Yesterday afternoon I went to observe one of our students, who's doing her student teaching at a pretty rural high school located more or less half way between Lancaster (his Sparky) and Reading. What I saw was pretty scary.<br><br>First off, it was a "regular" 12th grade English class, so no accelerated or advanced placement students in the group. These were "average," run of the mill kids.<br><br>First thing I noticed: they're barely under control--and it wasn't because the student teacher was in charge, cause the regular teacher was sitting in the room as well and seemed to think that things were going as well as they could. Kids were getting up all the time, going out to the toilet or for a drink of water, eating stuff, drinking iced tea--constant activity, in other words, very little of it focused on the class as such.<br><br>Second thing I noticed: the arrangement of the classroom made it almost impossible for the students to pay attention to the teacher--again, not because it was the student teacher, but simply because the students were arranged four or five to a table, facing each other rather than the front of the room. I don't think it takes a genius to realize that if I'm seated across from somenoe, that's the person I'm going to be looking at and attending to. The teacher? Whozzat, anyway?<br><br>Third thing I noticed: the students had absolutely no sense at all of why they were in school, or that being in school meant that there were some expectations that they were supposed to meet. I know that sound kind of abstract, but here are examples of what I mean: One girl who every few minutes would say to the kid across from her something like "I always need help doing things," whitout any sense at all that what she was saying meant that she was kinda dumb; one boy who responded to an assignment to have a two (that's 2, dos, zwei)-page handwritten paper for the next class period by saying that he didn't know why he should do it because he had no intention of being an English teacher; another girl who said about that same assignment that she wasn't going to do it because she didn't need to pass this quarter in order to pass the course. Again, it wasn't a response to the student teacher cause towards the end of the class, while the kids were supposed to be doing work on their papers for the next day, the regular teacher came around, and talking about the work to the kid who didn't want to be an English teacher, finally said, "You know, Justin, you have to meet us half-way."<br><br>Final observation: not a single one of those kids seemed to think that there was anything like a half way that they were obliged to step up to. I mean, no one in that class seemed to think that there was any purpose at all for their being in school other than to check out who was humping whm--I did hear a lot about that at the table where I was sitting.<br><br>____________________________________________________<br>Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,<br>But to be young was very heaven!
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