My schedule was as follows: 1. English 10 2. Secondary Math 3. Beginning Painting 4. World Civilizations. As I got my schedule at the beginning of the day, I anticipated enjoying English/painting and dreaded going to math/world civ. Turns out, as the day progressed, I was right!
English was easy for me. I enjoyed the book we were reading, and when we made a PowerPoint on the setting of the book, I was able to use my creativity. As I discussed teacher to teacher, it came to my attention that the book was a lower Lexile of around 800. We spoke about how that teacher was told not to use the book in her curriculum because of this matter. I told her my feelings of how I think it is more important that students connect to books and feel engaged, rather than forcing difficult books that are out-of-touch.
Math was a lot more difficult. Aleks (a new math program) wasn’t set up for me as a new student (this was familiar to a lot of technology problems when we get new students in class). I spent the first twenty minutes trying to get a login and then having to create an account. I then spent time taking a test in Aleks to assess where my math abilities were at. I found myself disengaged, and sometimes confused. The students spend 45 minutes at the beginning of class on Aleks, only getting interaction from the teacher if they have a question. This struck me as crazy!!! Not even I, a twenty-five-year-old, could pay attention for that long. The teacher had to come by twice to tell me to put my phone away. Later, I was told that he joked with other teachers he almost had to take it away. This frustrated me more. I had it out for about two seconds each time, and with no time for a phone or brain break, it was almost impossible not to feel bored.
Painting was, albeit a little long, really fun! We didn’t actually do any painting, but rather, listened and had hands-on activities with a librarian from the University of Utah. She brought in literature, some up to 3,000 years old, so that she could show us how books can be written differently, and how important they were to societies. We were even trusted to touch the books! I thought it was a great lesson in our advantages to have books around, as well as the importance they have been making history.
World Civilizations was the hardest class to go to. My schedule originally had the wrong room number on it, and the true student in me thought, “if I were to ditch this last period and go to another room to work, no one would notice. The teacher doesn’t know I am coming, and the school doesn’t care enough to have the right room number for me.” It was enlightening to just how our students may feel. If they have to go from class to class, with only 5 minute breaks in between, and a 30-minute lunch, by fourth period, they are tired. They want to sleep, or talk to friends, or be outside, or look at their phones. It makes it even more difficult for them when road blocks (such as having to find the right class) are put in the way and they are forced to choose responsibility over comfort.
I am so grateful for the honor to be a part of such a cool movement in the education system. I love interacting with students, and being able to widen my perspective. It was good to remember what it was like when I was a teenager!
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