I was not very nervous because I work summer camp and we go on weekly field trips. I am in charge of the seven and eight year olds and I am used to the responsibilities that come with a field trip, such as medicine, head counting, and keeping the entire group together. I felt like my experience at camp would help me during my first experience with 8th graders on a field trip. I was wrong; 8th graders are different from eight year olds.
The bus ride was an experience in itself. It as sort of funny when my CT was taking role; when he gave the bus driver the head count, including teachers, he said the number of students and three adults, including me. The bus driver questioned my CT and looked at me and my CT laughed, along with the 8th graders who were sitting toward the front of the bus. They would constantly tell me that I look like I am in middle school because I am short; many of them are much taller than me. I was also able to hang out and talk to the students about their everyday lives. We talked about a basketball tournament and the anticipation of soccer season. It was great listening to the students talk about something that they are passionate about.
While at the field trip, I had difficulty with managing the students. Because not all of them have seen me in my CT's classroom, they did not respect me as much as the students who are familiar with me. Two students in particular did not listen to me when I asked them to stop climbing on something, even after I repeatedly asked them to stop. Then another teacher walked over to them and asked them to stop; I did not want to believe that. That was a little stressful because I thought that I deserved a little bit of respect from them. I learned that establishing a teacher-student relationship is important if you, as a teacher, want to be able to manage a group of students.
Today was also my last day at this practicum. Although I am ecstatic to be wrapping my last semester of course work, I was sad to leave the school and the students that I have worked with. These students have no idea what they have taught me. This was my first experience in working with 8th graders and I was a little bit nervous about it at first, especially since this is the second semester of their last year in middle school. It was obvious that many of them were more than ready to start high school next fall, and that meant that sometimes they got a little out of hand in class. There would be sudden outbreaks of chatter or several distractions, but I learned, from my CT, how to get them to focus on their learning. It was a wonderful experience and I have acquired so many lessons that I will apply throughout my teaching career.