Monday, September 11, 2006


The fall semester started on Saturday with class #3 in the program - the methods class for teaching English. I'm there from 8:30am-11:15am (meaning I leave the house at 7:30am and should be home by noon; we actually got out at 10:45am for the first class). Solely based on the first class and the syllabus, I think this is going to be a great class, on par with class #1. Since this is the methods class, everyone is teaching or will be teaching middle school or high school English. There are only 12 people in the class, with a mixture of already teaching and not teaching. Quite a few are first year teachers who just started teaching a couple of weeks ago when the new school year began. I'm not the oldest person in the class, probably somewhere in the middle. One of the first activities we had to do was "share in pairs" with a partner to talk about our best and worst experiences in school. For the best, I talked about my sixth grade class, which was 1983-84. The girl I was sharing with was born in 1983. There's also a girl from class #1 in this class, so there was one familiar face.

As a class, we'll be reading The Contender by Robert Lipsyte (which I've never read) and creating an entire unit on it. Then, on our own, we have to read one book from a predetermined list and we will be creating similar unit lessons for that book as the main project in the class. I can't decide if I should play it safe and choose a novel I've already read, such as To Kill a Mockingbird or The Great Gatsby, or stretch myself and pick a book I haven't read yet so I will get more out of the class and check off another book on my reading list. I'm leaning toward Olive Ann Burns' Cold Sassy Tree, which I have a used copy of that I found at the library book sale but haven't had time to read yet. I'd like to read a book I already have a copy of, so other potential titles include Lois Lowery's The Giver, Steinbeck's The Red Pony (which I only read once in sixth or seventh grade) and a couple of others I can't think of off the top of my head. Any suggestions? Everyone in the class has to make copies of the final lessons/unit to give to the rest of the class and I'm guessing very few would choose Cold Sassy Tree and half the class could end up choosing To Kill a Mockingbird.

PS - One thing on my list of useless things to worry about: the desks and chairs in the classroom. For class #1, we sat in all-in-one desk chairs. I was afraid that if we had them again, my ever-expanding belly wouldn't fit in the chair and I'd have to sit sideways the whole time. Luckily, we're seated at tables with very comfy adjustable, padded desk chairs.