I can't believe that this is my last day being a teacher intern. In a matter of weeks, I will have a teaching license. Then, I'm off to SPAIN. Part of me is sad that I won't have a Spanish class next school year. I will be teaching my native language to Spanish speakers. In SPAIN (I'm a tad bit excited).
As I sit and watch the students learning new TPR words, I can't help but reflect upon the semester.
On my first day, none of them knew my name.
After a few weeks, I was given a class to teach: Spanish 2, 4B. I thought that a class of 9 would be easy to manage. What a shock it was that students don't just pay attention to and respect their teachers. It seems like a given to me! Well, plan B looks like using my teacher voice. BOOM. Change of pace. I'm in charge, but I don't have to be a jerk about it.
The next few weeks seemed crazy as I took on more and more classes. I finally had ALL of them! What was this madness?! I had started teaching full time. And it was okay. I didn't get nervous about teaching a foreign language. It was a miracle.
All of this has led me to create a list of things that are notable from the semester.
Things I've learned:
1. Kids are sassy. No really. Sassy to the max.
2. Kids think adults are oblivious to everything. This includes cell phone usage, computer screen visibility, and pop culture references among other things...
3. Students also think that teachers don't exist outside of school. WOAH, is that my teacher at the mall in a hoodie? Yes. I love those things.
4. The intern is never right. Students don't believe that we've been trained to teach. Granted, some of the interns I have met (over the years, none specifically!!!) don't appear to be trained in any sort of recognizable pedagogy.
5. Students think they're a lot funnier than they are. Oh, you set the sign to say, "Use Your Phone," you're so incredibly funny... Put up the phone or it's mine.
6. Teachers are generally really friendly people. I can't count how many people said, "Good morning," to me to and from the copy room today.
7. The disc will always skip at the most inopportune time. You wanted to show a DVD about Spanish culture? Skiiiiiiiiip pause skippedy skip skip.
8. Kids will ask very inappropriate things. One literally asked me how much I partied in college. Excuse me, what?! I'm your teacher, thanks.
9. The bell is LOUD. There is no escape.
10. Make friends with the lunch ladies. This will pay off when you have no sweetener for your morning coffee or when you need change for a dollar. They even have access to the good tea.
11. Make friends with the administrators. They have keys. And coffee. And write up slips...
12. They have absolutely no idea if you teach something incorrectly. I've mispronounced a word or two in my time here thus far; Spanish isn't my native language! They have no idea. The kids who do probably won't say anything. Repeat it correctly and move on.
13. You will be interrupted. It could happen 5-6 times during class. Answer the door, pause for the announcement, participate in the drill... then MOVE ON QUICKLY.
14. School food isn't as bad as they say. It's just not very good for your health.
15. Knowledge of pop culture is imperative. Students write adults off as being dumb as soon as they find out you aren't in touch with their generation. I'm not saying you should get Instagram and document your dinner alongside them... but don't EVER ask "what is Instagram" or "what does that mean." Make a mental note and Google it later. You'll be grateful you did.
16. Students will walk in every day and ask if we're "doing anything in class." No... we're staring at the walls today...
17. Other staff members will help you if you ask politely. I can't tell you how many people helped me when I thought I had killed the copy machine. Others have shared their coffee grounds with me. It has been a wonderful experience at this school.
18. Coffee. Always say yes to coffee. That stuff will save your life. I'm convinced that it's a cure to some undiscovered disease.
19. Know where all the copiers are. They will eventually all be in use at once. Then, smile and act like you know where there is a free one. Get in some exercise while you wait.
20. Don't cry when the copier starts smoking/jamming/spitting out black pages of print. Calmly find a staff member who may take pity on your poor soul. They likely will. The intern name tag gets you instant pity.
21. Kids don't think you notice when they're doing other work in class. If it's written in English, it's not from my class. I only need to glance at your desk to see that you aren't doing something in Spanish.
22. Germ-X. All the germ-x. Use it often. Just trust me on this one. Unless you have an immune system of steel, you're going to be miserable without this stuff.
23. Also, keep a small first aid/sickness kit in your desk. Cough drops. Tissue. Bandaids. Feminine products. You don't want to be stuck in class and need these. It's much faster to have these on hand than to track down the nurse.
24. Get enough sleep. School is draining.
25. Students don't think you can hear them. I sat in the back of the classroom the first few weeks and heard everything. I eventually asked if they thought I was deaf. They spoke in more hushed tones after that, but their version of hushed tones is quite audible.
Stay tuned for more!
but you can call me Kirt... unless you're a student. In which case, it's Miss Wyatt ;)