Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Mr. Ruggles' First Day

Yesterday began an adventure I was never quite sure I wanted to undertake…having a student teacher. I am not sure what my trepidations were or still are, but there is something about letting someone else into your classroom and take over your kids that leaves me with some fear and nervous excitement. On one hand, these are your kids, the student teacher will see all the mistakes you make, and he/she might even judge you- you are totally exposed to all his past learning from college- you might not do things like you are supposed to be doing them! On the other hand, there is a responsibility with teaching that is unannounced that teachers can help create other teachers through their example and this is one way of giving back to the profession. It is almost of a professional responsibility to continue the legacy of teaching by helping others enter the profession whether these be students or teachers. And, I have always opened my classroom to others, why would this be different now?

Last year, Kristin Leclaire and I were asked if we would like a student teacher and that this particular candidate wanted to come to AHS to teach. He actually picked out the school and rallied hard for being able to teach here (he especially wanted to be at a school with Karl Fisch- who wouldn’t?). So, how could we say “NO.” Then, as fate would have it, Kristin and I were presenting at NCTE with Karl, and Randon Ruggles, student teacher extraordinaire, informed us that he would be attending as well. Well, needless to say, Kristin and I were so glad to have met him early on before his teaching began, had him over for New Year’s Eve so he could get to know us, and now are watching him come into his own with teaching. Randon even posted an initial blog post to the classes he is taking over in order to get to know the students (period 4 and period 6).

Yesterday as I was watching him deliver his first lesson, it brought me back to many of the reasons why I love teaching: the enthusiasm, engagement of the kids, watching kids discuss and learn, and push themselves with creative assignments. Randon, or should I say Mr. Ruggles, did an exemplary job on his first outing. He created a fabulous lesson with the kids being investigators of objects that answered questions they had previously asked of Randon on the blog. The objects in each bag that was given to a group had a common theme. The group had to investigate the objects, and figure out what they had to do with Randon. The students were immediately engaged by the activity as well as the initial video he showed about himself. What a great way to bridge the gap between being a student teacher and becoming their teacher. He also connected the investigation piece to their initial look into writing the position paper. They are investigators using facts to support an answer to a position they want to prove.
Watching him was like watching someone who truly was made to be a teacher. Instead of teaching being a job, his passion and enthusiasm for learning were infectious and became what the class was really about: learning. I am so glad I am starting this journey with Mr. Ruggles and Kristin. What a blessing for the new year. I really hope moving forward I can be the mentor Randon needs me to be and this experience of being here at AHS will be all he can imagine.
As a side note, the class he took over yesterday was so cute. A group of boys arrived early to class and immediately wanted to know where Mr. Ruggles was. I told them that he was coming and they had to be patient. When he arrived, the created an assembly line of high fives for his entrance into the classroom. What a great welcome on a first day!

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