A photo of the railroad tracks from October 2007
I cross the railroad tracks fifteen miles southwest of our house. Then I pass the bar, the hardware store, the bank, the post office and the library on my drive to school each morning. There's not much else to see in the one stop-light town. Newly installed city water may induce fast food restaurants to build, but for now the only chain store is a Dollar General on the other side of town.
The high school, middle school and daycare share the same one-story brick building. It's the first school in Michigan to install a corn-burning heater. The venture is appropriate for the rural, farming community, where one of the three newspaper-type periodicals in the school library is Michigan Farm News.
My host teacher is a veteran English teacher. She spent the past ten years in the middle school. This year she was moved to high school again and assigned as advisor of the yearbook. She teaches one section of tenth grade English (American Literature), and three sections of eleventh grade English (British LIterature). Most of her classes are small, between seventeen and twenty students. Along with English classes and yearbook, I will be teaching one section of eighth grade math with another teacher. The middle school class is larger, thirty-one, and full of energetic students.
The entire staff at the school, from the principal to the secretaries to the teachers, has made me feel welcome. When they see me in the hall they stop to introduce themselves. I met the Industrial Technology teacher the other day in the office. We went to Sunday School together when we were kids. The long-term substitute teacher in the math class across the hall is a graduate of SVSU. She recognized me because we had a math class together. Another teacher picked blueberries at the farm this summer.
Everyone asks me how student teaching is going--so far it's going well. This week I've mostly observed, though I've also taken roll, handed out tests and reviewed homework. I'm preparing an English unit on Frankenstein, which I will begin teaching in a week or two after the eleventh grade students complete their midterm exams. Next week I will begin teaching a section of math.