First Week Teaching

I would like to say a big thank you to all of the teachers that took time out of their lives to help educate me.  This includes my mom and my dad.  They are great people and great friends.  After teaching for a week I now realize how much work this profession takes.  I am learning that I must dedicate myself to my work so that my students receive the best education possible.  This means I can only check espn.com twice an hour instead of four times.  This is going to be very difficult to do since I just joined a fantasy football league (I’ll explain more about this later).  I will still need time to see how the Broncos are doing.  I know they lost this weekend, but by half time when the starting offense left the field they were winning so that is good enough for me.  I am still concerned with their defense.  Hopefully they can turn it around by the time the season starts.  The way the Rockies are playing baseball season will be over soon, which kills me to say, but that will clear up more time for me to work on my lesson plans.  Or as I call them, my game plans.  Another thing that will give me more time to get my work done is the closing of the Olympics.  I am very proud that the United States did so well.  I am still a little bitter over them losing the Gymnastics team Gold to the Chinese.  They should not have lost considering they won Gold on all of the individual events except one or two, not to mention the cheating commies (sorry had to say it).  I have been spending way to much time reading about that controversy.  I have also been reading about the U.S. men’s basketball team.  I didn’t get to watch any of the games because of the time differences and such, but I am very relieved they won gold.  I really expect nothing less.  I mean we invented the game.  So now that most of these things are wrapping up I’ll have plenty of time to game plan.  I’ll just have to learn how to work the Broncos, CU Buff’s (cool story I was walking around town the first weekend and I saw a CU Buff sticker on the back of one of the cars!), the Rockies (threw September at least!), and fantasy football into my busy teaching schedule.

Here are my first impressions of teaching.  I am blind and my students aren’t.  They can spell and I cannot.  I surprised them with a pop quiz spelling test and they all aced it.  I would have failed this quiz miserably.  As a matter of fact if there wasn’t a little thing called spell checking most of this blog would look like it was written by a first grader instead of resembling the writing of a fifth grader.  How did I get a job teaching sixth grade English?  I am pretty sure
 they are smarter than me, or better students than I ever was.  I have been enjoying my time with them in class.  On Monday we played a couple of icebreakers.  I think they enjoyed it because they keep on asking to play more games.  (If anyone has any game ideas you should share them with me.)  On Tuesday we actually opened the books and I taught a real lesson.  Shockingly I have been very comfortable in front of the classroom.  I am working my hardest to be fair, but strict.  I cannot let my students walk all over me.  My seventh grade Latin American History class is a little bit more difficult.  Not because of the students but because I don’t know the subject as well.  The seventh graders are also quite a bit more talkative than my sixth graders.
I think something else that is helping me stay calm while I am teaching is the knowledge that I don’t have to be the greatest teacher ever and I don’t have to expect to be amazing at it either.  I didn’t go to school to learn how to teach.  And because I don’t have any background in teaching I know that I need to lean on God for support rather than my own knowledge.  With that being said I am starting to realize that I have something to offer to my students.  God is showing me how to lead them and use the gifts he has blessed me with.  I have 11 sixth graders.  They are all learning how to use their lockers and turn in assignments for different classes.  My seventh graders seem to be very comfortable with this middle school thing.  They don’t like homework
, but when they do turn it in they typically do a very good job.  My eighth graders are a mystery.  Mostly because I haven’t had a class with all of them yet.  That will change tomorrow.  My middle school PE class is very funny.  I had them run and do stretches this last week.  Lets just say most of these kids are out of shape.  I’m working on fixing this situation.  My high school PE class has been fun.  I only have 6 guys and they are all very willing to run around and be active.  
So far my typical teaching day looks a little like this.  I teach a first period class, what class it is depends on what day of the week it is.  Then I have two hours to plan or check my email or read up on the most current sporting news.  If I am on top of my game I can use this time to relax a little more.  Then at 11 I teach the first part of my English class.  Then we have lunch.  I have enjoyed my time at lunch because the kids don’t mind me eating with them.  They all really want to get to know me.  In fact in my seventh grade Latin Am. History class I was asking them what they wanted to know for the class and one of the kids said they wanted to know about me.  Pretty sure they were just trying to get out of doing class work.  After lunch I teach the second part of my English class.  Then I teach my Latin American History class.  By this time the seventh graders are ready to be doing almost anything but sit around in their seats.  High School PE, my last class, is all the way back up the hill.  The school is built on a hill and is separated by grades.  Middle schoolers are all the way down the hill.  This hill is ridiculous and most of the middle schoolers struggle to walk it every day.  I am starting to get used to it, but it’s still not fun.  My high schoolers seem to appreciate the fact that I have to
 walk up from the middle school building because it gives them extra time to dress out.  That is my teaching schedule as best as I can give it right now.  My middle schoolers are adorable and I am very glad that I came down to Guatemala to teach.  I think my favorite thing about teaching so far is getting to know my students.  I have assigned a couple of projects where my students have to tell a little bit about themselves.  They are all so unique.  My favorite assignment so far was my biography assignment I gave to my sixth graders.  Most of them wrote the most caring things about their moms, some wrote about their best friend, but each assignment was just so cute.  Not all of them were done correctly, but cute none the less.  Reading over them really made my day.  I was sitting in my little office/storage room listening to Darrell Evens and grading the assignments and the song “I am so in love with you” came on.  Darrell really captured the way I was feeling right then.  God has me where I need to be and I am really grateful for that.  Besides learning how to teach and keeping up with all of my sports teams I have been keeping myself busy by hanging out with the other teachers.  I am now a regular at the gym.  I hope to be back in tip top shape as soon as possible.  On Friday night I went out with a group of teachers to celebrate Becky’s, a fellow middle school teacher, birthday.  We made our way around town and some how ended up at a dance club.  At the dance club I made a fool of myself.  But I had a very good time anyway, plus I had to dance off all of the tres leche. 
Yesterday was the fantasy football draft day for the league I joined. I have fundamental  problems with fantasy football.  I don’t like how it forces people to cheer against their own team.  Like when the Broncos play the Raiders on Monday night football here in a couple of weeks I am going to be forced to hope that both McFadden and Fargus have good games because I drafted them onto my team.  I really just took both of them because I didn’t want anyone else to have them, but now I have to root for the Raiders.  Dad you can disown me.  Maybe I’ll just trade them so I can feel okay about myself.  The only reason why I am playing fantasy football is to fit in.  Okay I know that sounds bad, but I am in another country and well I want to be able to do things with my friends down here.  My team is mostly made up of Broncos.  I am a homer and I know it, but I couldn’t not pick Brandon Marshal and Jay Cutler and Eddie Royal and Andre Hall.  My team is going to be sick.  After the we completed the draft (it only took 2 hours) we all went to the soccer game.  I didn’t get lost this time, but I almost got stuck in the rain with out my rain jacket.  Fortunately it stopped raining right as we were leaving for the stadium.

