Monday at Rosedale Middle School was quite an adventure to say the least. I arrived at the school a little after 7:30 and to my shock all of the students were going through their morning “metals”, aka metal detectors. I have read about this in the news, but this is the first school I’ve been in that actually has them. I finally found my way around the place to Mr. Ziegler’s classroom to meet him for the first time. There wasn’t too much time to chat because the bell rang and students piled in for roll call, and then 1st period began shortly thereafter.
I spent the day observing the classroom and helping out with the lab that the students were working on. They are learning states of matter right now, and so we were looking at physical changes and chemical changes by mixing together ingredients like baking soda and vinegar. It was really interesting, but apparently not so much to them. All of them could barely hold their concentration more than 30 seconds before you had to remind them to do their work. I had only been there maybe 2 hours and was frustrated already. And some of his classes had over 30 students in there! It’s impossible to move around the room and see how all of the students are doing when they only have 45 minutes (actually I think it was 43)!
Mr. Ziegler and I had a chance to sit down and chat during the 3rd/4th periods because those are his planning periods. We talked a lot about the school systems and how they are set up, our schedule for the semester, and about the three lessons I will be teaching. Then the next classes came in, and we worked on labs until lunch. Walking the students to lunch was also interesting, most of them couldn’t seem to do it without back talking or banging on lockers all the way there. After lunch they have a 20 minute required reading period. I wasn’t so sure what I thought of this. Sure, it’s a great thing to get the kids to read, but when 3/4 of them are just fiddling with their pencils or books and not actually doing it, then it seems like they could be doing better things… Overall, I think I learned more today than I was expecting to.