Well, my journey with the Grade 4/5 class of Dr. George Ferguson School has come to an end. I don’t think I could have asked for a better group of kids or a more helpful co-op to be working with! As you have a read through my earlier posts I am sure you have noticed there have been many learning experiences for me, successful moments and some headache-causing moments as well; isn’t that what teaching is all about though? However, I am very grateful for every situation I was thrown into these past seven weeks as I can already tell how much I have grown, learned and improved towards being the teacher I want to be. In this week’s reflection I want to focus more on my experience as a whole and highlight how I have improved as a future educator and what I feel my strengths are: my three C’s.
Communication. If you talk to my friends or family I am sure you would be told how much I love to talk and how approachable I am by anyone. I don’t always notice this day by day, but realizing how relaxed I always felt in front of the students or talking with the staff really made me thankful for this quality. This probably goes for most people, but isn’t it so much easier to meet a person, have the ability to joke around in a safe environment and be able to confront them without difficulty? I know that is exactly how I feel anyways, so I ensured I brought that presence into my classroom towards my students. I briefly touched base with this in an earlier post, but I love humor, I love joking around with people (in a harm-free manner) and I find laughter is the most common spoken ‘language’ among everyone. I had been involved in an extremely multicultural classroom setting during this experience and there was no way I would be able to learn each of their languages; but I knew for sure I could connect with them personally through laughter and smiling.
Creativity. Speaking from experience, nobody enjoys learning from a teacher who clearly does not want to be there and just stands at the front of the room, dictates and hands out “Numbers 1-20. Go.”. In my Elementary and High School years I had a handful of those which made me dread attending those classes in general. During my field experience I had the opportunity to teach Mathematics, Physical Education, English Language Arts, Social Studies and Health. I remember as soon as my co-op asked me if I would be willing to try Social Studies a big red flag went off in my mind; I hate Social Studies. I have now realized it was because I never had one creative, interesting teacher throughout learning History or Social Studies so it was never an enjoyable subject. This epiphany allowed me to accept this challenge and to force myself not to be like my previous Social Studies teachers. I would have to say that ended up being my favorite lesson I taught and the kids loved it! I taught about the explorer John Cabot and had them connect his ships to spell out his name, each containing different facts about his voyage. My co-op wrote on my sheet that day, “LOVED the activity – what a way to bring to life some otherwise boring info. They remembered facts really well through this!”. That was such a successful feeling because I knew I needed to put that extra effort into the lesson for these students that I was rarely offered learning this subject growing up.
Classroom Management. Now, walking into my Grade 4/5 classroom on February 4 I had no idea how I was going to keep my class under control or how I would handle a loud, off task student. I can happily say now I feel much more comfortable standing in front of my class and taking control and responsibility of them for the entire time I am up there. “Give me five” was the easiest way of management for me to get their attention, and throughout my lessons just encouraging them to raise their hands and avoid blurting kept the noise levels under control. I am still new at all of this so I am not as strict as some teachers who yell at the kids to be quiet, but another comment my co-op wrote about my classroom management was “Classroom Management is developing nicely – calm but firm”, which is reassuring! As a student and now as a future teacher I have never felt that yelling helps any situation, yes it might scare your students to not talk, but is scaring them really how you want to handle the situation? The tone of voice needs to be stern sometimes but causing a scene in front of an entire class and freaking on a few students isn’t the most successful approach.
All in all, I absolutely loved this entire field experience and I know I learned so much that will continue to go with me in my teaching years. At the beginning of this semester I had no idea how to make a lesson plan, how to manage my classroom, how to understand and find outcomes and indicators in the curriculum, etc. I can now proudly say I have learned a lot through this class and experience on all the dirty (challenging) work required to be a successful teacher and am confident enough in myself to say some of these characteristics are now my strengths and that I am continuing to grow!