I began my experience with a list of goals.
They were: Make and teach engaging and motivating sets; respond and react appropriately to behavioural problems; appear and be confident while teaching my lessons; and ask questions that prompt discussion. The full post on my goals can be found here.
I used specific steps as guidelines, which I felt helped me visualize not only what I wanted to achieve, but ways I could achieve my goals. If something didn’t go as planned I could consult these steps and question if I needed to add something or work something in to achieve what I hoped to.
Overall, I believe that I have made great improvement and for the most part have met my goals (I believe there is always more to learn and always room for growth and improvement). I think that I appear confident in the classroom. After my first lesson I fully realized and completely felt that I have it in me to be a great educator. I felt confident in what I was doing and I think that my confidence grows each time I teach and each time I experience something new and challenging. I feel that what I was teaching was interesting. Several lessons I could see the students enjoying the lesson. I was able to make lessons that could have easily been dry, into an interesting learning experience for the students. Some examples are a math lesson with linking cubes, an ELA lesson on citing sources, and an ELA lesson on writing flashbacks. There were few occasions that required me to step in and either remind students to be on task or to sort out difficulties/misbehaviour that arose. I think a classroom with more difficult classroom management issues would have me further exercise this aspect of my goals. I did get some opportunities to have discussion in my lessons. I believe that I was able to ask open ended questions or question that required more than a yes or no answer. To help with this I brainstormed and included questions that I could use to prompt discussion right in my lesson plans. If I needed to they were on paper to give me ideas of boosting conversation.
I think I will continue to get ideas on classroom management. The class I had already had a strong system. I think that I have learned a lot in the subject of classroom management and I have gained confidence in my ability to manage the classroom. I would love to get more knowledge with interdisciplinary lesson planning as well as Treaty Education. I think by practicing and getting input from other educators I can improve in these ways. Moreover, I want to be able to write and feel confident about writing cohesive unit plans, since I was only able to write singular lessons.
Specifically, about my students, I learned that they really enjoyed collaborative learning. In my own education, I’m not sure if I was less into this kind of process because it was only allowed in few group projects of which I was not often given say as to who I would work with and often felt that I had to carry the burden of doing the whole assignment on my own, but I think that a certain expectation for the classroom as a community of learners I taught in was set and so the students participated more equally. I also learned that some of my students will interpret somethings I’m teaching differently than I imagined in my head, but also that these interpretations are not necessarily incorrect and that it is actually quite refreshing to allow and hear different perspectives. I much enjoy the idea of a democratic classroom and I think my students appreciate having a voice and having me recognize that. Overall, I think that my students helped me sort out my beliefs about teaching by allowing me to experience the reception different things had and figuring out what went well, what didn’t, and why.
I really did have a great experience. I learned so much that can’t be taught in a class. I have gained confidence as a teacher and in my lesson making skills. I look for new and interesting ideas for lessons and I can consider how they might play out and what I can do to make them more effective. Having a target every week also played a large part in my consideration of what I can improve on and how I’m doing in certain areas. Knowing that my cooperating teacher was giving me feedback and discussing my lesson with me helped me in my growth. Having discussions in class with my peers had me consider different ideas, see different ways of doing things and opened me up to interesting activities for a variety of subject areas.
I look forward to continuing to grow as an educator and as a learner. I think one of the most important things for me and my learning is to be opened up to a variety of experiences. This experience has allowed me to take a big step forward. I feel more capable and I am continuing to search for ways of improving. I can’t wait to start my next experience and grow even more.