Barton Open School - Allison Rubin - Uppers (7th and 8th Grade) - 30hrs

January 15 - January 21

In the week that I spent at Barton, I was able to observe a variety of classes and see students in many different light, ultimately making the experience more beneficial. 

Going into Barton I was a little wary of my experience after thinking about my own middle school experience. But I was pleasantly surprised at how different the students’ interpersonal interactions were from my own. The students that I got to see in multiple classes, exhibited an extra level of maturity. 

I was able to see a creative and communal side to the students. Especially in the geometry class I observed. With a class of 36 students, I couldn’t imagine how Ali kept it together. 7 tables placed around the room in u-shape so that in any seat all the students could see their class mates the rest of the room. The students were finishing and presenting their “circle projects” and presenting fun ways to remember the conjectures of circle for an upcoming test. 

It was clear that Ali, and the other teachers at Barton, taught their students valuable skills about interacting with each other. In watching Ali, I could see a genuine care for her students and that teaching was more about the students and not the requirements set forth by the state. I’ve come to realize a difference between being a primary school educator versus one in a middle school, and that it’s more about being a mentor to the students. The students recognize when there may be an issue and they want to be corrected and have someone to help fix the problem. In one instance a student was making inappropriate remarks to another, when called into the hall to talk about the student went willingly, and was relatively receptive to what was said. 

Throughout the residency, I couldn’t help but question whether or not I was actually learning how to be an instructor in the classroom or if I was learning greater life lesson. Learning that being a teacher or giving any kind of instruction is more about how you handle the students, creating a safe environment, treating the students in an age-appropriate way and not necessarily about shoveling information down the students throats.