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Teaching Fifth Grade

Tabitha Helms

It's the week right after Spring Break, and I have jumped right into teaching. I had two observations from my supervisor--trying to get them all over with in the beginning because I know the farther along I get in this year, the busier I will become. So now I'm halfway done with observations and completely done with TPAs! All that's left is the last two observations, five more weeks of student teaching, and my RICA test. Then I get to jump head first into my continued job search in which I must be observed by the principals of the two schools that I have been pursuing, all while twirling in a whirlwind of bridal showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, weddings, receptions, and who knows what else!? Oh, and starting up my summer job at Summer Camp. I get a little overwhelmed looking at my plan book. There are so many things on the calendar for the remainder of the school year, the summer, and the fall, and it's only APRIL! Toss in some choir rehearsals, a small group, and a worship team internship and you've got my life. Busy. Crazy. Hectic. Overwhelming. But fun! :) I enjoy the things I'm involved in. I am learning a lot from my internship. I'm becoming a more confident fifth grade teacher (I taught everything but 1 test taking strategy lesson today). When wedding related plans work out, it's fun. When they don't it's a little more stressful and sleepless due to my mind being on a racehorse and feeling the need to run until I find the finish line, wherever that is. And I'm singing while checking off the to do list with school stuff. I can't believe I'm almost done with grad school! It has FLOWN by and carried me right along with it. I have a 4.0 GPA and a lot of positive feedback from people who have seen me teach. That definitely makes a person feel good. It's funny how I was on the wrong career path starting out, and God repositioned me on the right course where I now participate in something I love (on most days, that is). ;) But anyway, I really was here to write about teaching! My first week of student teaching had me diving headfirst into math. I have taught math every day including percentages, decimals, fractions, circle graphs, and today integers. The exciting thing was, my kids love the lesson today. I made it look easy and they were stoked! Lol. I had them raise their hand after we were done if they liked this stuff. Almost every hand was up, which is saying a lot for this group of kids. I gasped at them and said, "You all like math?!?!?!" I got a few "Noooooooo!" responses to that one. But I told them they were contradicting themselves because they all just had their hands up. Haha. We had fun today. I love the days where teaching is just an enjoyable thing like that. You're teaching something you know they're going to pick up on pretty quickly, so their minds aren't cluttered with frustration and they're jumping right in with you in the playful banter.

After a reminder from my master teacher that the students should be reading their novels assigned at every spare minute to get them finished by next week: Me (standing by specific student's desk who was talking): "Are you finished with the problems?" Student (with slightly fearful facial expression): "Yes." Me: "Have you read a lot of your novel?" Student: "Yeah." Me: "Like how much reading?" Student: "Like a lot." Me: "Like how much?" Student: "Like most of it." Me: "Show me." Student (getting book out and showing me how far he was) Me: "You know what? I think you can make it down to even less pages than that right now!" Another student: "But that book is boring!" Me (gasp): "Don't say that! What did the book ever do to you?" Group of students (holding up their very thin books): "But Miss Neal, I still have this much to read in a week!" "It's taking forever to read!" "I can't read that much of it!" Me: "Sure you can! Look how little that book is!" Student with ADHD (showing me text from the book): "No! Look at how little the words are in here. There's so many of them! We can't read that much that fast." Me (taking the book): "Yeah you can!" (begins reading aloud the quickest pace I can, trying not to laugh) Group of students: "Whoa!" "I can't read that fast!" "Miss Neal, please can you read it to us????" Me: "No! I'm not doing all the work for you! You'll be fine. Just READ!" (Students get back to reading)

It was a fun day. Oh, and my favorite part was there was like three kids seriously questioning me about whether or not it hurt to get my nose pierced. Lol. Oh, 5th grade. :)

I had to substitute in another 5th grade class today for science. Unfortunately, they were learning chemistry. Chemistry was the only subject I ever received a "C" in. I was appalled when I saw it on my first progress report. I taught my class lesson 1 in chemistry already, and that's where I thought these kids were as well. I was ready to go with my powerpoint and everything. Nope. I got there and found out they're on lesson 2. I hadn't even looked at lesson 2 yet! I slightly flipped out. Thank goodness, the teacher had already done the research and had some good definitions and diagrams for me. I don't know if I would have made it otherwise. Lol. You try jumping in with protons, nuclei, atoms, molecules, atomic numbers, metalloids, alloys, etc.! It's a little unnerving. But, it went surprisingly well. This is probably the best behaved class I've ever had. When they were chattering, it was at least whispers trying to keep me from hearing, which is much better than trying to talk over a group of 25 kids who are talking at regular volume. We made it through, I had good explanations, knew what I was talking about, only had to send one student to a different table for distracting everyone around him including himself, and had the kids raise their hands and tell me what they learned in science today before they were dismissed. I ran into my teacher afterwards who had come across some kids from my subbing class who said, "We had your student teacher today! She was really nice." :) Good to hear that response. I know that substitute teachers are talked about by students to their teacher upon her return, and depending on their reviews, you could get kicked off the sub list if they don't have nice things to say. It was good too since I was subbing for a colleague. That could potentially be awkward.

I'm subbing for an hour in kindergarten tomorrow. I'm not sure what that's going to be like. I've only subbed for my own kinder class before. But it should be fun! :)

The only thing I'm not at all excited about is my last two weeks, we'll be teaching 5 lessons of "family life." You know what that means. I don't think I'll be able to get through it without a bright, red face. I don't think my teacher will make me do it, even though I'm supposed to be taking over the classroom 100%. That would be horrible. It will be bad enough having to sit through it. I already did that when I was in 5th grade. Now I have to experience it public school. Yikes.

Well, enough about that. I need to get started on my chemistry powerpoint presentations. My supervisor said in my science observation that I need to have more visuals. Point taken! Time for some research...