PB&J

What does a creamed-nut, sugar-induced fruit paste, and puffed-wheat square have to do with this blog post? Everything. Well, almost.

This week I was given the opportunity to introduce the “How To” Speech. There are two sections of this course that I have been “co-teaching” with Mr. Menghini (my cooperating teacher.) He usually models instruction during the first section and then tosses the reigns on my shoulders for the second section. This method has been extremely helpful, encouraging, and successful for me. On this given Tuesday, Mr. Menghini was unable to be in the classroom due to proctoring the NESA writing assessment. Needless to say, I was lucky that I missed the “proctoring” opportunity….which consists of reading bold lettered instructions to a group of Juniors then allowing them to tackle a persuasive essay…for 90 minutes…four times in a day.

Anyways, the classroom….

The class began with a prompt addressing the school dress code and whether or not it should be kept, eliminated, or modified. The opinions and debate were bountiful but professional. The students have so much passion within their arguments and beliefs. Overall, they believe that the freedom of expression is allowed throughout their current dress code but they do not appreciate being “targeted.”

Anyways, the speech….

Students were given an instructional handout to guide their topic selection and preparation. The “How To” Speech encourages the students to demonstrate something they are interested in or proficient at. Students can arrange to present the speech in a conducive facility as well as provide materials for the purpose of the speech. The purpose of this speech is to emphasize the importance of step-by-step instructions.

Anyways, sandwiches….

I decided to demonstrate the importance of instructions. I gave the students three minutes to write down step-by-step instructions on “how to make a PB&J.” Three minutes later, I pulled out the ingredients for a PB&J and called upon a random student to read their instructions “WORD FOR WORD.” The demonstration went a little something like this:

Student: “Take out two pieces of bread.”

Miss Busch: Rips open bag (does not use zip tie) and takes out two pieces of bread.

Students: “NO NOT LIKE THAT!”

Miss Busch: “That’s not what ┬áthe instructions specified…next step?”

Student: “Open jar of peanut butter”

Miss Busch: “How?”

Student: “Twist the cap off the jar of peanut butter to open it.”

Miss Busch: “Oh, okay, now I understand…”

Student: “Put peanut butter on one slice of bread.”

Miss Busch: Places peanut butter jar on piece of bread.

Students: “NOOOOOO, use the butter knife!”

Miss Busch: “Oh, the knife? You didn’t say the knife…”

A few steps later….

Student: “Use the butter knife to get the jelly out of the jar and put on bread.”

Miss Busch: “Okay…”

Student: “Now spread the jelly on the other piece of bread.”

Miss Busch: Uses jelly jar as a rolling pin to spread jelly on bread.

Students: “NOOO! WITH THE KNIFE!”

Instructional demonstration = successful…and entertaining…to Miss Busch at least.

After this messy and marvelous demonstration, the students began brainstorming topic ideas for their speeches. They used the remainder of class time to practice writing step-by-step instructions demonstrating their activity.

I used the remainder of class time to prompt and help the students….and also relish in my personal enjoyment from the flawed PB&J that occupied a desk in the front of the room.

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A lesson “in love”

The old saying goes “you know when you know,” but until about two weeks ago…I did not “know.” I did not know that it was possible to become completely engulfed in something, to drown in passion with no worries of breathing again, to devote every ounce of joy and motivation into one thing…teaching.

For the past five years, I have spent my life reading and writing and jumping through the hoops of the college circus show. It was not until I began my student-teaching at Scottsbluff High School that I realized all those acrobatic feats were a mere pregame to my big-time show; the classroom. I have learned more the past two weeks than I could have ever fathomed, I have grown more in the past two weeks than I could have ever measured, and I fallen in love the past two weeks harder and faster than Romeo for Juliet. I have found my life-long “lesson” in love; to educate, to develop, to guide.

My main goal when I began student-teaching was to survive. I now realize that this was a mistake, and that realization put “mistake” into perspective for me…I have always lived for mistakes; making them, learning from them, and fixing them. I am not a perfect human being. I accept this and I share this; the first thing I let my students know was “Miss Busch makes mistakes…” and that I do well. What else do I do well? I learn, I develop, I fix, and I persevere until that mistake is a vague memory. I encourage my students to make a mess of mistakes, to live vicariously through stumbles and falls, but to always reflect and re-frame.

Teaching is a profession not many can say rattles their bones with excitement and reward. It is a profession in which the work doesn’t begin and end between 7-4. It is a profession in which you have children that aren’t yours. It is a profession in which learning is never-ending. It is a profession in which you fall; you fall into love, you fall into mistakes, you fall into growth, but most all you fall into lessons.

I have always believed in fate, I have always believed in “everything happens for a reason,” but I never believed in “you know when you know”…until now; another lesson in life.