Last night I did not sleep
at all. I have been impatiently waiting on this student teaching experience for the last 12 months and now, it has finally
come! Although I did not sleep at all, I woke up this morning fully charged to deal with the tasks that would lie ahead.
As I entered into the classroom,
I felt a sense of peace and comfort. To my surprise, there was not an ounce of nervousness in my entire body. Usually when
I begin something new, I am extremely nervous because I don’t know what to expect. Today, it was different- very different.
Even though I did not know what to expect from the students (their behaviors, personalities, attitudes) I remained extremely
As the day began, I introduced
myself and began to observe the classroom. It was a Special Education Career Planning class with students in the 9th,
10th, 11th, and 12thgrades. The students in
the first period class appeared to be laid back, with a positive attitude towards learning. Second period was our planning
period. During this time, I became acquainted with my supervising teacher. She seemed to be very knowledgeable in her field.
Third period was a smaller class. These students were much slower than the previous class and apparently
less focused on the lesson. The teacher had to repeatedly redirect them in order for them to stay on task. Fourth period was
lunch. Our last period of the day was the largest class. The students seemed to be more advanced than the other two classes
and more energetic.
Before I knew it, the day was over! I learned a lot about the students in my first day. As I exited the
building, I could barely wait for the next day to begin!
January 10, 2008
I entered the building
around , even though teachers did not have to report to class until . I was so eager to begin the day. As I sat waiting on my supervising teacher, I noticed
the students’ classroom work on the walls in the hallways. One science class had beautiful posters up of chromosomes.
A math class had graphs posted representing linear equations and parabolas.
Soon, it was time for class
and the students came rushing in. To my surprise, the students were not the same from the previous day. There was an entirely
different group of students. My supervising teacher explained that their school was on a block schedule and that they had
an “A” day and a “B” day. This meant that the student would come to our class every other day. At
first this confused me, but eventually I became used to it.
The first period class
seemed focused and ready to learn, similarly to the first period class I observed the previous day. The third period class
was very large. In addition to the class size, there were several students in this class with behavior problems. Many of these
students had functional behavior assessments ( FBAs). The last period class included students with a wide range of abilities.
Some were advanced, some were extremely slow, and others were in between.
Soon, the day was over.
I had a lot to think about. There were six classes including about sixty different students with their own unique personalities
and abilities. I began to think of ways to reach each student academically.
January 11, 2008
Today, I began assisting
the teacher. I would walk around and help each student with their assignments after the teacher introduced the lesson. There
were some students that could grasp the lesson quickly, while others took more time to do so.
During our planning period, my supervising teacher was very informative. She gave me so much information
that I became overwhelmed! In order to retain it all, I had to write it all down. Although I had previously been taught how
to develop individualized education plans (IEPs) and functional behavior assessments (FBAs), the advice she gave me concerning
them was very useful. She also informed me of several forms, such as parent contacts, student reevaluation sheets and behavior
Assisting the students today gave me so much joy. I realized that I was so fortunate to be able to obtain
this kind of experience. I thought, “I learned so much in my first week, I know that by the time my student teaching
experience is over, I will be overly knowledgeable in my field of study.”
January 14, 2008
I woke up this morning
ready for my second week of student teaching. I arrived early to write the objectives and agenda on the board. I participated
in introducing the lesson to the students and assisted them in their work throughout the day. The students had to write new
words from off the “Word Wall.” The Word Wall was a board with vocabulary terms posted on it. With each new lesson,
new terms are written on the board. The students would have to define the terms and study them for their test.
During our planning period,
we visited several teachers. Special education teachers have to keep close contact with the general education teachers for
many different reasons. The special education teacher can inform the general education teacher of the students’ disabilities,
their strengths, and their weaknesses. Both teachers can discuss the students’ performance in their classrooms and even
offer suggestions and interventions that may be useful in dealing with the issue.
It was another wonderful
day of learning more and more about my profession, and about each individual student. Tomorrow can’t get her fast enough!
January 15, 2008
All teachers had to meet
this morning at in the library. In this meeting, the principal spoke with
us and gave us tips on how to approach different issues while teaching. One of the teachers provided handouts concerning tests.
I learned that I should emphasize on specific areas that will be on my test and to tell students to write main ideas and formulas
on one sheet a paper to be quickly reviewed for preparation for a test.
During the test, I was
told to explain to students that they should review the entire test before starting to be able to efficiently budget their
time. I also learned that students should complete the easiest problems first and not to spend a lot of time on problems that
they don’t know.
