this day feeling lonely, invisible, misunderstood, and confused about so much.
Speaking to students and hearing them out I realized a few things:
My tears are literally still flowing as I type this and I feel so hopeless because I can’t even save myself, how could I expect to save them?
Tomorrow is my last day student-teaching at the first school I was assigned. The students have been guilt tripping me all week for it and it’s been hugs galore. So depressing, I told myself not to get attached but I did. Alhamdulillah it’s been a great experience here with all its ups and downs. I hope that the next school can be the same way.
Walaykum asalam pretty lady :)
Alhamdulillah I am enjoying the experience. My only complaint is the commute honestly, 2 hours to go and come back on 4 different trains, but I enjoy seeing the kids.
I won’t sit here and sugar coat the experience, I’ve had days where I honestly came home and laid in bed really thinking about taking a different route in life, but then I just have days where the kids make me smile or laugh and I thank God that He pushed me in this direction with life (I started off as a major in Criminal Justice by the way.)
For anyone who thinks teaching is just a 8-3PM job, weekends off, and paid summers off, I would love to throw them into the position for a week and see how they can survive handling about 150 high school kids, that you not only have to educate but also mentor as if they were your own.
I’ve had some students open up to me and trust me with situations they experienced, which I won’t mention, that really hit me with the reality of what teaching will be like.
I have two more weeks at the school I have been working in and then I move to another school. Students have been begging me not to leave and it chokes me up but I keep a poker face on and let them know that I’ll try to visit.
All in all, the commute, lack of sleep, excessive coffee, lack of proper diet because I forget to eat, lack of social life, heavy bag on my shoulder every morning, and getting acquainted with very long days has been worth it alhamdulillah.
Keep me in your duas, as I will be evaluated again in 2 weeks :)
Insha’Allah you are better love and thank you for asking xo
-Running on almost 4 hours of sleep. -Starbucks was closed due to no water.
-Two hours to get to my teaching site, going and two hours coming home every day, four trains.
-Forgot my memory stick at home which had my powerpoint presentation on it for my class. Realized this 5 mins before I was about to be observed. Tried to pull it up online, with my luck the internet did not work. Worked with what I had and what I could.
-Advisor said I did well nonetheless and not to worry about it. I beg to differ, I thought it was horrible.
-Drained. Tired. Hungry. Sleepy.
-Need a hug.
All in all, alhamdulillah :)
Sept. 27, 2012.
A student opened up to me about something today that really hit me with a dose of reality and what I could be facing. I could just see how uncomfortable and nervous they were to speak about what they needed to tell someone. I was taken back, very much.
May God protect them from all harm and evil.
The calm before the storm.
(By storm I mean, it was only the students’ first day and they are revving up before they let loose with their energy. Good energy insha’Allah)
Oh, and the hormones of teens. Smh.
These past two days have been just staff development days, we meet the students tomorrow, as it will be their first day back. For my students, it will be their first day in high school. I remember my first day and how I felt inferior to be amongst all these older kids and new environment. Insha’Allah I’m going to try to make it comfortable and chill as possible for them.
I was chit chatting with another teacher today and she mentioned a student, Kamar Brooks, who was killed over the Summer (news story/video here.) He would have been going into the 10th grade this year. What really got me was this.. months prior to his death Kamar was instructed to write an essay for his English class incorporating interdisciplinary studies. He chose to write about what he was learning in his History class which was the Holocaust at the time. He specifically wrote about how he was taken back that Nazis killed young children by shooting them in the head. He asked his teacher “why? they didn’t deserve it.” Kamar was shot in the head and killed later on in July while playing tennis at a park where stray bullets were being fired, not specifically at him but he was caught in the middle. His father searched for him that night and the early morning next day only to find his lifeless body in the park.
Now, I didn’t know this student, nor have I ever met him but I felt a lump develop in my throat as she told me what happened. To hear how he wrote about such an incident only to actually go through it really bothered me. At 14 he was a stellar student who was on top of all his work and well behaved.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.
My co-op teacher just told me one of our classes will be special ed students. This worries me.
Not because I doubt they will perform well, but more doubt in myself to be the best and most effective I could be for them.
I was up at 5 AM today to travel close to 2 hours by train to my student teaching site. I was a bit nervous because I was going to meet my cooperating teacher that I’ll be working with till Oct. 19 before switching to another school for another 7 weeks. The school I am working within is one of a few schools all in one building.
I met the newly hired principal and the assistant principals. I then met my co-op teacher (who was an absolute doll and so welcoming.) Classes are not in session till Thursday, but we had to attend staff development. There I was introduced to all the teachers. For a few weeks now I’ve been worried about being made to feel comfortable among everyone. Alhamdulillah, everyone was so great. A lot of the teachers are from the Caribbean, so they had that accent that I loveeeee! Everyone seemed to bond like a family..laughing and joking with one another, hugging each other after a long summer away. Many of them welcomed me and one of the teachers who is from India even embraced me with a hug.
We went around to share what we all did for the summer and I noticed that many of them made it a point to travel somewhere new and experience a different environment. I have always thought that was important for anyone, especially for educators who have so much pressure on them from all sides coming in.
I’m going to stop rambling now but I’m just happy I had a good first day, Thursday I’ll meet all the students along with my co-op teacher, which insha’Allah will go well too :)