This week was election week, so Tuesday the kids did not have school. However, she told them several times that although they were not able to vote, they were still an integral part of the election process. She told them, as citizens themselves, their job was to babysit for anyone who needed to go vote. She emphasized their role in this democratic process and made them feel useful and important. I think kids sometimes feel because they are young, their opinions and thoughts get overlooked. By making them feel part of such a historical election, the students felt they mattered. I thought this was an awesome twist of things. She could have just told them to have a good day off, enjoy the time away from school, like most teachers I’m sure did. She, however, chose to give the student’s a purpose for their day off. She made it seem like school was cancelled because they were needed. I don’t know why but this struck me as such a positive and optimistic outlook. So many teachers are becoming burnt out and do not take the time to relate to their students anymore. This, however, was a great way to relate to the students and give them a goal.
The next time I was at the school, the students in my class had a test on the book, Locomotion. They had been reading it as a class since I started. However, since there was little for me to do, she handed me a stack of papers and a rubric and had me grade some projects. Although I wished I could have spent time interacting with the students, this was great field experience. I loved the idea of seeing how teachers approach assignments, rubrics and then the grading process. I was able to see what was assigned to them and see what they in turn produced. It was a creative project, where they had to make a poster of a Greek god they had researched in the library. It became obvious who had done the research and who had just blown off the assignment. It was hard to assess the assignment because how can you judge them on their creativity when you don’t know the students that well. Some of the work was really good and some was just okay, but without knowing who was capable of what it became hard. Do I grade an ESL student with the same standards as a native English speaker? No. But this background knowledge was something I didn’t know, so after a few attempts, she came over and relieved my grading duties.
She did, however, hand me a stack of evaluations they students had done on her. Since the survey was anonymous, there were some pretty heated comments about how much they hated her and her class. She said they really got to her, but I made sure to point out all the students who also loved her class and said only nice things. There weren’t as many mean ones, but of course that’s what sticks. My favorite was the student who said they hoped she wasn’t serious about moving to Canada if Obama lost the election (luckily he won). It really made me look at her as a teacher and how much she wants her students to do well and have a meaningful experience in her classroom. She gave this survey to improve and get student feedback and was hurt by the students who did not like her. This shows what a loving and loyal teacher she is and how much she cares about her students.
In the second hour of the day, the students worked on the Greek Myth project I had attempted to grade earlier. The day before, they had gone to the computer lab and did research on a god/goddess of their choice. Some of them had blown off the hour, while others had been absent. So the students, who were behind, were forced to use books from the classroom to catch up and did not have a picture of their god/goddess. I tried to work with them the best I could, but I was not that familiar with each characters story. Also, fifty minutes to do research and create a poster was not looking good. We got the most material we could and with 15 minutes left, I encouraged them to use their main points to create a poster. Many of them got a decent start and Mrs. C told them they could use their SRA time the next day, to finish up. The day ended with a letter game, which I thought was a fun way to end the long day.