Oh my goodness, I've survived FIVE weeks in a classroom! I'm slowly improving, although my co-op and I agree that at this point my grade would still be a C, because I really do need to work on my class management skills. This is a class that needs to be micromanaged because they've been babied for all 7 years of their short lives and they still don't know what "stay on task" means... but they're slowly starting to respond more to me as a teacher and I'm feeling much more comfortable teaching my lessons now that I have someone to back me up and make sure that I'm consistent with my teaching, instead of jumping all over the place. I've started taking little liberties with things but for the most part am still working right from the curriculum guides. My coop says: "The way I see it is this: Are you certified in Curriculum Design? No. So you shouldn't be making it up until you've had some practice. This stuff is proven to be an effective teaching guide, so I don't care if you copy it." She's gotten me to write a few of my own lesson plans and so far, so good, but she's perfectly happy to let me use the books, as long as I don't have to read them for directions during the lesson.
I've now taught two "Experience Days" (full days in the classroom) and they wear me out. I don't know how the heck the teacher does it all. I'm still working out proper order to do things in, what time exactly the kids should be settled and in their seats, making a smooth transition from morning work to the spelling lesson to the special, prep for math, etc... remembering all the times takes me a while still, but I've gotten the general order down now and that helps. And I'm getting slowly more consistent with my management techniques and my instructions. So now the kids will get more consistent with their responses, right?
The kids had fun on Valentine's day. Last week we had two 2-hour delays and one snow day, and absences all week, and yet on Thursday (Party day) they all came filing happily into the room with excuses about being ill and not being able to come to school due to the weather on Wednesday. *le sigh* I didn't have quite so much fun, since there was too much sugar and not enough concentration, but my science lesson went very well (I tried micromanaging, and explaining everything 3 times over, and 3/4 of the kids actually listened very well, which floored me). I did get a pile of candy plus several cute valentines, one of which was labeled "To Mrs. Fae and Mr. Fae"... I cracked up, of course... a few of them still call me "Mrs. Fae" all the time, despite the board (and me) saying "Ms. Fae". Ah well, they're only 7.
Next week, I'll teach a lot more (I think I may do the whole week, except for math and some reading centers!) and the week after that is my genuine, honest-to-goodness, teaching everything Experience Week before I leave. Oh, dear... 3 weeks till I'm done here! Then it's on to the Environmental Center and a lot of outdoor fun in the early spring slush.