January 24, 2008

Me and My Shadow

Thanks everyone for your feedback on having a student teacher.

So far things are going well; however, it has been an awkward week. Because of the holiday and a teacher in-service day, it's only a 3-day instructional week. During two of those days, the students had an interim test (district benchmark test used for formative assessment). It really only takes a day and about 15 minutes on the second day, but we all count it was blowing two days. What an auspicious beginning to the new semester, aye?

During interim tests, we teachers use that time to catch up on life. Yea, yea, yea...we're suppose to monitor the test, but it's not high stakes like the CRT's where we have to vigilantly circle the room for hours on end, so for this test we take a few turns around the room and then work at our desks--with one eye facing out, of course! So, I clued the ST into this little ritual and then handed her the benchmarks and all my resources for Anne Frank, which is our literature unit this quarter, and told her to plan away.

Initially, I felt like such a bad mentor because I hadn't reviewed the benchmarks or planned anything yet. I knew what piece of literature I wanted to do and our team is planning a big research project that we're still tweaking. I do know that it's usually a light quarter on necessary benchmarks, but we do a lot of testing.

It actually worked out very well when I sat down with her and a calendar to plan the quarter. We marked off the holidays and testing days (and days we need to review for tests) first so we could see how many days we really had to work with. How lovely that we get to go on spring break and then come back to the last week of the quarter! You know that means that whatever we need to do this quarter needs to really be done by the time we go on break. What do we do that last week of the quarter after taking a week off? Yes, well, that IS the question, isn't it? We play that little game where we look for the benchmark that does not fit in with the others and that can be "covered" in four days.

Wasn't it a valuable experience for a new teacher to see that there is never as much time as you think? That's a constant and frustrating issue for me!

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