A day in the life…
“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” –Og Mandino
When deciding on a student to follow, my CT suggested one and I sort of questioned why, since he seemed like a regular student that was a little like me in high school. My CT told me that this particular student was extremely participatory in his class and he wondered if he was like that in other classes or not. I started the notice that as well, and became sort of intrigued. The student I followed, Student X, started the day in my CT’s classroom with world history. He participated throughout the lecture, which is what my CT was doing that day. I noticed that he raised his hand often, even offering up answers when people were wrong. He sat in the back of the classroom and was particularly interested in talking to a girl that is sort of a “problem child” in my CT’s class. She is very talkative, has an attitude, and her mother attending the parent-teacher conference with some concerns. Student X laughed at her when she was making smart comments to my CT and was sort of whispering to her throughout class. It seemed odd that these two would be friends. Student X was also one of two students wearing a JV football jersey on this day, because they had a game that evening. He was asked when and where the game was after class and seemed pretty nonchalant in talking about it.
I should also mention that I did my shadowing on a shortened day, because parent-teacher conferences were that evening. It was also homecoming week so students were extra involved and off schedule a bit. This seemed to change the dynamic of the classes I shadowed. During English class, Student X’s teacher was discussing a Romeo and Juliet community theater play that all the 9th graders attended the day before. The teacher was very different than my CT, and I could conclude pretty fast that he was also the head of the theater department. He was very animated and seemed to have personal relationships with all of the students. Student X sat in the back of the class once again, this time by a fellow football player. He seemed rather antsy in his seat, moving around a lot, stretching, and raising his hand often. The class seemed a little more structured, and the teacher clearly stated that “no one talks without raining their hands”. This seemed to be a struggle for student X, and he was even reprimanded for yelling out the answers at one point, sort of laughing it off. I also noticed some immaturity among the students when talking about the play, particularly for student X. Words like raunchy, slut, etc came up when discussing Romeo and Juliet and every time student X would laugh or hit his friends to comment. Overall, school seemed to be a place of comfort for student X and he seemed very confident in his own opinions, especially for a ninth grader. His antsy-ness made it seem as if he was a little bored by the level he was in, or maybe it was just the particular day (football game, shortened periods, etc.)
Health and PE was also a little different, because the students did not “dress out” today. I could tell that there was a mixture of emotions among the students about this depending on whether they thought it was a hassle or not. Student X didn’t seem to really have an opinion, but he did get antsy when they sat in the gym and completed worksheets on the next unit they would be doing. He once again set with football players and I noticed that the same girl from my CT’s classroom was sort of flirting with this group of football players, making it more obvious why his attention was on her earlier in the day.
As student X moved to earth science class, I noticed that he talked to his friends and then went and sat at the front of the room. It seemed very clear that this teacher had a seating chart, because a lot of students I noticed that were friends from my CT’s classes were scattered throughout the room. The earth science teacher announced that they would be taking notes and doing a lecture today because “they have to have note days so that they can spend most days working in labs”. Student X immediately commented that all my CT’s class does is takes notes and they’re really boring. However, it seems that the students were much more engaged in this class, being handed packets with the notes, filling in answers, and raising their hands. Once again, my student often shouted the answers and kept moving his head up and down off the desk. The teacher brought up sports and the Colorado Rockies when discussing air/wind pressure and the students immediately were interested.
Overall, student X seemed to be very atypical for ninth grade in some ways and not so much in others. He was very hyper, seemed popular with the other students, and was not particularly shy. However, the amount of participation and interest in each subject matter gave me the impression that school was a comfortable place for the student and he felt a sense of responsibility for his schooling. It seemed that he gave most subjects equal importance, but did have opinions on different teaching styles. His relationships with other teachers seemed fairly positive, and my CT liked him in particular. Other students seemed to like him as well. Overall, this student seemed to be embracing high school and it would have been interesting to see him throughout the years.