After a test, I was told
to always review. This is self explanatory. If a student fails a test, the only way the student will truly be able to understand
what he or she did wrong, is if the teacher properly review the test. This means the teacher will go over each test question
and thoroughly explain how to obtain the correct answer.This meeting was very
informative for me.
After the meeting, we went on a field trip to JacksonStateUniversity. While on the trip, we watched Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous
I Havea Dream speech. Then, we listened to several speakers talk about his accomplishments
and his contribution to our freedom. Some of these speakers marched with Dr. King. The students learned a lot and when we
returned to the classroom, they were able to write about what they learned.
January 16, 2008
Today as I read through
some of the students’ IEPs, I was surprised. Many of the students had dramatically improved. For example, one boy had
difficulties comprehending in the past. As I worked with this student, I noticed that he was comprehending on a much higher
I also read some of the
students’ FBAs. These results astonished me even more. Several of the boys who were once in an alternative school for
behavior problems now appeared to be completely different students. For example, one boy cursed, fought and disrespected his
peers and teachers in the past. In my short time here, I have noticed that this boy have not cursed or fought at all. In addition
to this, he was extremely respectful to both this peers and authority figures. My supervising teacher explained that it is
like he is a new person now.
As I work with the students
more each day, I am learning each of their unique learning styles. I am also learning how to adapt my teaching styles to their
different learning styles.
January 17, 2008
Today, I had a problem
with one of my students. He was a student who had come from an alternative school with severe behavior problems. He was a
new student and he had a terrible attitude. He talked when he wanted to and constantly interrupted the class. I politely asked
him to be quiet several times. He soon began to threaten his peers, myself, and my supervising teacher. My supervising teacher
contacted security to escort him out of the classroom as I continued to teach.
After I gave the students their assignment, I had to further deal with this issue. My supervising teacher
showed me the proper way of contacting a parent. She called the student’s mother on the phone and explained to his mother
exactly what he did and said. Then she called a meeting with her.
The meeting was held after school. We had to have a manifestation determination for this student to see
if his disability had anything to do with his behavior. At the meeting, the student, his mother, myself, my supervising teacher
(the special education teacher), a general education teacher, the assistant principal, the learning specialist, the social
worker, and the department chair was in attendance.
The learning specialist determined that the student’s IEP was appropriate but his placement was
not appropriate. As a result, the student would have to be placed elsewhere. The conclusion of the meeting was that there
was a manifestation of his disability.
The day was quite interesting.
I am glad that I was able to attend that meeting and get the experience of how to conduct a manifestation determination.
January 18, 2008
Today I came ready to teach,
as usual. We worked on writing résumés, cover letters, and we also worked on filling out job applications. Many of the students
had more difficulties with creating the cover letters than writing the résumés. I had to re-teach to some of the students
and make sure that each of them thoroughly understood what a cover letter was and what its purpose was. After doing that,
many of the students had a better understanding and could complete the task.
Filling out a job application
was less complicated for all of the students. One reason is that some of the students had jobs in the past and had experience
in completing job applications. This past experience made completing their assignment much easier to do.
By now, I thought that I had a pretty good understanding of my students and their abilities. I had a
terrific first two weeks and I am ready for next week.
January 21, 2008
Today there wasn’t
any school in observance of Dr. King’s holiday. I focused on finding better ways to better reach my students academically.
January 22, 2008
I began the day by reviewing
the previous lesson that was taught. Then the students had to take a test. While some of the students performed well on the
test, several students did not. Based on their disability, some students were allowed to retake the test. Accommodations were
made for the students. The students who were edgicable mentally retarded (EMR), received a lower level test. Slower learners
were allotted more time to take the test.
When they finished the test, they worked on their lesson. The lesson pertained to describing actions
that show coworkers that you value your relationships with them. Some of the students needed the entire class period to take
the test, but others finished early and began on their lesson when they finished their test. Everyone seemed to understand
the lesson quite well.
January 23, 2008
Today was a repeat of yesterday,
just different classes. To my surprise the boy with the traumatic brain injury performed exceptionally well. Although it took
him longer than some of the other students to complete his test (because it took him longer to think), he could reason and
comprehend very well. He could also read on a higher level than many of his classmates.
There was a girl who surprised
me as well. She could read extremely well. In fact, she was at the top of her class in reading. She could even write good
sentences too. But when I asked her a question, she just could not comprehend what I was saying to her. Throughout the past
few days I had been noticing her strengths because she would always volunteer to read in class. However, when asked a question,
I did not realize it at first that she could only answer lower level questions. If asked a question from one of the higher
levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, she could not answer it. I began to think of interventions for her.
