Practicum (Fall 2011) – Days 3 and 4

So, I have had interesting experiences at my field placement lately. Both last time and this time, I witnessed events that have made me very angry. Last time, the students did an exercise that involved them elaborating on what made them unique, and a female student said that she practices witchcraft and can even astral project; she said that there is nothing like leaving your body at night and seeing it lying in bed. Afterward, a science teacher came into the classroom during my Host Teacher’s planning period and gossiped with my Host Teacher’s aid. The aid told the science teacher about what the female student said, and they both proceeded to agree that the female student is “nuts,” which just enrages me. What sorry excuse of a teacher refers to a student in such a negative way? I don’t even need the two Psychology courses that I’ve taken to know a bit about how children operate; either she really does believe that she has such an ability, in which case a teacher should respect the student’s beliefs, or she has recently witnessed/been victim to something traumatic and is masking it with fantasy, but we are not to refer to our students as “nuts” either way. We are to respect our students as we would expect them to respect us.

Last time, I was there for the whole day, which was not beneficial at all except to get observation hours. I witnessed the same lesson over and over again and felt very bored most of the time, except when the Host Teacher had me grade tests. I feel very silenced, because I don’t feel like I have the right to say something when something happens that I don’t like, such as what the teachers were talking about, and also on that day, I heard a student drop “my f-bomb,” mine because I am not referring to “the f-bomb” that most would automatically consider when they hear that term; I am talking about “the-fomb” that I can’t say let alone write, the one used to refer to gay males. I heard a student use this word, and either no one other than me heard it or someone did and didn’t care to say anything, and it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if it were the latter because the student teacher uses the dreaded “r-word” that he should know better than to use; we were both in a class together last year that stressed the avoidance of that word in any context. “That’s so retarded,” for example, is not acceptable, which is how he used it when I heard him use it. Practicum experiences have definitely taught me that there are a lot of ignorant teachers, and it’s unfortunate because that will reflect from generation to generation; ignorant teachers create ignorant teachers.

Today, something somewhat similar happened, except it was even worse because it was encouraged. I was only there for a half-day, something for which I am grateful because the student teacher adminstered a pre-test to all of the classes, which took most of the period. Being there as long as I was was really boring, so I can’t even imagine sitting through that all day. During third period, which is a study hall, a couple of students were discussing matters with the student teacher, and they brought up a male student that they know that apparently shaves his legs, and one of them said that dudes don’t shave their legs because “shaving your legs is gay,” and the student teacher did not tell him that that was inappropriate; he agreed and then merely carried on the conversation, saying that males should only shave their legs if they are swimmers. This isn’t right, and he’s really lucky that I wasn’t an evalutator observing him while that happened. We cannot tolerate that kind of talk in our classrooms; not only did that statement put that particular student down, it put gay people down, and students need to be taught that that is utterly unacceptable, not encouraged. You hear so many people, especially teachers, say that “children are our future,” but they do little to show that that that is something that they actually believe, which is why I say that ignorant teachers create ignorant teachers, and ignorant people in general, for that matter. Even if we’re not teachers, we affect other people, and if we are narrow-minded and unaccepting of people and their differences, that will “rub off” on others. Well, I suppose I will end my angry rant there; I’ll be writing again soon, I’m sure, since, as far as I know, I will be there again on Wednesday. In case I haven’t said, the Host Teacher would like me back as a student teacher next semester, and I would really like that.

About the Author

Hey, I'm Christopher. I am currently a graduate student in the SUNY Oswego English program, and I am also a Desk Attendant in Sheldon Hall (where I am also living). I graduated with two degrees in May 2012 - English and Adolescence Education with a Concentration in English. I substitute-taught in Rome City School District fall 2012 and then came back to school in January 2013 in order to obtain a masters degree in English, which I plan to obtain in May 2014. I love to read, and I love TV shows, especially science-fiction and fantasy.
Email: ccook@oswego.edu
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