This Friday is the end of my second week of teaching, during my internship. I feel an odd mixture of comfortable and stressed. I have been lucky to find myself interning at a school that I immediately felt comfortable in and with a cooperating teacher that I feel comfortable interning with. I also feel uncertain sometimes and under-prepared to jump into teaching this unit. However, I think that this experience is the best, and possibly the only way, to learn how to create and carry out a solid unit plan.
I have started my internship teaching an ELA B30 class. I have 22 students, the small size is helpful to get my feet wet in a manageable way, and for the most part they are receptive to the work that I have been trying to do with them. I opened up the semester with a writing assignment. I had my students write me a letter inquiring into my class. Reading them was so rewarding and gave me insight into what they want out of their education. I would do this assignment again. I found it more telling than the questionnaire I had them fill out. The other activity I am happy to be working on is using critical lenses to read course texts. Right now my students are reading short stories and poems, but we will also be reading Hamlet through a variety of lenses. I only wish it wasn’t taking me so long. I am constantly finding that I cannot go through material as fast as I originally thought.
As a teacher, I have already learned so much. I have learned that there really is never enough time to cover everything I want to. I have learned to get creative when it comes to creating assignments that fulfill curriculum requirements. When you have texts to get through, as well as 13 different writing forms, you have to figure out efficient ways to get work done. I have learned to be more organized. I have learned and practiced adjusting my instructional strategies. Finally, I have learned that I love group work as a way to get fruitful discussion going.
I am frustrated because I have a lot of theories and ideas that I would love to incorporate into my classroom, but will not be able to. Moreover, there are times I find my planning background to be much weaker than my theory background. I know what I want, but I have less skills to reach my goals. I am working on that everyday, but I wish I could have had more time as a student to work on those skills. I had a good discussion with my cooperating teacher, when she said that it takes time to get a clear sense of your vision and how everything will come together to reach your end goal. I have so many things I want to do, but right now I need to work on organizing what I need from the resources I’m giving my class.
At the end of the day, this internship is definitely quite a challenge. It is a challenge that I am up to and willing to fight for. I only hope that I can pick everything up as fast as I am required to and that I can feel more confident in my abilities as time goes on.