On-Going Growth and Learning

Throughout ECS 100 and other education classes, I believe I have grown. To begin, I would like to point out that I am used to mastering a skill immediately, but I quickly realized teaching is not that. Soon into the field experience, I found out that teacher is not a mastery skill but instead on-going development with more always to be learnt and improved on. The first time I was privileged to lead a group of students was in phys-ed class with volleyball stations. I was at the station teaching setting, where each time a new group came around, I found myself improving my explanation skills even though I have coached volleyball for 5 years and have explained the technique many times. I was surprised by how much I was learning as students would explain what I told them in a way they understood which made 100% sense to me. I soon realized there are multiple ways to teach a lesson, such as setting and you have to base it off of your learners (One student compared the pushing of the ball forward to pushing a box onto a high shelf which I never considered before).

Another area of growth is the realization the students are as much of teachers as I am. A moment I can think of is when I was leading a Halloween bookmark making activity. I thought I knew how to teach the lesson perfectly, but instead, I was educated. During the activity, which involved the folds, a couple of students used the handle end of the scissors to flatten out the edges. By doing this, the folding went by much smoother so I told the rest of the class to use this technique which eventually led to the craft being a success. I interpret this to be a pivotal moment because as a student, I never considered how we taught our teachers but then when it happened to me, I realized students influence and educate their teachers as well.

The third area of growth which I will openly admit I did struggle with at the beginning was the communication of the learners. I am a shy person when I am around people whose names I do not know, and then for field experience, I was put in this exact situation. I quickly realized I would have to take initiative to ask students names (or pay attention to what other people were calling them) to talk to them. As I progressed with learning student names, I found myself being able to talk more freely with learners. Part of the reason why I struggled with communicating with students before I knew their names is because I find that helping a person or simply conversing without knowing their name to be very impersonal. As a teacher, we should not give students an impersonal feeling as we learnt in the discussion panel, the most important thing for teachers is to create a healthy relationship with learners which would not happen if the conversation felt impersonal. After learning names and form teacher-student relations, I found myself engaging with students in their assignments by asking them questions and helping them along the way. I also realized the students were more open to talk to me, with some discussing the results of their hockey games or their latest dance moves they have learnt. I was very surprised when the shyest kid in the class, came up and asked me for help. I was humbled by this simple act because this student rarely approached anyone. This was the exact moment I came to the realization of the importance of relationships with students.

Another area of growth I am realizing and still working very hard on is showing emotions. I have been told I do not show emotion a lot of the time. At the beginning of the field experience, I found myself not showing emotion. I saw this through pictures our cooperating teacher had taken of us working with students. These pictures inspired me to work on showing emotions (mostly positive emotions such as smiling). As time progressed, I found myself smiling in the classroom more often, which often was reflected back with smiles on students’ faces. This area of growth still needs to improve a lot but I am working on it by attempting to show emotions when speaking to friends and peers.

Additionally, I found growth as a future educator with communicating with other teachers. As the school I was in, some staff did not have a welcoming vibe. I found this difficult to engage in conversation and ask questions as some staff seemed unapproachable. Throughout my education, I am used to being able to approach staff since some are family friends or are coaches of mine so they always had a welcoming vibe surrounding them. I did not talk to any staff members at the beginning of the experience but towards the end, I found I was talking with staff more. I found discourse was often engaged around a common topic such as a student we both helped or an assignment students were working on. I talked to a couple of Teaching Assistants which I found interesting as I learnt their roles in the school were very important. For example, I never would have guessed a T.A.’s job would be to monitor a student with diabetes, but it is one of their jobs. I learnt to be a T.A. is a very stressful job as they are making sure the student’s insulin levels do not spike or drop and without them, a teacher would be very stressed. As I continue my education, I have to make goals for when I go out into the field. An example of a goal may be “engage in a conversation with a teacher that is not your cooperating teacher once a week” which will help with my professional communication skills.

Lastly, at the beginning of my field experience, I was scared to take initiative. I was afraid of overstepping the cooperating teacher’s boundaries by telling students to stay focused on the task at hand. As time progressed, I found myself reminding students to keep on track without being afraid to tell them as our cooperating teacher mentioned it was good we were reminding them of what to do. I consider this growth because I was afraid to do this, but in the end, I did this without being afraid.

Overall, I am able to say I have grown as an educator throughout my experience in the field. While I only talked about a few growths of which I am able to recall, I am positive there are many other areas of growth I have not even considered. I also realized as an educator, there is always room for more growth and I will continue growing throughout every year of my education and career.

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