NOTE: All names have been changed so as to honor confidentiality rights.
- There was a little boy that would walk up to me every morning during silent reading and tell me how lovely I looked or that I had beautiful eyes. Seriously, if any one is lacking in the self-confidence department, become an elementary school teacher. The kids will make your self-esteem sky rocket.
- There were two boys that would stay in from recess to talk to me almost every day. When I would tell them to go out and play, they said that talking with me was more fun than recess. Once again, refer to the self-esteem point on number one.
- One afternoon the kids were working in pairs and two boys were sitting on the ground filling out their social studies packet. One of the boys started wacking the other one with his pencil. Well, boy #2 had enough and grabbed the pencil away from boy #1. Due to overly exerted force, boy #2 stabbed himself in the palm with the freshly sharpened pencil. My mentor teacher had stepped out of the room for a few minutes at the time, meaning I was the 'responsible adult'. I asked him if he was okay and he told me in a brave, but terrified voice that he thought he might have lead poisoning. I looked down at his hand and in just a few seconds, a pool of blood had collected in his palm, so I quickly sent him down to the office to get it taken care of. Minutes later he came running back into the portable; he had managed to convince the office that he may have lead poisoning and that they needed to check out the pencil that had become the weapon. Turns out he was fine, as I had predicted, and later when I asked him if he was okay he informed me that he was, only because he was used to his hand getting stabbed. Just last year he accidentally stabbed himself with a knife. You'd think he'd have learned.
- I learned that "Rasmussen" is a little tricky for even 6th graders to pronounce. I've resorted to the fact that for the rest of my life the majority of students will refer to me as "Mrs. R." Except for that one over achiever in my class who promised me on my first day there that he would practice my name that night if I would practice his. When I asked him what his last name was he told me "Carter." You've got yourself a deal, Mr. Carter. And I've got myself the better end of the deal.
- As cliche as this sounds, the best part of the whole practicum was teaching the kids and having a visible lightbulb go on. Sometimes it was with a whole class and other times it was at the back table working in a small group with the kids who were struggling. Either way, knowing that I had taught them something that they needed to know and that I had made a difference, no matter how small, was the most rewarding feeling in the world. It's what will make the crappy pay worth it.
- That and receiving notes and pictures from the kids on a daily basis. One of my favorites came from a kid named Sam. To give a little background you have to know that I taught a lesson introducing the planets in the Solar System. At one point in the lesson, I broke the class into eight groups, each representing a planet (very confusing that Pluto is no longer a planet). I had taken the distances from each planet to the Sun and converted them into measurable distances. We went outside and I gave each group a tape measurer and marked a place on the field that represented the Sun. Each group was then to measure the distance from the Sun to their planet so that they could visually see and understand the concept of relative distance. Before we went outside I told the kids that if they were goofing off and not following directions, I would make them stay in from recess. Well, Sam decided to steal Isaac's tape measurer and whip him with it. Obviously, Sam got to stay in from recess. While he was sitting at his desk thinking about what he had done, he wrote me a little letter that I promise I will keep forever:
Sorry Mrs. R. that I was being disrispectful And sorry for stealing Isaac's measuring tape and for running around I'm sorry I would never do that again. And thank you so much for being so nice to the class.
Melted my heart. Especially the way he spelled disrespectful and sincerely. We still need to work on that. Well, if you've made it this far, my deepest apologies for being so wordy and writing so much. What can I say?
Since then we had a perfect Thanksgiving break and loved being able to spend so much time with both of our families. It gave us a little taste of what Christmas break will feel like, only we won't have any homework over the upcoming three weeks: glorious! We're so excited for the Christmas season and have put all of of Christmas decorations up in our apartment and have been listening to Christmas music nonstop now that Thanksgiving is over. Now if we can just get through the last two weeks of classes and finals. Wish us luck!