Week 2 of Teaching


Here are my reflections from Week 2. Can't believe I only have 4 days of teaching left.
Click here to read Week 1 reflections. 
These past 2 weeks have flown by!

Day 5 of teaching: Well, first of all, I told Bill Griesar (who directs the whole NW Noggin Program & is one of my professors at PSU) that I almost got struck by lightning last week & that I also saw the BOOK OF MORMON musical recently. He knows all the words to some of the songs! We ended up singing some of them together. It was hilarious! Then he said I almost got struck by lightning probably because I like that musical. Haha… possibly.

So, onto the teaching part! Today was quite a struggle with the kids. They were all super tired & very disrespectful at points. So, I decided to take them outside to get some fresh air (it was also super stuffy in that classroom). I had them line up & demonstrate different parts of a neuron (dendrites, soma, nucleus, axon, myelin sheath, & terminal branches). I had them use a stick that they passed along, which was in representation of a neurotransmitter.

Back in class they were being really rowdy & didn’t want to participate. I felt like I was pulling teeth at times!

Then I went over Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs & I asked how many students had breakfast this morning. Only ½ raised their hands. Aha, there was the problem; they needed their physiological needs (1st level in the pyramid) met in order to concentrate. So, I went over this!

Then I read a quote from “The Fault In Our Stars” that actually challenges this theory. Hazel, who has lung cancer says: “According to Maslow, I was stuck on the second level of the pyramid, unable to feel secure in my health and therefore unable to reach for love and respect and art and whatever else, which is, utter horseshit: The urge to make art or contemplate philosophy does not go away when you are sick. Those urges just become transfigured by illness.
Maslow's pyramid seemed to imply I was less human than other people, and most people seemed to agree with him.”

I think this was the highlight of my day if I were to pick one. Them realizing certain needs have to be met in order to succeed in life. While it was super challenging today, I’m really proud of myself for enduring & for staying disgustingly positive. I feel like Unikitty from the Lego Movie. Haha!

Jeff's creepy clown cup.
Day 6 of teaching: How are we already halfway through the program? It is flying by! 
Today went so much better. Gavin and I listened and applied Myriah's suggestions to our lesson. We showed the vocab on the doc cam before jumping into the powerpoint. Today I also made sure to call out everyone by name. I have them down, which is something I am really proud of!  Everyday it is getting easier being up there. I've gained so much confidence through this program. 
The kids were way more engaged than they were yesterday. Another thing that helped was that when Gavin started talking, I sat down with the kids instead of standing up at the front. I also asked that Christina and Emma (our teacher aids) sit at the tables with the kids to model good behavior and I think this helped out a lot in comparison to yesterday.
Another great thing about today was that we had them turn and talk to each other throughout the powerpoint and then share with the class as a whole.  
Rebecca was in our room today and it was really great because she added a lot of information in our lessons. The kids were really engaged. One kid who doesn't always participated asked Rebecca a bunch of great questions. 
We were told today to be more engaging, so Gavin and I are definitely going to work on that. I think tomorrow will be more engaging just because we have a lot of different activities planned. I will definitely be more theatrical when speaking to get their attention. 
I always love talking one on one with the kids. I can definitely connect with them that way, it's just connecting with them as a whole class that can be challenging.
I'm optimistic for tomorrow! I'm excited that they have read "Rat Park."

One of the kids wrote this for Tuesday's art project. Made me chuckle!

Day 7 of teaching: It's crazy how one day (yesterday) your class can be totally great and the next day well... it doesn't go so well.

I can't believe tomorrow is already the end of Week 2! Only 5 more days of teaching.

Today we did the rubber hand illusion and talked about emotions vs. feelings and perception and how to make the best out of high school.

So, honestly today was actually kind of rough. The kids were super rowdy. I tried Kerry's method of having them stand up at one point and shaking out their energy. Ha! That went well. Some wouldn't even stand out of their seats and once everyone did sit back down the ones that refused to get up were now standing. I was slightly loosing it, but I stayed uber positive and energetic and I think that's why I was so burnt out by the end. I felt like I'd been attacked by a swarm of dementors, feasting on my soul. Ok, I realize that's rather dramatic, but, um, yeah, that's how teaching high school feels sometimes.

