Feeling More at Home

Paul Franzowiak, Menomonee Falls, Wi., is a Secondary Education Major with an emphasis in Mathematics. After tutoring friends in math, he was inspired to become a teacher. He will have a full 18 week placement at Maplewood Middle School in Menasha.  

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve really been enjoying my time at my placement so far. The first week was kind of crazy meeting all of the students and staff, while trying to get used to the being in a classroom full time. After two full weeks of being there, I have about 95% of the student’s (out of 135 students) names remembered. I am still meeting some of the faculty and other staff members.  Everyone in the building has made it a great experience for me. Since the students are getting to know me more, they are telling me more about themselves and their lives outside of school. It’s a very eye opening experience-having kids tell you things about who they are and how much they are willing to share.

I was able to teach my first lesson this past week. Even though I just used my cooperating teachers lesson plans, I was still a little nervous teaching for the first time. Throughout the day Monday, I had that nervous energy of just wanting 7th hour to come so I could teach and start interacting fully with the students. It was good to just a have confidence boost to help get me started on the right foot for the semester. One piece of advice that I have really been using is that being strict the first couple of weeks works well. It has helped the students see that I am a teacher and not just “visitor” that will be sitting in the back of the class all year.

I’m only teaching two classes for now and increasing my class number as the weeks go on. Even though I haven’t been doing much teaching the first couple of weeks, I have been exhausted at the end of each week. I have been in bed before 9:30pm every night since I’ve started. I can’t remember the last time that has happened. 7th graders are a handful and keep me going throughout the day. Otherwise, I really like being at Maplewood Middle School and look forward to taking on more and more classes as the semester continues.

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