As you can tell by my title, my field experience was amazing, life changing to be more accurate.
But, first I will tell you about my last day “on the job”. I walked into the classroom and all of my students were waiting for me, as usual, to give me a hug. I did my daily round of bear hugs and got ready to give my lesson. However, my co op said thatmy lessonw ould have to wait until after recess as the kids were finishing making Ukrainian Easter eggs. So for the first hour my partner and helped the kids create designs on their eggs and dye them. My partner then taught, recess occured, and then it was my turn! So I decided to do an Easter themed French lesson. I put french words inside numbered easter eggs and gave each table an egg. They opened the eggs and had to try and guess how to say the word in French. It was such a funny experience and the kids loved trying to guess how to pronounce the words. After we went through my lesson, which went so well, me and my partner decided to play a game with the students. We lined them up in four groups and gave the person at the front of each line a mini whiteboard and marker. We decided on a symbol (my partner and I) and then went to the back of each line and drew it on that person back. They had to draw on the next person back the same symbol, or as close as they could remember. We were focusing on teaching them how to communicate throughother ways rather than speaking, so we made sure if we heard a peep we told them to be quiet! They loved it an thought it was hilarious when one groups symbol came out completley different from the original. At the end of the day we said our goodbyes and gave the students eggs filled with candy (sorry to the parents). Our co op and some of the students presented my partner and I with our own card the students made and signed! They wanted to put something funny on each of them and on mine they put how my lipstick was blinding because I wore such a bright colour one day, how cute is that. They also said I made vegetables fun, I hope they were telling the truth. After our hugs goodbye, our co op sat us down and thanked us for the past seven weeks, gave us some feedback about our lessons that way and then we were done.
I was so nervous begginging this semesters fieldwork because not only was it in an elementary school, but I acutally had to teach and create lesson plans. I really love kids , but i was scared being placed in an elemnatary school would change my mind, and of course it didn’t. This was the first time I acutally felt like a teacher.
My co-op teacher was amazing, brilliant to say the least. It is only his third year of teaching and I swear he knows EVERYTHING. I could tell just teaching alongside of him that he is a better teacher than most of the teachers I have experienced myself. I have learned an immense amount of strategies, tips, etc., from him.
The feedback I recieved for my target sheets are the main things that stick out as the most crucial part of my experience. He always explained where I strived, where I needed improvment, and suggestions on how I could improve.
His use of technology in the class has opened my mind a whole lot more compared to how I used to be. The way he intergrates technology that is so useful today and will dveleop into our future gets the kids excited and ready to learn, i want my classroom to mimic the environment of his.
One principle I have stuck to throughout the years in my own philosophy is emphasizing the positives within the classroom and outside of it too. In my grade 5/6 i noticed that the students resonded to positive feedback and appreciation much quicker and better than negative reinforcment. If someone was being good and recieved a class dojo point for it, everyone would respond in the same way that student did. It seems as though positive reinforcment sparks youths mind a little bit quicker, making them less likley to rebel. I am glad that this experience reinforced my own beliefs within making a classroom a positive environment.
During my seven weeks, I was only able to teach 4 times when I was at the school. This is because of all the adventures and field trips and activities my class got to participate in. I am very glad i got to experience alot of excursions with them as it made for a real teaching experience. Its not always just baout lesso planning, its about excursions and interuptions and taking management startegies outside of the classroom but, also having fun and getting to bond with the students. So whenever one of my classmates asks me if I feel like i got cheated because i didnt get to teach as much as everyone else, I always say I feel like I got the best possible experience out of my field work because I experienced what it was like to teach inside and outside of the classroom, I got the real experience.
I feel as if i was able to more clearly develop who I am as a teacher through this fieldwork. I was tested by the students many times, and felt I stayed true to who I am and want to be as a teacher. My style of lesson planning has improved and I feel as if i have a better grasp on managment strategies whether that be eye contact, mobility around the room, and prjection of my voice.
Out of all the technical strategies and tools I have learned, it doesnt amount to the love that I have for the students I my class. The bonds we created, the laughs we shared, the simplistic interactions we made, the safe and positive environment we formed; these are the things I will remember most. Without these connections, I would feel like this experience would be a waste of time. It is the experiences gone through together on top of the learning that create a real teacher, and I feel as though my co op and classroom made me feel like an accomplished teacher. My overall goal was to reassure my beliefs were on the right track and to make sure I made connections with the students in order to gain their attention, respect and love. This experince reinfoced everything I have believed in about teaching and created an unbreakable bond with me and my students. I am so thankful for this oppurtunity and will miss my time there greatly.
Can’t wait to see what next year brings,