On Friday my mentor teacher was absent from school. She knew in advance and asked if I would like to be in charge for the day. I agreed and we started planning for the day. On Friday, I was not sure what to expect. From the beginning of this experience, my mentor teacher and I have been working to define my role as a student-teacher to our class. My mentor teacher summed it up best when she explained to the children that "We work as a team. Sometimes one of us will be teaching while the other watches, and sometimes both of us will be watching." My mentor teacher made it clear that I have the same authority she does and that I deserve the same respect as she does in the classroom. So far the children have responded well. They listen to both of us equally, and respect us as a team in the room. Even though they have responded well, I wondered if it would be the same if my mentor teacher was not in the room. Would the children act up? Test their limits?
Friday ended up going really well. There was nothing that really threw me off, and I felt prepared to run the classroom. It definitely helped that we had an awesome substitute who taught for several years and regularly subs in our building. The day went pretty smoothly with a few exceptions. There were a few times where it took some time to get the children to quiet or calm down...especially before Fun Friday started, but I do not think this would have been much different had my mentor teacher been present. The morning went really well, as the children seemed to be trying to be on their very best behavior--their behavior in the hallway was unprecedented! Our CAFE (reading) time, was the most difficult time of the day. The children seemed really antsy and our silent, stamina, reading time was anything but silent. We split up into groups for the next part, which turned out to be very difficult to get both groups started and on task. I would like to improve on my direction giving skills because I think in this instance that had I been a little bit more clear, things would have ran better. One big mistake that I realized was that during this time I forgot to specifically tell the children what they could do when they finished their task (even though the answer is always the same). As a result, I had children coming up to me left and right to ask what to do next. I guess a lesson for me is to be clear and specific. I also think that organizing my thoughts and directions before hand will be a huge help.
Friday turned out to be an awesome confidence boost and one more reassurance that I might just be ready for my own classroom post-graduation.