Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reflecting

One of the most easy and yet annoying things one will find in teachers college is the amount of reflecting they have to do. As a teacher candidate, you are asked to reflect upon your teaching, lesson planning, and on your own personal experiences. Reflecting can be a big pain because a lot of the times you are just scrambling for what to say.

Reflecting can also open up a huge awakening in one's teaching career. The more creative the reflecting prompt, the more interesting things can be. For instance, in my sociocultural perspectives class, we had to write about our relationship with the environment as if they were our lover. I found this activity to be extremely engaging and eye opening. I learned a lot about myself and enjoyed sharing my writing with the class.

Also, in my socioculutral perspectives class we have an assignment were we have to reflect on a time in our education that was difficult and how we can use that time to help us become better educators. We have been given the creative option of portraying this reflection in a paper, video, slideshow, poem etc... I am looking forward to this because my experiences are something that I have pushed to the back of my mind. I don't talk about being bullied, I don't think about how I was bullied, and I even go as far as to deny that I ever was bullied. My experiences are buried deep in a treasure chest that I hope to never have opened. Whenever I come into contact with someone I went to elementary school with I am constantly worried about them sharing my secrets with my friends, revealing stuff I have kept hidden. I feel that this assignment will help to uncover those times that I have buried deep within me and reflect on how those times pushed me to apply to the Faculty of Education. I didn't include these secrets in my application nor do I talk about them with my colleagues.

Sure, reflecting can be monotonous and boring (especially in one's plan book from my initial placement) but I feel that it is still a good practice to get in the habit of doing. One day, when I am teaching my own class, I want to be able to have my past experiences influencing my teaching.

Don't forget to be awesome,
Tara

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Initial 3 Week Placement

I will spare you the "I am sorry for not posting, life get's in the way etc..." paragraph and just get on with it.

My first placement was in a grade 2 and 3 combined class. I really enjoyed the experience. I taught a unit on math (Data Management specifically). for this unit I planned along side another teacher candidate who was in a grade 3 class. What I found important for my grade 3's was making sure they would know the expectations for the grade 3 testing at the end of the year. For the grade 2's, a lot of the concepts were new and it was making sure they could identify the parts of the graph.

I absolutely enjoyed working with the students. Seeing students struggle at the beginning and having that light bulb moment is so amazing. All of my students passed their quizzes and did well on almost all of the assignments I gave them.

Assignment wise, I only used the grade 3 textbook once and a few of the grade 2 handouts. I made the rest of the handouts and lesson plans myself. There are lot's of really good ideas on the internet that helped me as well and my teaching associate told me "Use the internet, that is why it is there!"

On top of teaching math, I taught a social studies lesson to the grade 2's on maps and a writing lesson on brainstorming the beginning, middle, and end of a story.

I read a novel aloud to the students and ran the Literacy cafe (where the students would rotate between reading by themselves, reading with others, work on writing, word work, and computers).

It was really hard to say goodbye to the students. One student said, "I really liked Miss Upshall because when we had questions she took her time to answer them and didn't just tell us to figure it out."

At the end, I wrote the class a book mentioning each of them individually. They all loved seeing themselves in the book and hearing what I wrote about them. It amazes me the intense excitement over such little things that students enjoy.

There were many great things about going on placement. There were some good lessons and some not so good lessons but everything is about learning. I found that as much as I taught the students, they taught me so much more.

The students taught me to be more assertive, to go over my lesson plans more than once, and to listen more effectively. My teaching associate taught me to question more effectively, to not put commands as a question, and to use a vast array of resources.

I will never forget the first class I ever taught and I am going to miss being with them everyday.

Now it is back to school for me. 8 weeks left of classes (not including Christmas holidays) before my 10 week placement.

Tara