Is It Too Much To Ask?

Friday. I should have been home early tonight, but I stayed after rehearsals to straightened desks, clean my room, and get things ready for Monday.

It's crazy, I know. But I'm a little nervous for Monday. I have a "J-termer" coming to my class.  He/She is a student from the college about 20 miles from where I live.  My alma mater.  They are freshmen (usually) and come in January to observe classrooms.  I received an e-mail last night from my J-termer that was so full of excitement and enthusiasm, I'm afraid the experience won't live up to his/her expectations.

You see, when I was a J-termer, my experience wasn't so great.  It should have been right up my alley. I was assigned to the only English teacher in a very small school. She taught 7th to 12th grade English--every student in the building.  I don't remember anything about it except sitting and sitting and sitting and sitting and ...

Well, you get the picture.

I know. "Student Observers". But I remember so well wanting to help.  Check papers. Make a bulletin boards. Read aloud. Talk to students (even then I wanted to connect). ANYTHING!

I got nothin'.  (I do believe they've changed the rules a little bit)

So, since I began teaching in this district and began having J-termers and student teachers, I try to make it the best experience I can.  (Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but I break a few "rules".)

I will let my J-termer check papers. I will encourage them to walk around the room and talk to kids. They can give directions for an assignment or teach a simple lesson. Heck, they can make a bulletin board if they want.

I just want them to remember it.

I want them to see a teacher who LOVES her job and her students.
I want them to see that the enthusiasm they feel now, doesn't have to wane towards the end of their career.
I want them to see teaching as a fabulous profession.

And, I want it to be honest.
They should see and hear the unenthused talk about their job.
They should hear kids talk about teachers.
They should hear from teachers who are in the building at 7:30 and those who don't leave until long after 4:00.
They should hear from the teachers who do both.

And, I want them to look back in 30 years and say, "That was a great experience."

Is that too much to ask?


  1. Deb, your student observer will have such a great experience! My best observing in college was our 3-week intro- my cooperating teacher let me see the fun and not-so-glamourous parts of teaching. So thankful for that experience!

  2. I am soooo jealous of your J-termer. You have no idea!

    Really- this consideration you are giving to his/her experience is what makes you so...well, so Chloe-worthy (I don't think there is higher praise than that).

  3. Just that you use previous experience to apply new ideas and new ways to do things is not a surprise. This visitor will become a better teacher in the future because you will start them on the way. How thoughtful of you. I would guess that lowly freshman don't get much of this in these early experiences.

  4. I love that list of "I wants" and "They shoulds" - I have a feeling that this Jtermer will leave your classroom enthralled with the teaching vocation - thank to you!

  5. I meant to say, of course, thanks to you...guess I need to clean off my glasses!

  6. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the prep work that makes all of what you do possible. Lucky J-Termer.

  7. If I were school age, I would want you as my teacher. Your honesty is inspiring and refreshing. Hurrah for breaking the rules!

  8. My first week long "J-term" experience was like yours. Sitting, sitting and more sitting. In fact, my butt went numb. I learned a lot - a lot about what not to do. Oh, well, there is always lessons to be learned in everything


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