I apologize in advance for the lack of images in this section. Remembering to take photos of the students learning and work was not a strong suit of mine. I also did not have clear consent about posting images of my students on my blog.
I am someone who takes a lot of time to critically reflect on my teaching practices, my lesson plans, my classroom management, and my daily routines. I think one of the most important parts of being a teacher is being able to be reflective and accepting of criticism.
Monday, October 1st
Thursday was such a fantastic day. Our student who has been coming half days, tried his first full day of class, and he did amazing! Phys. ed. had previously been a trigger for this student to become violent and to run away, but not this time. This student participated in our game that we played, he played catch with my coop and he only left once, but it was not out of anger. This was a huge win for this student, and it made me feel incredibly awesome. S also enjoyed her time, participating in our game for a few minutes and then playing with a ball with her EA, it was great. These students have both come a long way from what I have heard. Warms my heart.
The rest of the day was great as well, I taught our next lesson in health, continuing talking about labels and judgement. I had the students do a little worksheet to explain what they knew about the topic, before beginning we reviewed all the words and talked about them before I gave them their worksheet. However, all the grade 3’s and one grade 4 were very confused and were not able to answer most of the questions. I plan to reteach these students the ideas during intervention this week before our next health class.
Friday, October 5th
Wednesday was an interesting and tough day. Our poor K-2 teacher had an emergency, yet chose to stay and finish his day at school, instead of leaving. In the afternoon I went and volunteered in his classroom, helping his students with a Thanksgiving craft, this way he was able to work on some other things, while I managed the classroom and assisted the students. And in last class we had our grade 3-5’s join the K-2’s in phys ed, allowing the K-2 teacher time to do his meeting with the literacy coaches. This phys. ed class was absolutely insane. There were 28 bodies in the gym and a lot of children with their ears turned off. My coop and I had to do a lot of classroom and student management. We figured out that it worked best to play a more structured game than a tag game. Once we started playing musical hoops the students began listening much better. Wednesday was a good first taste of a K-2 room. I look forward to more opportunities of being in that classroom and learning from those students and their teacher.
*It is so important to be flexible and to help your colleagues when you can.
Monday, November 12th
This past week was a busy one. Teaching full time is intense, but also really fun. I like having the control of class time and transitions as well as feeling like I am making decisions about the students education to help them succeed. I am just so thankful for this experience. I was having a conversation with another staff member and we discussed how the education degree would be even more remarkable if we could try every grade in our range for a couple weeks at a time. This would allow us to get our feet wet in all age groups and with many different classrooms and students.
The week went by extremely quick. I had a couple of my guided reading groups take on new books, still working on the same skills of building fluency. I had my coop sit in on a guided reading lesson and she gave me some great pointers, as I felt like I maybe wasn’t doing the guided reading thing justice. I learned a lot from her comments and am looking forward to putting them into action this week.
Friday, November 16th
Thursday there was another huge blow up. A student lost it at the very end of phys ed because he was unable to participate without gym clothes. He was very upset with me and with the “changes of rules” since I came to teach here. I felt so bad and I tried to remain calm and supportive the whole time. But I ended up getting upset and he left for his science class and nothing really got resolved. This student is constantly testing me and trying to see how far he can push me. He also has ADHD mixed with rage, so he often cannot control his outbursts. I had a talk with the principal after and she gave me some advice as I go into my own classroom one day, to phone the parent when things like this happen, keep good communication, ask for advice, and make a relationship with them. She also gave me some advice with the student himself, to give him at least ten minutes on his own to cool down after an out burst before even attempting to talk to him. So, I will try this in the future.
*I am so thankful for the support and guidance of the staff as I learned how to deal with out bursts like these.
Monday, December 19th
After lunch we practiced Christmas concert again, it was almost flawless! They did so well, I am getting really excited for the final performance. However, I am kind of nervous because I still don’t feel like I know all the students’ dances and I am their prompter. YIKES. I took the time to write down all the actions today in the scripts, and I will need to practice. I spent my prep in the K-2 room. They were taking time to decorate their classroom with Christmas decorations. It was hectic and I saw a few things that I probably would have done differently, but the teacher was having a great time and I just kept the peace and handed out tape. Once they were mostly finished, I had the students sit in their desk and I read them a story. I was amazed at how quiet they were listening to the story. It was like they were mesmerized. I tried to use my best expression to keep them entertained, I had them giggling a few times, which felt like a win to me. We read one more story, which allowed the teacher some time to do his own thing. And then a few minutes before the bell we started to get ready to go home. The teacher was very appreciative of my help, which made me feel very good. I love being in their room.
I had such an amazing experience overall. I made great life long relationships with some of the staff, including my cooperating teacher.
I was given many opportunities including: head coaching sr. boys volleyball, helping with the Remembrance Day ceremony, helping with Christmas concert duties, planning a sr. volleyball wind up for both teams, participating in two Chinook literacy PD days, visiting several other schools in the division, and making valuable connections with several teachers and Chinook School Division staff. I will forever be grateful for all of these opportunities!