Well let me just start this post off with another “WOW.” This week was absolutely insane, crazy, ridiculous, and jarring all wrapped up into two jam packed homework weekend days and five demanding weekdays. But I have a feeling that this is going to become pretty normal for the next year.
Let’s start with the highs of the week,
- Today I got to shadow a student at my placement who barely speaks in class and who often seems slightly off task, watching videos or listening to music from his Chromebook at inappropriate times. However, after three periods of following him around, and him realizing that he actually was going to have to eat lunch with me we started talking about our schools and sports and my placement. It felt really good to break through to a student who seems disengaged on the surface but actually turned out to be an incredible student and just quiet. I’m hoping that today’s experience will spill over into future classes and he’ll be more open to contributing in class and helping his classmates when he can.
- Earlier this week I got one of my first few chances to unleash my creativity while making my STARS notebooks which is something I have really been missing lately. On a downside I definitely over extended myself as far as cut outs and tape ins go and was thus left in a photo finish situation for Wednesday. Here’s to hoping I can get the best of both worlds from now on.
- I started my online Spanish course this week and realized I remember a lot more than I thought, so for now at least it’s not an insane addition to my work load which is good. Although this semester is going to be crazier because of it, it’ll be nice to get it dealt with so it’s not hanging over my head for the rest of the program.
- Last night I had the most perfect 8-year-old’s dinner ever. A box of Kraft Spongebob Squarepants shaped macaroni and cheese with two Hebrew National hot dogs cut up and mixed in with a side of Cherry seltzer water and Bravo TV. This was good for two major reasons. One, I haven’t cooked a real dinner at home since my mom visited me two weeks ago and although it was a meal for someone less than half my age it was exactly what I needed. Second, I could feel my beloved TV feeling lonely with how busy I’ve been, and its frustrations in becoming a glorified radio since all I use it for is my XM music in the morning. ….and yes, I did just personify my television.
Now for my low,
- My biggest low of the week is how my STARS team has been going. Day one, I thought at the time, was rough. My team barely talked and essentially refused to use their lab notebooks (that I spent so much time and love making). However, they did make an awesome human model of a titration which I got filmed twice, once on GoPro and second on an iPad. I found the titration idea online and used some colored hats to demonstrate what is happening at a molecular level during a titration. This was especially rewarding because my team is more than half seventh graders. So this is the first year they’re experiencing science and yet they’re picking up chemistry concepts that most of them won’t get to until eleventh grade or so. This is sounding a lot like a high so time for me to get real with all of you. Day two in STARS was my actual nightmare, I think, for lack of a better analogy. I lost my two leading STARS to other commitments and, in their place, gained SEVEN new people, two of which were boys which brought my count to the day to four boys and seven girls. I thought this might prompt some more conversation … and boy, was I underestimating things. Following crickets during my opening icebreakers that I really thought would bring us together and bring with that some laughs, some of my younger members took the reins to catch up our new members. Then the group revisited the human model in different roles and did it just as well. Then, just as I started my main demo for the day, showing the equipment for titrations and some basic, foundational concepts for my investigation the mass chaos ensued. I had kids throwing pens at each other, cursing each other out, grabbing each other in inappropriate places, and chasing each other around my room. Then, just when I thought I got them reined in and re-discussed our in’s and out’s for STARS, two boys and one girl got thisclose to a fistfight. Right in front of me. With one of my younger members pacing the back of the room with his hands over his ears. It was heartbreaking and terrifying and disturbing and eyeopening to see the conflict first hand and how severely it affected my other STARS. My team never really came back together after that and it was fairly evident during whole group. I did make a solid effort in employing some of my CT’s classroom management techniques to get my STARS back on task after the “scuffle” but they didn’t seem to have any affect on them. I’ve been wondering if this is because of the insanely different school atmospheres between the schools and if it’s reasonable for me to expect these classroom management tools to work in other, more typical schools. This is because of how exceptional my placement is in comparison to other schools and the students that attend those schools.
I’m looking forward to hitting the reset button this weekend after DASA, lunch with Jill’s family, dinner with some friends, and hopefully dinner with my relatives. I think after yesterday I really need it, more than I thought I would following one especially trying STARS experience. It can, hopefully, only go up from here.