Some positives. Today when talking about the amygdala, I slammed my hands down on a desk, scared the crap out of the class, and then asked them what part of their brain were activated. Haha, that was pretty fun, but my palms stung/throbbed afterwards, which is fine because 1) it was priceless and 2) they learned what the amygdala is responsible for.

Another thing that went great was that while the class discussed amongst themselves about a thing in their life in which they don't have control over I went to the very back of the room to talk with this kid we call Pinneapple (who has been goofing off lately, so that's why he was there alone). He was very quiet, which was unlike him, so I sat down with him and asked him:" What is something in your life that you don't have control over and really bothers you?"
He responded with "school."
I agreed with him and then we got into a conversation about my high school experience and how I went through 7 different back procedures. I told him how I hated high school and my life because I always came across as grumpy or uninterested in people when really I was just in a lot of pain or drugged. I talked about how I hated being judged, but then realized that I had been doing the same to people. We talked about my wake-up call at 16 and how everyone is fighting a battle in his or her life and how you have to cut people slack. We also discussed about looking at the big picture. I told him that all my back pain stuff happened over 5 years, which is 22% of my life, but the longer I live the smaller that number will get. I told him that while 4 years of high school is going to seem like forever in the moment, it will just be a small part in his life, but that he still needs to use the best of it. He was smiling and then offered some ideas as to how he could make the best of high school.

We had a great talk and that was the highlight of my day; It's something I'll never forget. I love sitting down one-on-one with these kids. I care about every single one of them and want them to succeed. So, even though today was rough and I felt like my soul had been attacked by dementors, I'm still alive and looking forward to tomorrow because conversations like this are so worth it.

There is always so much litter on my walk to Madison High School, which is down 82nd Avenue. This doesn't make me sad, but rather determined. After I'm done teaching, I'm heading back out to 82nd Ave. w/my trash picker upper thingy & will clean the streets. Anyhow, long story short, I was trekking through many puddles this morning in my TOMS & found this gorgeous leaf & I'm just glad that at the end of the day I remembered this one beautiful leaf rather than dwelled on the street swamped w/trash. :)

Day 8 of teaching: Week 2 is over! This is crazy. I can't believe how fast it has gone by. 
Today we taught the kids about neural plasticity. It was a little different, different in a good way, though! I liked (and I'm sure that the rest of the kids liked) that we did more discussions/activities than lecturing today, which was something that happened yesterday and probably the reason why yesterday went so poorly as far as getting their attention. Also, I think they enjoyed the quirkiness of the powerpoint. I'm so glad we went over the powerpoint and activities the day before. I think we should do this more often. They were definitely listening and cracking up more today. 
Although there were definitely some challenges for this week, I think it went much better than last week because Gavin and I have found a good flow in the classroom, even Rebecca commented on this, which was definitely nice to hear. Since we are building relationships with the kids and getting to know them better, we know how and when to direct the conversation and when to switch gears when something is not running as smoothly.
Out of all the activities, they seemed more engaged with Activity 3, which actually surprised me because it involved listing off ways to make one's brain healthier compared to just talking about what they were good at and why they are good at it in Activity 2. I think as a teen introspection is very difficult. 
However, the thing that surprised me the most about today was when Gavin and I kind of went off on a tangent about Synesthesia and showed a video and then at the end of the youtube clip I told the class that I am a synesthete. I associate colors with numbers. I told them that 0 has no color, 1 is white, 2 is blue, 3 is lime green, 4 is pink, 5 is scarlet, 6 is brown, 7 is mustard yellow, 8 is purple, and 9 is black. They were so interested in this! Then they wanted to quiz me to see if this was true or if I was just making it up. I think this was the highlight of my day!
I'm really excited about the primate exhibit next week!

Super intense poster in one of the science class rooms... 
Blog to you later! 


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