My Middle School Practicum Experience

As I mentioned last week, I spent the past 4 weeks in a 6th grade classroom for my first practicum rotation. Honestly, going into it, I didn’t expect to get much out of it. I pretty much had my heart set on teaching high school. But now, I’m not sure that’s entirely the case. I think I would still prefer to teach high school, but I’m far less opposed to teaching middle school than I was.

I want to use today’s blog post to tell you about experiences I had with my 6th graders, both good and bad. I genuinely loved my class, and I hope they learned half as much from me as I did from them. So, in no particular order, here are some things that happened in these 4 weeks with 6th graders:

  • Not 1 but 2 fire drills
  • Student: “How did salt get in the ocean?”
    Teacher: “It’s always been there.”
    Student: “Oh. I thought the FBI dumped salt in the ocean and the waves mixed it up.”
  • Had a student ask if they got out of school on Patriot Day (9/11) (That made me feel old)
  • Had a student tell me that he spent all weekend watching stuff about Minecraft
  • Some students were arguing that Fortnite was the best game ever
  • Had a student ask the teacher’s aide in my 4th period class what her last name was
  • Student: “I’m going to move to Canada to get free welfare and become a logger!” (I think he meant free health care but unclear)
  • Same student: “Is Communism a form of dictatorship?”
  • Teacher: “Where’s your brother?” (He wasn’t in the classroom at the time)
    Student: “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”
  • So many students asking me to get a pencil, use the bathroom, or go see the nurse
  • Students that never bothered to learn my name (I knew all of their names of course, but they couldn’t learn mine)
  • Student: “I’m not a very good walker.” (See him running down the hallway a few days later)
  • I had lunch with a group of teachers one day. Yes, they do talk about students in case you were curious.
  • Got to read a test to a student with an IEP
  • Got asked if I was the sub (usually if I was helping my teacher out for the class after my two classes)
  • Taught a full lesson for the first time to actual students
  • In the lesson I taught, I had them do a worksheet about their own culture, including music. I had one student ask me how to spell Eminem (like the rapper, as he said), and another student ask if they could include songs that have cuss words in the title
  • Had a student who would mess with the other students. When I called him out, he said, “I’m not doing anything.” (I had watched him do it).
  • I told this same student to keep his hands and feet to himself, and not even two seconds later, he was reaching and messing with the Chromebook of the student next to him.
  • Had a student call me Mom and mean it
  • One day, a student wanted to do some work for the class, but then the teacher said that we were moving on. This student got frustrated the whole rest of the class and did not want to do any work. I spent almost the entire 50 minutes working with her, and we barely got anything done. The kicker? She complained about her grade being bad in the class
  • Two students got caught emailing each other in class, so my teacher confiscated their Chromebooks. She then spent the rest of class writing referrals, leaving me to teach the class.
  • Got asked to change seating arrangements (By students, not the teacher)
  • Students asked for lots of spelling help
  • Student told me she liked the pins on my backpack
  • Listened to Disney music in class

I’m sure there is more I’m probably forgetting. All in all, it was an incredible experience. I am so fortunate to have been with this group of 6th graders. They were smart, funny, challenging, and enjoyable. I’m eager to see where my high school rotation takes me in a few weeks! Who knows, maybe I’ll end up teaching middle school someday!

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