From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Student Teachers

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Student Teaching - Week #4

by Kathryn Williams - Taft High School

The Teaching Week

WOW: This week my teacher began giving me a little bit more responsibility and independence.  She keeps busy preparing for the classes I am not teaching and allows me to prepare mostly on my own for the lessons I am teaching.  It was a lot of work to be mostly in charge of three periods, but it was very rewarding.  I enjoy being in front of the classroom, and I especially enjoy it when she steps out of the classroom for a little bit.  One time when she did this the students freaked out and were asking me where she was going and when she would be back.  However, in general it did not faze them to have her leave and have me be the only one in the classroom.  I like that they trust me in from of the room!

POW: This week was my first observation by my Chicago Semester supervisor, Carole.  Don’t worry, things went really well, but I was really surprised by how nervous my CT got in anticipation of the visit.  I showed up to school on Thursday and my CT was asking me a million questions about the lesson I had planned, even though we had gone over everything the afternoon before.  We had made all necessary copies and gone over how we would organize the lesson prior to Thursday morning, yet she kept asking me what to expect with Carole’s visit, if I had everything I needed for the lesson, and if I was nervous.  This was totally unexpected for me, so it almost made me a little bit nervous about the visit, but I reminded myself that there really was no reason for me to be nervous.  I thought this might be important for all of you future student teachers to know, because it was something most of us experienced, but none of us expected. 

The Rest of the Week
This week we went to see the musical “Working” at the Broadway Playhouse.  It is created from interviews Studs Terkel did with regular working people about their work.  It was beautifully done and I loved seeing an inside perspective of how people view their own work and justify to themselves what they do for a living.  It has been adapted from the original to be more up-to-date with today’s workers, but I believe the lines they used in the play are all quotes from the interviews.  I love the sociological perspective it gave on working.  Plus the music was great!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Welcome to the new CS Blogspot - February 2011

I'm Kathryn Williams and I'm student teaching with Chicago Semester.  I go to Central College (in Pella, IA), but I went to high school in Bemidji, MN.  I love being in Chicago!  I am living with three other girls from different colleges.  Here is a picture of us in our apartment:
I am teaching pre-calculus and college algebra at Taft High School.  To be considerate of my cooperating teacher's privacy, I'm going to call her CT on this blog.  She has been really great to me so far and I have really enjoyed working with her.  I have begun teaching some lessons and she has been really supportive of what I have been doing.  I also have gotten to know a lot of the rest of the mathematics department at Taft, and they all seem really good.

Each week I plan on posting a "wow" and a "pow" from my "teaching" week.  "Wows" are good things that happened, and "Pows" are not so good things. I will try to write a little bit about what is going on outside of teaching too.

The Teaching Week

Wow:  One thing that was really cool that happened this week was that one of the students who failed last semester aced the quiz.  I had noticed that she had been doing all of her homework correctly and paying attention in class instead of sleeping.  When I graded the quizzes I was surprised by how well she did.  I told my CT, and she almost did not believe me.  She asked me who the student was sitting next to after the new seating chart.  When I told her, she said, “Yup that was definitely all her.”  I was so proud of her, that I told her she had done really well the next day (even though I did not pass back the tests), and told her to keep up the good work.  I think she is going to take advantage of the new start that this semester brings.

Pow:  This week was really busy.  I was teaching first and fifth period, and doing all of the planning for them, so I had a lot to do.  It was also the first full week that the students have had since I've been here, so it seemed pretty long to me.  It was hard to keep up with planning, but it's not like I can fall behind because otherwise I won't have anything to do with the students.  Also the content I am teaching is pretty advanced for high school, so it takes some work for me to remember all of the details.  Right now we are graphing trigonometric functions, something I haven't done since tenth grade!

The Rest of the Week

Last Sunday was the Chinese New Year parade, and Rachel, Jennifer, and I decided to jump on the red line to Chinatown to get the experience.  This is something I have always looked forward to doing, so I am so excited to have gotten to do it.  It was snowing through the whole parade, but nobody seemed to care (and of course I didn't--I'm from Minnesota).  Here are some pictures from parade: