All Good Things Come to an End – Overall Fieldwork Experience

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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,

Alyssa

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The Tables Have Turned…

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In my 7th week at my placment, I got to judge the grade five to eight science fair! I remember when I was in grade seven and I had to compete in a heritage fair. Oh boy, was I ever nervous and the judges scared me to death (look whose the judge now). So when I got my clipboard to begin judging, all of the emotions of nerve came flodding into my mind and I began to wonder if the students were feeling the same way I did when I competed. Every table I judged, I made sure to ensure the students that I am just another person here to listen to them talk about their projects and that their is no pressure. I wanted them to feel more comfortable and I think being relaxed myself, really helped them to feel at ease as well. I judge twelve projects, including some of my students, but also other grades. It was awesome to see how creative these students were in their topics and how they executed it. Grading each project I found to be tough. The regualr person in me wanted to be bias towards my class and give them amazing grades, but the teacher in me knew I had to create an equal playing field for everyone to have a fair chance at a good grade. I met a lot of new students and teachers that afternoon and enjoyed every minute of it. Again, it was another week where I felt like I could have a ton of fun without a ton of pressure. In my week five reflection I metioned a boy with disablitlies that I sat with on th ebus and tried to get to know. He was competing in the science fair and created a project about volcanoes. I was not judging him, but decided to stop by and say hi. We talked for ten minutes about his project and how he has visited real volcanoes. And while I was reading, he came up and put his head on my arm and just stood there for a bit. I felt so honoured for him to open up to me as my students had previously let me know he is very shy. When I told him I had to move on he gave me a big hug. It was an awesome afternoon where I not only got to learn more about the students, but bond with the school as a whole.

Thanks,

Alyssa

The Vegetables Return

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My 6th week of teaching was my chance to finish up my French vegetable lesson with my 20 minute powerpoint on how to pronounce each word properly. On each slide I used a picture of the vegetable, the word in French and then little sounds or words to sound out each word. During the powerpoint, I asked each student to write down the word in English, the word in French, and how to sound it out. I would ask the students by a nod of the head of they had finished writing the word, in between each slide. This worked for most of the students except for a few towards the back of the class who i didnt notice had their heads down the whole time. After my lesson was over, which most of the children responded and participated to very well, I sat down with my co -op and he gave me some pointers on how to make sure those kids who werent, would participate. He said between each slide I should have walked around the room while each student was writing in their notes, just to make sure everyone was doing as told. That was an extremley helpful tip. He told me to start roaming the class more rather than just station myself at the front. This is something I have been stuggling with, but I am slowly mproving my my movement. We went curling immeidatley after my lesson, I helped out the same group again, and it was a lot of fun. We had a lot of laughs and cheers and success with the curling games. The children were sad when it was over as that was their last curling experience of the year with the school. My partner did not even get a chance to teach when we returned as the bus driver got lost and when we got back it was five minutes until hometime. Even though we have been rushed for the past few weeks, I don’t mind. It is nice to experience what really goes on inside of a school. We have gotten a very fuffilling experience with all these activites we get to take part in and also our lesson plans we get to teach. The variety of lengths our lesson plans have been, have been an awesoe learning experience and have helped in my ability to adapt to a certain time frame, and narrow down a lesson to what is most important for the students to learn. This week was crazy bsuy again, but very educational and fun, I am glad I got to experience it!

Thanks,

Alyssa

I’m Back and More Ready Than Ever!!

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After three weeks of not being at my field experience because of spring break, skiing, and my grandpa passing away, it felt absolutley amazing to be back! I felt like I was doing my first week all over again. The excitement and nerves set in quickly, but as soon as I walked into the door, I had the warmest welcome from the students. I was greeted with hugs upon hugs! That was one of the best feelings I have ever had. As soon as lunch recess had ended the students quickly made their way to their desks as they knew they were leaving soon for curling. My partner taught her music lesson in 15 minutes, however the students had no time to do the assignment because the bus was early and we had to get going. It was a very rushed day, however a lot of fun! When we all loaded up on the bus, I sat with one of the FIAP students who was very quiet. I was able to get him to say a little bit about his excitment towards curling, however the students let me know when I got off the bus, that he rarely talks to anyone. I took charge of one of the curling lanes. I really got to test out managment startegies to keep the kids on task. I really had a good chance to bond with these students though. They were very hard working and very supportive of eachother, so it was a great time. I found a lot of students complaining that they already knew how to curl and they didnt need practise, they just wanted to start. The phys ed teacher let them know that everyone should feel on an equal level so that when playing time comes everyone feels they have a fair shot. I really liked how he calmly explained this to the students. When we returned from curling, I had fourteen minutes to do my lesson. I taught french once again this week, but this time it was on vegetables. I knew I would not have enough time to go through all of th vegetables and how to pronounce them and give them my handout sheet to work on. So i decided that for this class I would immediatley give the students my hand out so they could practise the words on their own first, that way they would become more farmiliar with them. Then the next week I would go through the vegetables and the proper pronunciation. The handout they recieved was a list of English vegetables with the French translation directly across from it, these were under the title of ingredients. Across form the French words were blank spaces underneath a “recipe” column. The assignment was to use the french words in order to create a salad! They also had an empty bowl on the bottom of the page to draw their own salad! The kids loved this. I did have a few that said they didn’t eat salad, and my co-op interupted them by saying, “don’t think of it as a salad then, think of it as an icecream sundae with a ton of topping”, that is such a cool idea that could be used for any lesson where students are questioning things. The kids were ver well behaved during my mini lesson, mainly because they were tired from a long day of skating and curling, so I found my delivery to be made with ease. It was a very nice first week back. Although it was hectic, it was more fun than anything else!

Thanks,

Alyssa

 

These Things Take Priority

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I was unable to make it to my fourth week of teaching on March 3rd, 2014. My Grandfather had passed away that weekend from ALS and his funeral was on the same day as my field experience. Even time like this are an exception to many rules, I still get very nervous about missing things. I emailed my co-op teacher explaining why I could not be in and he completley understood and said “things like this take priority, and I completley support you in your decision to not come to school today”. That took a huge amount of weight off of my shoulders. He told me he was going to saya prayer with the students for my family which made me feel rather humbled. I have only known my co op and his students for a few weeks, but because their hearts are so big they had already begun to feel like family. My Grandfather was diagnosed with ALS six months ago. The doctors reassured us he had two to five years to live. However, on top of the ALS he also had Alzheimers disease. The combination of these two gruesome monsters deterioarted my grandpa physically, spirtually and emotionally very quickly and he passed away. It was a shock and took a huge tole on my ability to stay focused and on track. After the funeral i felt closure and began to make my way back to normal routine, however he is always in the back of my mind. I just wanted to let you guys know that things like these do take priority, and it is a time to be with your family. Dont worry about other things for those moments of loss, just take the time you need, it will be easier and better in the long run.

Thanks,

Alyssa

No Teaching this Week!

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This week, my students went on a skiing trip to Mission Ridge Ski Lodge. Therefore,me and my partner were unable to go to the school this week for our third week of field work. It was nice to have a week off as all  of the lesson planning along side of five classes is getting pretty tough. I have been finding myself staying up very late the night before each field work in order to get it done, and sometimes I am even waking up early to put last minute touches on the plan. Next week, the students have skiing in the morning, and then curling in the afternoon, so my parnter and I each only have 15-20 minutes to fit in a mini lesson…. we will see how that goes!

Wish me luck,

Alyssa