May 27, 2011 1 Comment
I have so much I would like to say in this blog that I genuinely don’t know where to start. I really want to share some of my experiences within the classroom, but I feel like I have shared everything within small groups. I really want to talk about my reflections on the classroom environment my teacher has created and critique it to my best ability, but I feel like that would lead to a lot of rash decisions and judgments th
at I am not yet qualified to make. I would also really like to discuss the various experiences outside of the classroom that have impacted my growth throughout this experience, but I feel as though that might be slightly boring or dragging. So, while typing all of this and thinking this through, I believe that all of my desires would be sufficiently represented by expressing how much I’ve learned about my self as not only a teacher, but asa person.
I started out this experience being very frightened to be teaching in an urban setting. However, throughout these past two weeks, I have realized that some of my fears are minute to all the riches that also live within the city of Philadelphia. I have realized, for many different reasons, that I would definitely be able to teach in this setting. I am excited to be able to make a big difference in children’s lives that might not be able to get the same opportunity from someone else and I was thrilled to see myself engaging students and forming relationships within just this short amount of time. Although there were many rough times throughout this experience, I believe they were the most rewarding in my growth and development as both a teacher, and a person.
During the two weeks in the classroom, I’ve had the opportunity to teach very often. Two lessons I taught were in history and math. I tend to think of myself to be very good at understanding and teaching math, and for history, I am usually able to find fun and interesting activities or analogies in order to engage the students into wanting to understand. However, I have only taught first graders before. I was very confident teaching that age group because if I made a mistake or if they did not understand right away, I always seemed to be able to find new techniques or explanations to explain to them in smaller terms. They also did not necessarily have the knowledge to tell me I was wrong and catch me off-guard. With this group of fifth graders though, I was very nervous that the class would not be responsive to me and/or I would not completely be able to control or maintain order while trying to teach. I was rough to start out, but within a day, the students started to act positively to my teaching and ended up really engaging in every lesson. I learned that I CAN be a good teacher and I WILL be a good teacher as long as I don’t forget to be confident in myself and my ability to portray lessons to those who are younger than me.
On Wednesday of this week, I finally had the opportunity to teach kindergarten while my fifth graders were testing. I realized in this short three hour time period that I really do want to teach younger students. Just looking back at my reaction to my teacher telling me she was sending me down to kindergarten tells me this. I love being able to say silly words and names and how they react to it in a way of which you become a stand-up comedian for a few short seconds. I really feel myself light up when I’m around them. However, I would not change my placement for one second. I am very glad that I got the opportunity to find out what grade I actually want to teach and why, versus just going with the grade in which I am most comfortable and familiar with.
This experience has really opened my eyes to more of my own strengths along with placing me around people in which I have many similar interests and ideas with. One of the more rewarding things for me during this seminar was being able to be surrounded by college student who also believe in teaching as much as I do and as just as passionate as I am. It is really discouraging to continually get the negative response of, “oh” after telling someone my major is elementary education. I would never had guessed how many people almost frown upon those who choose education as their major. I feel as though I am almost looked down upon by others who are not in the major. It was very nice to see not only the rewards in the classroom that keep me going, but also how this experience opened my eyes to the types of conversations I can look forward to with those who share my interest and love of teaching.
I like to describe my teaching style as one from the heart, and the many friends and colleagues I’ve been able to interact and connect with during this experience have definitely touched it to immense depths that I can not even begin to put into words.