As I sit in this eighth grade class and watch the teacher, I can’t help but picture myself in their place. The small little interactions and the seemingly simple advice to students make me think of my future. The more I see this particular class, the more it makes me reflect on my middle school years as well and how they were enhanced by the teachers.
I have been planning on leading a chapter discussion with the students on a current book they were reading, but due to scheduling mishaps, that idea didn’t quite happen. However, even though I didn’t get to lead a discussion, it gave me insight on what goes into leading a thought-provoking one. Such as, having basic questions for students to regather what they read so they can contribute. Questions shouldn’t be solely based on plot, but also on theme and meaning behind the writing. Discussing a book should be about learning how to interpret the words on paper into your own words in your mind.
I will definitely be ready for the next discussion they have, but for now I help the students with a different project. They are working on making short stories with the use of pictures, like a comic book. I go around and ask them questions such as “Do the pictures and the texts support each other?” “Do the people you draw show the full emotion of what is being said?” Things like these are meant to stir the students minds into being more critical in their work. I really appreciate eighth grade because they are at the stage where they are truly starting to appreciate the work that they complete.
My next step in my journey is going into lower school, specifically in fifth and fourth grade. I see a difference between the middle school curriculum and the lower school where the fourth and fifth graders are learning reading skills, hand writing skills and spelling/vocabulary. This is what I am after as far as material, but at a more basic level. I have to start somewhere, so this will be interesting to see. I remember sixth grade being apprehensive about what they do in the classroom and I wonder if that’s what I’ll see in fourth and fifth grade. I wonder if there will be a different kind of liveliness there because in fifth grade, they’re at the top of lower school.