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.
From the multiple discussion in ECS 100, there was one idea which bothered me. The idea that the number of students who go to university is actually very small, yet the school system educates students to continue their academic studies, mostly for university. This idea bothered me because I thought part of the purpose of schools was to educate students so they may be successful in their further studies, yet this only pertains to a small number of students.
This idea had me thinking of the curriculum. The curriculum, for the most part, focuses on core subjects such as math, English, social, and science which does share a part for other work areas but does not lead to success for every student. The notion of which every student is to succeed in education seems interesting to me. If we want every student to succeed, why would we not educate them on skills that pertain to every student such as how to take out a loan and how to manage finances? As an educator, I can try to attempt to add additional classes to the curriculum such as classes involving life skills, which could be offered at multiple schools.
Another complexity with teaching is gaining student trust. Some students may come from families or countries where life was not easy (ex: abuse or war) so for the student to trust you, it may be difficult. As a teacher, you will have to be cautious of your actions so the student has no reason not to trust you. For example, you may have to give the student space until they warm up to you even though it will be difficult.
A complexity related to learning may be engaging the students. From my ECS 100 field experience, I found captivating the attention of all learners is difficult. This is due to not every student learns the same way, some students may be ahead of their classmates, and some students are simply not engaged with the material. As an educator, it is up to you to capture all the learners’ attention and teach lessons in multiple ways so every student is given the opportunity to learn. Also, if students are not finding the material exciting, yet it needs to be taught, it is up to the educator to act enthusiastic about the material even if it is not. In conclusion, there are many complexities surrounding teaching.
Lastly, I found the teaching strategies the ECS 100 textbook discuss, are better to be witnessed in the classroom versus being read. To learn skills such as classroom management, the textbook went into grave detail which honestly confused me. Then, as I observed my teacher in the field, I quickly learnt what classroom management was. It is:
Making sure every student is paying attention
Allowing an adequate amount of time for students to grab materials, complete assignments, read, and etc…
Having supplies ready for a lesson
Having lessons prepared
Creating posters on the wall for students to reference
and so much more!
In conclusion, I feel for future educators to learn how to teach, it is better to learn from the field than from a textbook.
NOTE: FOR THE PRIVACY OF THE STUDENTS, I DID NOT INCLUDE ANY PICTURES OF THE STUDENTS OR THEIR JOURNAL RESPONSES
October 10, 2018
“Jay-lyn and I are doing our field experience at Argyle School with Grade 4’s. To begin the day, we met with our classroom teacher who gave us a school tour after introductions were complete. During our orientation, we met some of the students in our classroom who are very outspoken and outgoing. The students very loudly told our teachers that Jay-lyn and I were “very pretty” without even knowing our names or being shy.”
October 17, 2018
“After this, students worked on another rock assignment, but Jay-lyn and I did not assist with this project. Instead, Kaitlen gave us the container of journals to comment in. One of the prompts students answered was “what would you do if you were a teacher for a day? What would your rules be?”. Kaitlen had told us that the answers would be funny to read since the kids have wild imaginations. For instances, some students had very thought out detailed responses where they incorporated various school subject for specific allotted times, lesson plan idea and reasons why they chose what they did, while other students said they would have students play video games all day and have an ice-cream party, and one student went as far as saying that they would not make a good teacher and would probably get fired. Comments I wrote in the journals included: “Very neat writing, good job”, “What type of video-games would you play?”, “Your day sounds very exciting!”, just to name a few examples of what I wrote in the students’ journals.”
