This semester I have been placed in a split Grade 4/5 classroom at Dr. George Ferguson School in Regina. My initial reaction to entering the classroom is more nervous than anything, but having the opportunity in ECS 100 it was easier to adjust to the whole situation. Meeting my CO-OP, Ms. Lisa Whaley, was so exciting, she is an outstanding teacher and works so well with her students! She is very nonchalant and understanding that this is my first time teaching and actually completely lesson plans, which takes such a weight off my shoulders opposed to having an uptight CO-OP with unreal expectations the first few weeks.
That being said, Ms. Whaley allowed my ECS partner and I to team-teach our activity this week so we planned a few Ice Breakers for the kids. I started off with an activity to learn their names, “My name is?” where they are to add an adjective to the beginning of their name that starts with the same letter as their name as well (Radian Rebecca, etc.). Here is where my main struggle came into play, not only remembering their names, but understanding them. Being completely open and non-racist, the majority of my class is East Indian and Asian, so a lot of the time I could only understand the adjectives they were saying and not their names. I grew up in a small town community where there was about one family that was of a different culture, so being around such diversity and names in general is a huge change for me. Having students of a variety of cultures and races in my class is not the problem at all, I’m just not used to the names and they are hard to understand AND pronounce.
Next I led them in an activity where they were handed a number, and whichever number they had corresponded to a question on my sheet, to get to know them more as well. Some examples were “If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?” and so on. Another challenge arose when I asked a student “If you could talk to anyone in the world right now, who would it be?” and his response was strictly “No one, nobody likes me or would want to talk to me anyways”. Another question was asked “If you could wish for one thing to come true this year, what would it be?” the student replied “for a nuclear bomb to explode so everyone would die”. Knowing how to properly respond to these situations was so difficult to me that I often avoided the situation and continued on to the next question. For student #1, they are obviously being bullied or have little bonding with parental figures or siblings that they truly would wish to talk to no one. And for student #2 to wish for a bomb to kill everyone means there are troublesome situations going on in their life as well. I will definitely need to learn and work on my skills for dealing with such scenarios in the future, because I realized that could easily be their way of reaching out for help, or they could be major attention grabbers who just want that feedback.
On a much lighter, happier note, my first field experience reassured me of my career choice to become a teacher. Attending our first lab for ECS 300 introduced all of the expectations and requirements for lesson planning; if that wasn’t overwhelming, I don’t know what is. Being handed stacks of paper and information that I need to understand and to complete for every lesson I plan was intimidating to say the least. I completely realized ahead of time that teaching does require hours of work such a lesson planning, but once it is all brought into reality and right in front of me, it worried me. However, the minute I stepped into my Grade 4/5 classroom the next Monday I was thrilled, I knew exactly where I was supposed to be. Having the kids so excited to meet me, were very well behaved and willing to participate made it so much easier to work with them for the rest of the afternoon. Having that moment of realization made me even more excited to slowly working my way into the classrooms permanently!