Teacher Preparation Blog

Urban Semester

Autumn Mundy was a junior at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., where she was an elementary and special education major. As part the university’s Urban Semester program, she trained full-time in a high-needs elementary school in Indianapolis. She agreed to write about her experiences in this opinion blog—with the hope of illuminating her own career path and offering insight to other prospective teachers. This blog is no longer being updated.

Education Opinion Final Reflection
The semester is over. There were many things throughout this semester that caused me to look at what I was doing with the rest of my life. Those things helped me become a better educator and person. I realize that I am not a patient enough person to teach in the urban setting. I learned I have the teacher voice and that teacher look but that the lack of knowledge about the hidden rules in the urban setting I was in took more than that voice or look. As I mentioned earlier, this was a helpful experience. I am now a student who has a whole semester's worth of hands-on experience, I have a lot of stories to go back to campus with, and I have a whole new perspective on what goes into setting up and running a classroom. I have ideas about what I would like to do in my future classroom and I know some things that would not work in this setting where they may work where I am employed. I hope that all of my peers and fellow Ball State teachers made the best of their experience as I have of mine. Thank you to all who read my journal and I hope that everyone has a successful year in 2006.
Autumn Mundy, December 16, 2005
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Education Opinion Last Full Week
What an interesting week! Monday we had class as usual, Tuesday was normal, as was Wednesday. Thursday we had our pitch-in snacks for the teachers but no class and Friday it snowed, no class! I have been helping people get their portfolios for class up and running, so I have been in and out of the classroom all week. We are finished with Science for the semester and have one more of the rest of the classes next week!
Autumn Mundy, December 9, 2005
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Education Opinion Second Day
After my second day of full teaching, I can't type correctly and my head hurts. I guess it goes with the craziness of a good day's work! Thing were not too bad today. We had a sit down after lunch. They would not stop talking so we sat there and one of the custodians had to say something before the students would be quiet. So we came back to the classroom and sat. No talking, no moving, no reading, they just sat. I hope I got through to them.
Autumn Mundy, November 30, 2005
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Education Opinion Full Day
So I had my first full day of teaching today. Yeah, I've taught before but Mrs. C was still "in control" of the room. She could pick up on a subject and go with it. Today it was all me. She didn't say much and worked on a lot of stuff she needed to get done. I had a feeling last night that things were not going to go the best. It was kind of weird. When I got here (on time for me!) this morning I ran off the rest of my papers and got the blending words ready for reading. We were doing fine until a couple boys showed up who were going crazy. I tuned the one in to what we were doing but the other one was still out there in his own world. He stayed there most of the day.
Autumn Mundy, November 29, 2005
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Education Opinion Short Week
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I do not think there is a single student or teacher who does not like short weeks. Fall Breaks and Thanksgiving Breaks being a couple of them.
Autumn Mundy, November 23, 2005
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Education Opinion Tiring Day
So I witnessed my first fight today. I really didn’t think it was going to go that far. The two boys involved had pushed each other around before and today they mixed in some punches! I’m happy that there were other teachers around to witness the whole thing. A couple of older boys stepped in and picked the one kid up off the floor. The principal was just around the corner and she was very available to escort the boys back.
Autumn Mundy, November 16, 2005
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Education Opinion Family Fun Night
Last night we had our Family Fun Night! I believe that there was around 260 people there. For the small looking cafeteria and gym, that's a lot of people! Things were really slow for me but I noticed that other BSU students had a lot of activity at their stations. The ideas were good and students seemed to enjoy themselves. I saw a few of my students from my class. The thing that worked the best at my table was the magnetic test. Students tested objects to see if the were attracted to the magnet. There was one little sister, who had to be 3-4 years old, that kept coming back to play with the magnets. I think she really enjoyed it!
Autumn Mundy, November 11, 2005
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Education Opinion Half Day
Half Days are wonderful! Students leave and you get time to work on what needs to be done. Most of our cooperating teachers are taking an online course so we had free time.
Autumn Mundy, November 9, 2005
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Education Opinion Realization
I was talking with my mom the other day after school. As I was telling her about my day and some of the things my teacher and I talked about, I realized something.
Autumn Mundy, November 2, 2005
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Education Opinion Breaks
I now understand why educators value their time off so much! After a wonderful Fall Break and time off, I feel refreshed and ready to go again!
Autumn Mundy, October 27, 2005
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Education Opinion Reflection
We are about half way through the semester. I have decided that I am not cut out for Urban teaching! People from home have always told me that I have more patience than I know what to do with. Well, that patience is starting to wear thin. Students in this setting are so in your face, that you have to be aware of where they are at all times. If they are not in your face then chances are they are in one of the other students’ face. That is never a good thing and it is hard to regain control of a class if students are ready to fight all the time. The learning levels are much lower in this particular setting. I think that presents a challenge to the teacher because they have to re-teach so much information. This causes a problem when you have to teach on grade level also. When students do not understand the information they are learning, they become disruptive. It’s a vicious circle of unwanted behavior going round and round.
Autumn Mundy, October 11, 2005
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Education Opinion Second Day
If it tells you anything I am completely drained. After this second day without Mrs. C I feel as if I have no respect from any of the students. It was crazy. The principal was listening in on our class over the intercom and said something after we confronted a student three times. She scared everyone in the room and after that, they were a little better behaved, until after lunch. We had a drill that was not expected and took almost an hour to deal with because a student pulled the alarm and the whole school received a talking to. Students did not like the work left for them to do and they balked about it the entire time they SLOWLY worked through it. We didn't get a science lesson done in the past two days, we didn't get spelling review done, and we didn't get some of our reading finished either. The sub helped with discipline problems but at the same time she sat and was my eyes while I was writing or looking at my books.
Autumn Mundy, October 5, 2005
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Education Opinion First Sub
Today was day one of two where we are having a substitute in our class. The kids were active. One of my boys was sent home this morning for disturbance and kicking and another spent most the morning in the office for refusal to do anything! After they left the others kind of settled down but not really. They were so talkative and active that I took them out for recess and let them run around. If I was of my word they wouldn't have had any time outside but they were sitting in the classroom all morning and they needed to run their meanness out! We were late for Art because someone, that would be me, wasn't watching the time and didn't realize we had Art so soon after lunch. The sub in here helped with keeping the class quiet and in order. Otherwise I did most of the teaching. I just hope that by November and December they have calmed down and realized I don't put up with all the noise. I will stop the lesson and wait for them to quiet down because I do not like to scream over them. Hopefully, tomorrow we will finish up what we didn’t get done today and get done what we need to do tomorrow.
Autumn Mundy, October 4, 2005
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Education Opinion Conner Prairie
Yesterday, we went to Conner Prairie in Fishers. A day off from the students to enjoy ourselves was very welcomed. If you don't know anything about Conner Prairie, it is a historical replica of a town or settlement from different years. There is a section that is from 1816 that is focused on the Lenape Indians, another section is from 1836, and the last section is from 1886. In another section of the park, you can see how you would have fared as a person in the 19th-century.
Autumn Mundy, September 29, 2005
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