Blogging has been a great way to come to terms with what I'm learning in this class, and understand how it relates back to teaching. But, in some cases, it was hard for me to connect my blog posts back to teaching and improving my education skills. Once we began observations, my heart poured everything that I loved about being in the classroom, and it was easy to write blogs because teaching is my passion, and I could talk about teachin until my face turns blue. If I'm being completely honest, I don't think the timing was right for the blogs, maybe it should'e been scheduled for October so we could have more time to discuss being in the classroom, and have more questions that directly relate back to education. Other than that, I thought the blogs were a great way to share our thoughts, and be able to feed off of what everyone else was thinking.
If you honestly knew me, you'd probably know that I actually can be calm even about the little things, but when you throw in school, work, and only a few hours of sleep, I become extemely antsy over the tings that are completely irrelevant about life. So many people see me throughout the school year acting in that way that they assume that's who I am, even though it's not.
Today is Davidson's Homecoming, but I'm more excited about dressing up and hanging out with my friends than I am in regards to the dance. It's going to be really nice to finally get a chance to drop some of the homework, and the studying, and just focus on having fun and being a normal teenager for once. My life revolves around school, homework, and trying to be this “perfect” applicant for colleges, that I forget that high school is supposed to be fun and a time to discover oneself.
I had a lot of students in my group, all who were eager and ready to learn, which was exhilarating. One of the games we played included a hula hoop, and the goal was to hold hands and try to move the hoop over our bodies and around the circle without dropping it, or letting go of each other's hands. The goal was to try to pass it around the circle within a minute. All of the kids were squueling and cheering, but when it became apparent that we wouldn't be able to make this goal, a lot of the kids stopped trying. Their immediate thought was to quit, but with help of the other Academy EDU student, we motivated them to continue to finish the task even though they weren't going to finish with the achievements that they wanted. We were then able to relate this back to the pledge that we took in the gym, showing them that sometimes we do fail, but that doesn't mean they should give up. We hadn't planned for them to fail, but it was a great way to portray the lesson.
One concern I do have is that most of the students in my group have passions that are not only different from mine, but with each other's as well. When children are together, and they're both passionate about the same things, the collaboration seeps from their souls, and the lesson of collaboration emerges. But, with children of completely different interests, it will be more difficult for them to collaborate and weave together great ideas.
For first grade students, a huge objective is being able to write a story where their thoughts coordinate with what they vebally share, and with the thoughts they write down on paper. One student was really struggling to focus on the task given. He was very intersted in discussing his story, but he didn't have the patience to get his thoughts down on paper, so I did what I could to give him a little motivation. I took it slowly, and helped him focus on each individual aspect of the story. I created stories to encourage him to write down his words, and eventually he was focused enough to finish a story. I was proud not only for his academic ahievements, but his behavior improvements that I was able to control with a little patience and creativity.
Our second day of learning was more hands on than the first, as today students were writing stories in their activity books, and practicing rhyming words with fun activities. I've established bonds with many students among the class, and I think they're almost as excited as I am for my return tomorrow. When I first started helping children learn, I realized how unfamiliar I am with the currriculm, and what they should know and what they will have no recollection of. Fortunately, my teacher explained the goals for the activities I'm helping them with, and how this relates to the curriculm. I've also been reviewing the copy of the curriculm guidelines online, so I can help students better understand the learning. But, the more I'm at Washington, the more I realize how much I have to learn. My mentor teacher is very comfortable disciplining children when something doesn't turn out in the best manner, while carefully sparing the child's feelings. It's hard for me to tell them they did something wrong just because I don't want to hurt their feelings, so as I gain more experience, I will hopefully be able to treat them in a respectable, but stern manner.
Eleven years ago, there was a little girl who walked into Norwich Elementary with tears strolling down her face terrified of what was happening behing the door of the classroom. Today, she walked down the halls of Washington Elementary with a smile on her face wandering towards a different classroom, but with the same teacher behind its doors. That little girl was me. Maybe there were no tears shed, but I can't deny that I had butterflies. Walking into that classroom, I felt twenty one eyes peer from their books and onto my presence. They were attentively listening to a story read by my mentor, who's voice inflictions and facial expressions kept the children balancing on their toes. When the story was concluded, Mrs. Chamberlain, my mentor shared some inquiry questions, with which one of the struggling students shared an inference he found in the story without much help from anyone. Suddenly, a smile of pride was stitched onto his face, and he was thrilled to have picked up on connections at an advanced level. His "aha" moment wasn't something that a teacher could explain to him without giving away the answer, but it was something he discovered on his own, which shows the beauty of learning.
I'm not one of the most involved people in my class, but I have embraced a few activies. The most influential program with which I'm involved in is Interact Club. We extend our student leadership to the community. Not only does it feel spectacular to give back, but by being involved in this club, I'm sending a message to my peers, which implies that donating time to people who are less fortunate is life changing.
Day 20: What are your concerns/questions/fears about observing in the elementary schools? Be honest!
As much as I enjoy being creative and having fun with my students, I'm worried that I may struggle to help the students with what they're learning. I've dedicated hours of my summer teaching students, but rather than teaching students how to read or write, I taught them how to swim. This worries me, for I'm afraid I'm not going to know the best approaches to help students understand the material. I know we won't be addressing students in a large group, but I'm concerned that when students ask me questions I won't be able to explain it in a way that will make sense to them. I'm sure in my head it will make sense to me, but they may end up walking away more distraught then when they came to me.
The Map of the Learning World
Along with me as your tour guide, you'll also find I've added my daily journal entries, or blogs, to help guide you through the learning world. Feel free to check them out!