The game was very boring.  In the first half the forwards were not running creative roots and their touches were lackluster.  But in the second half, while I was using the restroom the Super Chivos (Xelaju’s soccer team) got a penalty kick.  I made it back down to my seat just in time to see the goal.  I jumped onto the fence with every-other crazed soccer fan and screamed my guts out.  This was repeated when they scored their second goal and repeated again when we thought they scored their third goal.  I still don’t like soccer, but I had fun with all of my friends at the game.  I do have to say that I still don’t think anything beats a good CU football game.  I am sure going to miss singing the fight song with all of my friends in Folsom Field.
Things that I didn’t mention from this week; Chinese food, Montazoma’s revenge, farting in class, and the decision never to have Chinese food again.  I have eaten out on the street a lot and in a coming blog I will write about all the great food I have had.  I am waiting until the fair when I get to try all kinds of cool food.  I also used a Brian Regan sketch explain the I before E rule.  Which goes something like this I before E except after c and and when sounding like a as in neighbor and weigh and on weekends and holidays and all throughout may and you’ll be wrong no matter what you say!  They also know their plurals.  They now know that the plural form of box is boxen.  I think I might start to write more often so the blog doesn’t end up being so long.  Again, I am working on putting up pictures.  I have been busy teaching so give me a break.  Also, I would like to thank all of you for the prayers and emails.  I am grateful to have you guys in my life.
I just added a few pictures.  The top one is the middle school building I teach in and the other one is at the soccer game.

One thought on “First Week Teaching

  1. Okay, so there’s too much there to comment on much. Hmm. Love the voice that is developing in your writing. I think this is the first time I have heard it and I really enjoy it. It’s a good, strong baritone with a sense of humor. Great blog.I will comment on two things.1. I told you so!2. The Raiders: I will not disown you. To forgive is divine. But there are natural consequences to such horrible actions. Unless you repent and trade your Raider players, I’ll sell all of your stuff and put it in savings so I can pay for therapy for you when you get home.

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