I am just over a month into my student teaching practicum and I am the busiest I’ve ever been in my life. I decided that it was time for me to write an article since it has been a minute and I have some things to say. Therefore, I am going to share some of my “show notes” from the experience.
People Think You’re Cooler If You Don’t Reply!
I have a fatal flaw: I am the worst at replying to people over the phone. It is actually a problem and I do not suggest that anyone should be as awful as I am at replying. I do not exactly know why I am so bad at replying. I honestly think that I want to give people thoughtful responses, but then I always forget to send the thoughtful response, so then people think I am MIA. However, I do notice that when I reply to people, they seem very excited to receive a reply from me. My friend Meredith says, “It takes you a while to reply, but when you do, it is really good.”
One thing I have noticed during my first month of being in a high school is that students are on their phones all day long. They never come up for air. I decided to share some of my best advice with them in order to lower their horrendous screen times. I told them that the less often they reply to people, the cooler other people will think they are because they will seem less available. However, I told them that this does not work with parents and guardians because they will be concerned about your well-being. I’ve noticed that some of my students are not on their phones nearly as much since I told them my life trick. I bet that people are anxiously awaiting their replies.
Late to the Party
This semester my newfound aesthetic is being late to the party. If you know me, then you know that I tend to arrive at my destination about fifteen minutes before showtime because I like to arrange my books and colored pens on my desk and have enough time to fill up my hydroflask if needed. However, I have not made it to one singular event that is not related to student teaching on time this semester. I feel like I am always running into the room like a hot mess with my teacher bags while dressed like a secretary. People are less irritated about the fact that I am consistently late than I could have ever expected they would be, which is gradually making me less irritated about it. I guess I will have to wait until next semester to ever be on time for anything ever again.
HYPE WOMAN ALERT
A few weeks ago I had the scariest Thursday afternoon of my life. I had my first formally observed lesson and I am proud to say that I am still alive to talk about it. At the time I thought it went well, so I was glad to see that others felt the same when I logged onto my student teaching portal and found positive notes left about my lesson. One of the recurring comments I kept noticing was that I did a nice job at consistently affirming my students when they answered a question. My friends have always told me that I am a great hype woman, so I guess I am just bringing this skill to the classroom. I love telling my students when I think that they’re doing a good job. I’ve also noticed that they are starting to pick up on the big hype energy and they now compliment one another, which I think is tender. I guess I am just training the next line of hype women and hype men, which is quite an honor.
One thing I have noticed lately is that I seem to have a new name. Whenever I am walking back to New Hall from my car in the afternoon, I typically hear someone refer to me as “Teacher Erin.” I must look like a real adult with my work clothes and my teacher bags. Although when I first heard people refer to me as “Teacher Erin,” I thought it was cute, it now just gives me a reality check, which is that I am practically a working woman now. Lately, I have been struggling to figure out if I am actually ready for this to be my last year of college. I have decided that I will simply never be ready for college to be over, so I am just going to enjoy this time of being a college student while also playing “teacher” during the day.
Small Moments are the Best Moments
The small moments that I bond with my students are slowly becoming my favorite part of the school day. The other day I was finishing up my lunch when two of my students came back into the classroom. I completely forgot they had never seen me without a mask on, but for them, it felt like they were getting some kind of behind-the-scenes exclusive to my life. One of my students yelled “MISS SOUSA – WE’VE NEVER SEEN YOUR FACE! YOU’RE SO PRETTY!” which made me laugh. I guess I’m really pretty!
One of my classes is always so energetic that I can always rely on them to provide the “small moments.”. Recently, I brought in cards with animal stickers on them and students had to find the other person with the matching sticker. The person with the matching sticker would be their partner for the class period. They were just so excited to find the matching otters and alligators that they kept telling me that the suspense was KILLING them and they just wanted the BIG PARTNER REVEAL to happen. They also have a routine of clapping for each other when they do a good job at answering a question. Needless to say, they always keep things entertaining.
I will admit that student teaching is probably the most demanding thing I have ever done in my life. Most of the time I just hope that I am doing a good job from seven in the morning until three in the afternoon. However, the small moments I bond with my students are the moments that get me through. The small moments are the moments that remind me that I am in the right profession and exactly where I am supposed to be.