“The highlight of my day though was phys-ed class. In phys-ed Kaitlen had Jay-lyn and I work with small groups to teach volleyball skills. As I have coached volleyball for the past 5 years, I was very excited to work with the children on setting. It was rewarding when the students set the ball with somewhat correct technic and their smiles of accomplishment. “
October 24, 2018
“One moment that stood out for me during this project was one kid who is extremely shy, did not want me to help him when I asked the first time I went around helping, then at the second time I went around he asked me for help before I could even ask him. This was a pivotal moment for me as I saw the children opening up to me. Lastly, for the final period of the day, the students played volleyball for gym class. Jay-lyn and I reffed the one side’s games, it was fun as the children enjoyed this. The game was adapted using benches as the net and allowing any type of contact with the ball to be acceptable making the game more exciting for the children as they did not get as frustrated as last class.”
October 31, 2018
“During recess, Jay-lyn and I prepped for the activity we were leading with the students. We did not have a lesson plan as the activity had instructions with it and Jay-lyn and I knew the craft very well. We made bat bookmarks with the students. Kaitlen sat the students down and asked them to respect us, and they exceeded my expectations with their level of respect. During the whole lesson, students were helping each other out and listening to us. From this activity, I learnt a couple of things. First off, students are little teachers, they help out struggling students even though we were walking around helping them. Secondly, the students can give ideas of how to make an activity work better. For instance, the bookmarks involved a lot of folding. A couple students used their glue sticks to flatten the folded edges, so the paper would not unfold. After seeing how well this worked, I told all the students this and it helped the bookmarks from unfolding. In the end, the kids all said they loved the activity. Kaitlen also said we did a great job leading the activity, which I took as a confidence boost in my teaching.”
November 14, 2018
“An aspect of teaching from the Grade 7/8 classroom teacher was incorporating technology. While I did not witness the assignment that was to be completed, I read the assignment sheet and learnt students had to create a video for math class explaining how to do a question. I think this is a good way for students to learn because it is students teaching students while incorporating technology. While the teacher was incorporating technology in the classroom, he was also clear on rules. Halfway during the class, the teacher stood up and asked all the students who had a cellphone. He then proceeded to tell students to go through their social media accounts and camera roll and delete inappropriate. He explained that if a student’s phone gets into the wrong hands, a picture that a student may not want to share with others, may be shared and could have negative consequences. I really like how the teacher asked the students to be safe on their phones since there are negative consequences if an offensive/inappropriate picture is posted. He specifically said he did not want to see his students ruin their lives over one photo, which shows he is a very caring teacher.”
November 21, 2018
“The students were making posters in groups based on the article they were given about different types of agriculture which they would present to the class. Kaitlen demonstrated what she wanted students to do by doing the project with “her group” (3 students she picked at random). I enjoyed how Kaitlen explained the project by actually showing what she wanted students to do and even incorporating her own group. After the explanation was finished, I went with my group into the hallway to work on our poster. We started by reading the article on agriculture and wild rice. I read the article and after ever 2 or 3 sentences, I asked students if they thought any information was important. If the students thought the idea was important, I asked them to try to summarize the idea and write them on the poster. After the article was complete and the students were happy with their posters, I asked students what information they would want to share in front of the class. The students each chose a fact on the poster they thought was the most interesting to them. I did this because I know how panic sets in when you stand in front of your peers and not knowing what to say. I hoped this would help the group feel more confident in front of their peers. As we returned back to the classroom to the class, presentations began. When my group presented I felt proud of how they were able to recite information off their poster without having to look at it much. I was also proud with how a couple added additional facts to the presentation without the facts being on the poster.”
November 28, 2018
“Today, I work with a student who is behind on the assignment. I helped this student get her poster organized by pointing to the words on her rough copy for her to copy onto her good copy poster. This student seemed to flourish with the guidance of words she needed to write down, being pointed at. This student has a tendency to be behind work in Kaitlen’s classroom as well. After watching the student excel at her poster in French, I realized this student is slower in her work process because she needs guidance once in a while. I found this important to note because it is physically it is impossible for one teacher to give every student in the classroom one on one attention. I think if each student could receive one on one attention, the success rate in the education system would be incredible.”
Overall, I can say this was a great classroom to start my adventure as a teacher.