Knife to the heart
Got a knife to the heart today, as the image shows. It was just one of those practicum days where a lot of things went wrong.
First of all, I had trouble sleeping, which is probably what caused a lot of my grief. I arrived to school a little later than usual, and was a bit rushed getting myself settled.
I was going to have my observation this morning, in second block after recess, but today turned out to be “Articulation” when the Grade 7 teachers talk to the high schools about the students they’re expecting to send off at the end of the year. They chat about what supports the students might need and how they’re doing in their work and personal lives.
For that reason, Pat, my SA was not available for the observation. I should have just run my lesson as planned, but I didn’t do that because I thought she might come in time and I wanted her to see the whole lesson, so I waited. Unfortunately, after her Articulation, she had to watch over Rosella’s class next door because Rosella had her Articulation to attend.
In the end, I did a shorter lesson, and while there were some good bits, it felt like students were not really paying attention. Partly because of my own nervous energy, but I can’t deny that perhaps this friendship unit is not working out.
The last few months, I’ve been doing one lesson on friendship each week during my Thursday visits. Some of these have gone well, but some of them have really failed to hit the mark. Students seem distracted and unengaged.
I’ll be honest, it’s given me a lot of anxiety. It feels as though I’m losing touch with the students, and knowing that I’ll be in my long practicum soon, I have this dreadful fear that by the time I get there, they won’t respect me and I’ll be fighting with them all the time.
It just feels like I’ve lost my grip a little, and I believe it’s partly the theme of my unit. Friendship. Pat assigned this unit to me because she felt like it would be helpful to the students, but also something easy to do once a week. Also, it would be a great build up to a big project they’re hoping to do called the Compassionate Most Magnificent Thing.
At first I was very excited about this unit because it goes well with my inquiry project on inclusion and diversity. However, after today, I feel very conflicted about, especially considering what one of the students said about it after school….
Knife to the heart
At the end of the day, Pat and I were planning out long practicum, and one of the students who had stuck around for a while after class came up to ask what we were doing.
Pat said, “We’re planning for her practicum. Ms. Sims is going to be the teacher soon. She’ll be teaching you guys.”
And the student said, “Aww… but I don’t want Ms. Sims to be the teacher. She teaches stupid stuff about friendship. You teach interesting stuff.”
Knife. to. the. heart.
The student was laughing as they said it, and to be fair, this student is a known trickster who uses biting humour in most situations. Of course we all laughed it off and I tried not to take it personal, but it hurt.
I talked about it with Pat after and she told me not to take it personal, but still, it’s hard to believe in my friendship unit with that type of direct negative feedback.
Steps forward? Growth Mindset
What are the steps forward? I know it’s not my job to make students like me. I know I need to have a thick skin. I know I can’t please all students, and I know that some students are enjoying the friendship unit.
However, I also know that this hurts because there’s probably some truth to what the student is saying. I’m a student teacher, not yet a seasoned veteran. I am probably missing the mark. In some ways, I think the unit is failing.
I also know that I can take this ‘feedback’ and perhaps do something with it. It doesn’t make me a failure, but if I think it would be a mistake to just ignore it and brush it off. However insensitive, the student obviously wanted to share their opinion with me, as they said it right in front of me! Perhaps I should be grateful they had the guts to say it to my face! Maybe that’s a win???
Still, with all of this mental gymnastics trying to swing this into a positive, it still sucks and I do feel I’ve had the wind taken out of my sail.
This practicum sure is difficult!