Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Snatches of Talk

Well, I've finally made it.  All the college hours are complete.  All that stands between a diploma and myself is one semester of student teaching.  Sitting at Starbucks yesterday afternoon, with the last hours of summer slipping away and graduation and a real grown-up job looming on the horizon, the full impact of being almost, kind-of finished with college finally struck me.  Then I started thinking, what have I really learned in college?  Sure, I've sat through all those basic gen. ed. courses that we all drag ourselves through as freshmen and sophomores (and even as seniors).  I've learned a million strategies for struggling learners and gifted learners and all the kids in between.  But what is going to make me a successful middle school teacher?  In college, we talk and talk and talk about how to be effective in a job, but there's a big difference between talking about being effective and being effective.  So all these thoughts are going through my head as I'm sitting there, pondering the days until I am officially a teacher and no longer a student teacher.  

I think the key to being a successful student teacher is having an open mind and, more importantly, open ears.  You have to listen to what's going on around you. So, for the rest of the semester, I'll being listening for pieces of wisdom from the middle.  Of course, this wisdom will be gained from my mentor teacher and the other teachers and administrators at the middle school where I'm assigned to student teach.  But even more importantly, I can gain so much from listening to students.  It would be selfish of me to keep all of this newfound wisdom to myself, so I think it's better if I share it with you.  Every post will explore a small snatch of conversation I happen to catch from a student.  Kids really do say the funniest things, especially when they're thirteen and think the most mundane things could end their world.  So hopefully we'll all learn a lot this semester.....I'll learn how to be a teacher, you'll learn about the innate wisdom of the average middle schooler, and maybe (if I'm lucky) the kids will learn something, too.  

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