I have enjoyed my student teaching experience this year so thoroughly I worry it's almost too good to be true. I was terrified of entering a 4th grade classroom, as my prior experience revolved around the world of naps and play-doh in Kindergarten and 1st grade. 4th grade was a wild, untamed beast in my mind yet I've not only survived but thrived, and I'm here to tell the tale.
I have developed a deeper understanding and bond with my 4th graders, learning their interests, what they like, don't like, their favorite subjects, least favorite subject, and classroom habits. I've been pleasantly surprised with how curious 4th graders are and their eagerness to learn is undeniable. It is so fun to teach them and watch them grow. They're like sponges, absorbing all the information I provide and applying it to their lives.
I could go on and on about how interesting the classroom dynamic is in 4th grade and how positively impressionable 9 and 10 year olds are, but I thought it would be interesting to attempt to describe what goes through one of my students' heads throughout the school day.
8am- arrive at school, immediately throw unopened backpack at locker and find friends to talk to.
8:30am-quickly unpack backpack as I'm being told to go to class and run to the Chromebook cart to grab mine (of course stopping on the way back to chat with anyone who will listen).
9am- start thinking about snack even though I've been in class for 30 minutes and I know it's not for another hour and a half. Doodle on whiteboard during math but also raise my hand to answer every question so I can talk.
10am- ask for snack even though I know it's not time.
10:30am- FINALLY SNACK TIME
11am to 12pm- a blur of math I like to call "pre-lunch and recess".
12pm-1pm: LUNCH AND RECESS WOOHOO
1pm-2pm: a blur of Language Arts I like to call "post-lunch and recess/pre-specials" time. Also I get to silent read which is mostly just silently looking at a book and looking around the classroom smiling at my friends.
2:15pm- SPECIALS (if it's not gym then never mind).
3pm- HOME (run out of class, high-fiving teacher on the way out).
Obviously this is an embellished, joking version of how I envision my students' thoughts throughout the school day. However, there are some days that this feels like reality. I've learned that you can't fault the child for being easily distracted because as intense as they pay attention when they're on task, they lose focus just the same. They range from full attentiveness to full inattentiveness in a matter of seconds, and that is simply a trait of young children regardless of intelligence, gender, age, etc. All children have the potential to be great and my job is to show my 4th graders and any other class I have in the future that they are capable of whatever they set their mind to, while it is inevitable that they will battle some obstacles along the way.