Monday, March 27, 2006

Disorganization in the Teacher Corps

As you all know, the class moral took a huge dive after this weekend's meeting in Oxford. I'm going to try to speak as candidly and honestly as possible. The whole situation went down as Ben informed us that we would be student teaching this summer. At first, I think people groaned a little bit, but as the program was described, I think people began to realize how beneficial and how fun it would be. The new second years would be teaching summer school in Holly Springs with the first years student-teaching. Sounds like a lot of fun and it would give us an opportunity to try out some new teaching techniques. However, the real theatrics came as Ben announced that we'd have two classes over the fall and one class in the spring.

This change is unwelcomed by me and many other for several reasons. First, I had seperate extracurriculars planned for both the fall and the spring that required a large portion (if not all) of my Saturday. These activities include coaching and volunteering. Unforutnately, if we have classes down in Oxford, I will have to scratch these plans, (as I will have little time for these committments during the week).

Second, my classmates and I will have to spend more money on gas and food. Gas is a major hidden cost to this program (not to mention, wear and tear on our vehicles).

Third, Saturday classes kill our weekend. I for one cannot stand Saturday classes. I like the professors and find the material interesting and worthwhile but yet I still cannot stand what it does to my weekend. When we have to go to Oxford over the weekend, it leaves absolutely no down-time. I often get much less sleep and find myself a bit more disorganized after a weekend in Oxford.

I really don't want to come back for the Spring semester of 2007. It's a huge thorn in my side. After all, many of us aren't in this program for the classes that we take on the weekends. We're in it for the kids.

What bothers me the most is that this isn't the program I signed up for. Before I applied, I studied this program inside and out. I had the schedule memorized before I even sent in my materials. In short, I did my homework and thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I don't think it is fair (or very professional for that matter) for the leaders of the program to change things midway and just expect us to comply as if we have no stake in the matter. I would completely understand if this change was on the table before I applied to the program just so there are no surprises. If this change to the program goes into effect, I would be willing to bet that more than a few teacher corps teachers would pack their bags after the semester is over.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


One of my procedures that has worked really well over the past few months is not really a procedure at all. It is my classroom rewards chart. It's a bit complicated in the beginning but students catch on quickly. Each class receives a numerical score based on their behavior on any given day. For example, on Friday, my third period received a score of 3. The scale extends from 1-5 with 5 being a perfect score and 1 being the lowest score. Classes with excellent classroom behavior will earn a 5 for that particular day. Classes with sub-standard classroom behavior will earn less than a 5 for that particular day. I keep track of scores on a classroom rewards chart that hangs above the blackboard (i.e. every student can see it). At the end of a two week (10 day) period, I add up the scores for each class. There is a total of 50 possible points. If a class earns between a 45-50, they will get 15 minutes of free time at the end of the period. If they earn between a 40-45, they will get 10 minutes of free time at the end of the period. If a class earns 30-40, they receive no free time, and if a class earns less than 30, they will be given homework on the weekend.

This reward system has worked tremendously well for my class because students police each other. When ever I bring up the rewards chart, other students will enforce my class rules for me. Furthermore, because all students can see the score of every class, different class periods compete with each other for the highest scores. Students really enjoy it.