Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Observations, Day 1.

My body hurts.

Today I did my elementary school observations by accident. I went to Udall High School, intending to do my high school observations, only to find out that the teacher I had set it up with was sick for the day. Instead of driving back home and going back to bed like a smart child, I went across the street to see my mom, who teaches third grade there. As all the teachers were bunched up outside the gymnasium preparing to collect their kids I let them all know that I was free for a few hours if they needed any random help for an hour or two. An hour or two turned into ten.
Elementary school basically boils down to hours of, "Sit down", "Be quiet", "Don't hit", "I love you too", and, "Where'd he just go?".
I started my day at a bright and early 7 a.m. (this is not early for teachers). Today was the 100th day of school, and the kindergarten class was having a celebration. The kindergarten class is where I was first volunteered off to. I did my first five hours of observation in the classroom of Tammy Tannehill, and her fourteen very rowdy students, as well as one adorable little dirty-handed boy who walked up to me, offered his hand (which I took) and said, "I love you. What's your name?"
The desks in the classroom were grouped up in 2 or 3 groups, all with students facing each other, essentially making one big table. The walls were covered with the normal kindergarten decorations: the big colorful rug where the children gather around, the bright, shiny posters with words of encouragement, and the 100 board. The 100 board is half a wall that is filled up with numbers 1-100, straws in bags marked "ones", "tens", and "hundreds", and some other one-hundredy stuff (my memory is giving out on me at this old age of 22).
Everyone wore "100" hats and "100 Days of School" bracelets. They were very festive, and everyone loved wearing them. Including me.

The class split up into 5 stations, and the station that I ran was playing Chutes and Ladders (because the game goes up to 100). I only had 2 or 3 kids at a time, but that was probably enough for me. They didn't like to wait their turn, they wanted to play with their little figures, and slide them up and down the ladders.
The first group I had was a girl and boy. All and all, they were probably my best group all morning. The girl told me that I was pretty, and the boy didn't mind that he didn't get to spin first, I thought I was doing good.
The second group I had probably didn't go as well; I made a little boy cry. He didn't understand that if he landed in the middle of a ladder, that he wasn't able to "climb" up it to the higher square, at least, he didn't understand it until someone else tried to do it as well - then he understood!
We took a group picture, along with some other pictures, and then the class went off to music for ten minutes!
I know where everything is in this building, because it's the school that my mom teaches in, so needless to say, I ran a lot of errands for the teacher. I also took the kids to the bathroom and on a drink break. Kids don't wash their hands, and it's gross, and you have to send them back multiple times.
Then we ate cake out on the sidewalk in the beautiful sun, and it was time for me to switch classes!

The class I spent the next 5 hours in was third grade, for Melody Klingenberg (who I will admit, is my mom). It's that time of the year to once again change bulletin boards, so after searching on the internet, some arguing, and some very bad suggestions (on the part of my mom), we finally agreed on a bulletin board. So after I displayed my amazing talent for cursive S's on the smartboard to the childrens delight (and mockery) , I went to the art room and begged from the substitute some washable paint (which turned out to not be so washable), which I then proceeded to use to paint the background of the bulletin board. As well as a lot of kids' hands. The end result was satisfying, but I'm pretty sure I made quite a mess.

Quiet reading time was spent teaching kids how to pronounce new words, and immediately turning around and giving definitions and examples of these new words.
Time was flying up until about 2:30 p.m., at which time I was exhausted, and tired, and kind of grouchy. So when a kid made a smart remark, I threatened to give them a mark on their daily report. It felt good for a minute, but then I felt a little bad. It's possible that I didn't need to give them a mark, I'm sure the kids were tired too.
Sadly, 2:30 wasn't the end of my day for me. At 3:20, when school "ends", this awesome program, accurately named "After School", starts. This is where kids who are having a little bit of trouble in certain areas can stay after school for an hour and a half and get a little extra help. The kid who stayed today was having problems in math, and I don't think I helped at all. I'm pretty horrible at math, and that's not me being modest. When I grade papers for my mom, I always leave all of the math papers for her to do, and she only teaches third grade.
Math + Chelsey ≠ Success.

Both teachers gave me a good bit of advice as the day went on, and I'm pretty sure I will never be a kindergarten teacher - but it was a fun day, and all the kids gave me hugs before they left for the day.

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