Professional Experience

Reflections from my ECS 101 field experience.

 I was lucky to experience time in every grade from pre-kindergarten to grade 8. These four weeks have taught me a lot, but it also showed me just how much the education system has changed since I was in elementary school. Teachers have new beliefs and styles of teaching. Many of the classrooms I was in have stopped using the forward-facing classroom style, instead, the students are mixed up around the classroom to ease some of the power dynamics that come from a teacher, this style of the classroom also encourages group work and really allows the students to feel connected to one another which builds a stronger sense of community in the classroom. Throughout my time in so many different classrooms, I loved seeing how each teacher used their own beliefs to shape their classroom. Every classroom was unique and functioned in its own way, but in every classroom, the children were happy to be learning and finding new ways to interact with each other.

During my time at the school, I learned a little bit about English as a second or additional language (ESL) and it gave me a new outlook on the fact that there is currently no ESL curriculum, and in this school that had 65% of their students as ESL students, they were figuring out how to accommodate each student to feel safe and welcomed in a learning environment. This was amazing to witness because while I was in school I can’t remember a single student who didn’t have English as their first language so this was a whole new learning experience for me as well. This is something that I would love to continue learning about and watch as we create an ESL curriculum to help these children reach their potential and make them feel included. I was shocked to hear there is no ESL curriculum to date, but I also learned about how they are working on one. I am excited to see how that plays out and how I will eventually work with that one day.

We are all constantly learning new things and gaining new knowledge. For me, this experience showed me that the traditional, stereotypical way of teaching is not the way it has to be done anymore. There is so much flexibility with how you want to organize and run your classroom and seeing that firsthand made me realize that maybe some of that traditional way of teaching was why I never fully enjoyed school growing up. I now believe there is no right way of teaching, each teacher finds their own way that works for them with their particular group of students and that may change from year to year.

It was such an eye-opening experience to get to work with the children firsthand, whether that be helping them put on their coats for recess or helping them understand the instructions on their assignments or just chatting with them a little bit. It helped me discover that I loved teaching and can’t wait to continue my education journey.