From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Student Teachers

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Student Teaching - Week #8

by Jessica Stob Mills - Daniel Boone Elementary School

Life in the City Student Teaching

Lake Shore Drive

As I sit here thinking about what to write for my 8th week of student teaching, I have a hard time separating the weeks in my head. I think it means that life is starting to normalize. Things don’t surprise me too much anymore and everyday seems to go similarly to the day before. Although, that doesn’t mean that every day is boring, I have to say quite the contrary. Everyday seems so packed that I sometimes wonder if I’ll accomplish everything.

It is the middle of the term so we had to complete our mid-term evaluations this past week. It wasn’t too painful. I understood every word and concept on the evaluation unlike some evaluations that I have had to fill out for previous terms. I’m glad that we have another half of the term left though; I want to improve on my creativity within my lessons.

This week we had some future Chicago Semester student teachers come to visit the school that I’m teaching at. I gave them a tour and hopefully answered some questions and gave some good advice. It was a nice break from teaching.

Life in the City Outside of Student Teaching
With friends in Grant Park

This week I went to the Joffrey Ballet to see Don Quixote with the fine arts group. It was a beautiful ballet. I remembered reading the story in Spanish when I was in high school so it was interesting to see it.

It was also a busy week cleaning for a showing on our apartment (that was actually a no-show). Also, I threw a surprise birthday party for my husband on Saturday. He had absolutely no idea! A lot of people showed up, and after getting a haircut and getting the oil changed he walked into a clean house with a bunch of friends there to greet him!

What I am looking forward to…

I think for the next week or so I will be looking forward to getting my packing and un-packing done. Moving into my new apartment in the Wicker Park area is going to be a little stressful as next week I will be starting full-time student teaching!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Student Teaching - Week #7

by Jessica Stob Mills - Daniel Boone Elementary

Life in the City Student Teaching

It wasn’t as hot outside this past week; in fact I started to wear some sweaters, although, the classroom was still hot. That is one thing they never teach you in school, how to plow through teaching when you are just so hot.

I enjoy teaching math; I teach the whole first part of the day, which is exciting. I started teaching the little third graders multiplication this past week! This coming week I will be gathering all my information for starting my unit plan. Hopefully it will all come together this week.

In an assignment for Chicago Semester this week, I had to interview an administrator on what they look for in an interview. I talked with the assistant principal at Daniel Boone and it was quite interesting. I actually think that was one of the more valuable assignments that we have had. I felt like she was letting me in on the secrets of the teacher hiring process.

Life in the City outside of Student Teaching

It was such a busy week for my husband and I. There were a lot of late nights finishing homework assignments and early morning rushes. It’s never fun to walk our dog in the rain either and it rained.
New Apartment Building

I think the most awesome thing that happened this past week is that we put a security deposit down on a new apartment in Ukrainian Village, which is north and west of the Loop. The apartment is beautiful, I can’t wait to move in! 

What I am looking forward to…

I’m looking forward to handing in another assignment on Tuesday, it feels good to get everything accomplished that I’m supposed to. I’m also looking forward to organizing and packing everything we need to this week as well as going to the Joffrey Ballet to see Don Quixote!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Student Teaching - Week #6

by Jessica Stob Mills - Daniel Boone Elementary School

Life in the City Student Teaching

Full time student teaching is creeping up on me.  Last week went by so slow while I was in it but so fast in the grand scheme of things. Midterm evaluations are coming up next week and that means that I will be full time in just one or two short weeks.

I am keeping very busy.  I took over math and taught about magic squares, which is a fun unit. When I was teaching social studies, I was surprised to discover that none of my students really knew who Christopher Columbus was. There are so many things to learn about students, one of them is what their previous knowledge is.

View from my apartment
 This past week was pretty warm! I couldn’t believe in October, after a rainy cold week that we would have weather in the 70’s. It was nice but I was a little too uncomfortable in the class with no airflow.  Looking out the window made me long to be out and about in the sunshine and changing leaves.

Life in the City outside of Student Teaching

It was such a busy week. Getting observed and handing in the neighborhood project was a lot of work to make everything look nice, and that means that I stayed up late nights and woke up early. But, I did get to enjoy a nice long weekend.

On Saturday we went to Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL. Cantigny is a beautiful park originally owned by Robert McCormick. His huge mansion is now a museum and there is another museum that teaches about the different wars in America.  You can view the trenches of World War II and the barracks of those wars, as well as the jungles of the Vietnam War. Outside on the grounds are numerous different tanks from the war that you can climb on and beautiful gardens to walk through.

On Sunday I went to church at Covenant PCA around Wicker Park; it is a beautiful church with great music and preaching. On Monday we went to a Columbus Day parade on Columbus Drive and also went to the Field Museum. It was such a good weekend!

What I am looking forward to…

I’m looking forward to teaching more and taking on more responsibilities in the classroom. I’m also looking forward to this weekend since we will attend a friend's wedding and hopefully explore more of the city.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Student Teaching - Week #5

by Jessica Stob Mills - Daniel Boone Elementary School

Life in the City Student Teaching

This past week was probably one of the busiest so far with student teaching. I know they are just going to get busier. It has been fun though. On Tuesday we got out for half-a-day to do a survey of the school and neighborhood, one of the seminar requirements for student teaching. Since Sam and I are teaching at the same school, Daniel Boone Elementary in West Rogers Park, we got to go out and survey the neighborhood together.

We traveled around the perimeters of the schools district to see the diversity of the neighborhood, which is actually one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the nation. We saw a beautiful community park and community house, and so many different types of houses and stores. We talked to a stranger on the street walking his dog and we interviewed two different community organizers and an administrator. They all had enlightening things to say about the neighborhood where we are teaching.

I feel so enlightened after learning more about the richness of the neighborhood I am in 5 days out of 7 in the week. I cannot believe that in our school there are nearly 40 different languages spoken and the staff is very diverse as well, mirroring the community around the school.

Life in the City Outside of Student Teaching

Unfortunately, I was sick this week with the stomach flu on Thursday. I think I might have gotten it from one of my students. That’s one of the not so pretty parts of Student Teaching. Also, because of being sick on Thursday, I had to miss a fine arts event at the Steppenwolf Theater… so sad.

Over the weekend I was feeling well enough to go attend Germany’s Best and Oktoberfest at Navy Pier with my friend and her German husband. This is the first year that the German American Services Inc. has put on this celebration and it is supposed to be very similar to the types of fests you would see in Germany. It was fun being able to eat authentic imported German food underneath big tents, while listening to some German music being played, with my friends.  

What I am looking forward to…

I am looking forward to teaching the next math unit. We are going to make turtles that have to do with magic squares, something we are learning with addition in our unit. I am also looking forward to seeing the beautiful colors come out as the seasons are changing. I already see yellows and reds of the changing leaves!