Right now I am in the midst of beginning Fall Semester. It's a complicated one for me because I'm nearing the end of my BYU experience. While I am greatly excited to put my school days behind me, part of me is trying to figure out how I will possibly function in a life without classes everyday. I like learning. I like going to class. I don't know if I know enough to be a teacher, and I'm scared I'm going to end up wondering what I've gotten myself into by graduating. Anyway, aside from that I have a lot of interesting courses and next week I find out where I have my practicum experience (which is also where I will be doing my student teaching next semester...let's all join in a silent word of prayer and beg that it will be nearby and with a teacher I get along with). Anyway, all of the above really has nothing to do with what my post is about. I just had to include that as a preface so that you understand I am about to become a teacher and I'm taking a lot of classes that include field experience observing classrooms.
Yesterday I went with a friend of mine from my program to observe an 8th grade English class. The class was a general education room where special education students also attend. It was a reading day and so the class was going to spend all period reading a book of their choice. We went with them to the library so that they could have a few minutes to choose a book. Getting to the part that bothered me- the teachers were very...interesting. The teacher we were observing was there, along with a special education teacher, and a couple of others. While the students were picking out books, they proceeded to talk about them as if they weren't within earshot. They weren't exactly talking quietly, either. As if that wasn't bad enough, I found a lot of their comments inappropriate and borderline offensive. A lot of them were racially related. One teacher was complaining about her Hispanic students while one of them stood behind her trying to get her attention because she needed help. Then, when one of the special education students asked for help she didn't seem that interested in helping him. He'd picked out a book that wouldn't work for the assignment, but I think the poor kid just didn't know what to read. We've talked so much in my classes about pairing the right book with the right child so that they can learn to enjoy reading, but the teacher didn't really do that at all. Then, later when we got back to the classroom, he asked if he could call his mom and go home because he felt sick. It was so obvious that he was faking because he felt uncomfortable in the classroom. It really upset my friend and me. We vented all the way home about how appalled we were. I guess I always just picture teachers as wanting everyone to succeed and really trying to help everyone to succeed, and I didn't get that kind of impression from these teachers. It disappointed me.
On the bright side of things, my friend and I decided that we will be excellent teachers...even if it's only because we don't think and act the way those women did.