January 24, 2008
Today we worked with making
personal schedules. The students did exceptionally well on this activity. Everyone appeared to have a thorough understanding
After school, we had a
functional behavioral assessment and behavior intervention plan meeting concerning one of our students. This student had previously
been in an alternative school for his behavior. From my opinion, along with the other teachers that were in the meeting, this
student had greatly improved.
He works very well with his peers and likes to help others. However, he is extremely playful and appears
to be immature. His target behavior to be reduced or eliminated is his poor social judgment and him ignoring long-term consequences.
The objective is for him to behave in the following manners: comply with teacher directives, consider
the importance of long-term consequences, make choices independent of his peers, and complete his assignments with varying
levels of assistance from his teacher,
Some of the preventative teaching strategies include the following: establish a positive working relationship
with him, explain and teach the classroom expectations for behavior in the classroom, praise him for using appropriate social
skills, and use behavior contracts for target objectives.
I learned so much in this meeting. I am definitely going to be ready when I graduate from TougalooCollege!
January 25, 2008
Today, the students learned
about the importance of meeting deadlines However, not everyone followed directions. Our first classroom rule is to listen
to the directions the first time given. I had to reinforce this rule and make sure everyone listened as I gave the directions.
My supervising teacher
discussed the Jackson Public School Procedural Safeguards with me. These are booklets given to the parents at the beginning
of the school year. The information in it provides parents of children with disabilities insight on their rights (procedural
safeguards). It involves information concerning the students’ independent evaluations, and written prior notices. The
written prior notices are sent to the parents before there is a change in the students’ evaluation or educational placement.
As usual, I obtained a
plethora of information today and I look forward to coming tomorrow.
January 28, 2008
Today, we worked with identifying
actions that help a worker keep a job and how the company’s human resource department helps its workers. At first many
of the students did not understand the purpose of the human resource department. After some re-teaching, it was very much
clear to them.They wrote synonyms for the words conflict and resolve. I guided
them in reading the lesson and then they answered questions at the end of the section. Some students needed more assistance
than other students.
During our planning period,
I read the Mississippi Occupational Diploma requirements. In it, I read about all the courses and credits the students needed
to complete their graduation requirements. Along with courses, the students had to have an occupational portfolio, a transition
portfolio, a personal data sheet, a résumé, and a plethora of other information.
January 29, 2008
was a repeat of yesterday’s assignment, but with a different set of classes. Although some students had a challenge
with this lesson, the majority of the students understood it quite well. I had to use re-teach the lesson to a few slower
The majority of the time,
I don’t have any disciplinary problems, but I did have one student who would not stop talking today. I explained to
him that he was disrupting the class by talking and that it was rude. Even though he got upset, he did stop interrupting the
During our closure activity,
I asked the students what they learned and why it was important for them to learn it. By doing this, I could see who actually
obtained a true understanding of the lesson, and who I needed to re-teach the lesson to. I also wanted them to know why it
was important for them to know who the human resource department was.
January 30, 2008
We talked about peer pressure
today. Many of the students could correctly identify the difference between positive and negative peer pressure. The students
had opportunities to write about times when their friends tried to pressure them into doing something, whether positive or
negative. When they were done, they were able to discuss what they wrote aloud to the class.
We had a meeting with the principal today a well. I received a lot of information in this meeting. To
deal with students failing to complete homework assignments, I learned that I could develop a contract with the student and
his/her parent requiring that homework be done before more desirable activities such as watching television. If the student
sleeps during class, I learned that I could reinforce the student for positively participating in activities without sleeping
by giving the student a tangible reward. Issues pertaining to the student excessively missing school, I learned to always
contact the parent and inform him/her of the situation.
January 31, 2008
Today was a repeat of yesterday’s
lesson. After hearing of how the students responded to peer pressure, I got a better understanding of each of them as individuals.
This information also let me know how to relate to their individual personalities. When they were done, they were able to
view a video on peer pressure.
During our planning period,
I read an article about what to look for in a classroom. I learned that good signs included the following: comfortable areas
for working, walls covered with students’ work, the teacher working with the students, and a class discussion pertaining
to the lesson objectives. The article stated that negative signs included the following: no rules posted, the teacher sitting
at his/her desk, the students talking and not completing their task, and the teacher asking lower level questions.
I learned a great deal from the article that I read. I also learned a lot about my students after hearing
what they did when faced with peer pressure. I can’t believe that the first month of my student teaching experience
is already over!