"Looking back on my twelve weeks of student teaching at P.S. 26Q, I have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I’m especially thankful to my cooperating teachers for being as welcoming as they were. Mrs. Georgatos and Mrs. Stromberg are extremely dedicated and seasoned in their profession and take such great pride in calling themselves teachers. I saw in them an attitude about teaching I also hope to attain when I’ve had my own room for as long as they both have.
Having had many long-term substitute teaching jobs over the past year and a half, I was not new to the classroom environment. I was, however, new to observing other teachers in their own particular environment.
Looking back, there are many things I’ve learned about classroom management. I’ve observed that all teachers raise their voice. I even found myself doing it a few times, and when I reflect on it, I realize it’s not how I want to relate to my classroom. I saw my cooperating teachers yell, and it’s not because they haven’t taught their kids routines, or told them what they expect, it’s because they need control and order at a particular moment when they’re not getting it. I think the key is composure. Consistent and constant composure at all times. I will talk to my students in a direct manner, strive to communicate thoroughly, and try to never raise my voice since it heightens the energy level of the classroom, rather than easing it. My students will learn to respect me if I don’t waver in my calm, cool, and collected demeanor. This is what I aim for.
Also, from observing Mrs. Georgatos’s 5th grade and Mrs. Stromberg’s 1st grade, I’ve learned how crucial it is to plan. I’ve always been a good planner, but after observing how one split second of undirected time can snowball into quite a predicament for the teacher, I realized how over-prepared a teacher actually has to be. I hope to utilize every square inch of my classroom with meaningful activities for my students to choose to do (insert term student-directed learning here). No matter what grade I teach, I will have multiple centers that the kids will become familiar with and where they can go when finished with work early. Such centers include a make-your own story center, a collage corner, math games center, an educational magazine center (maybe National Geographic for kids), a drama center, etc.
Through my student teaching observations, I’ve also learned that communication is an irreplaceable practice to have in your classroom. I mean this on an academic level and I mean this on a personal, relatable level with my students. On an academic level, I’ve learned that communicating various explanations of the same concept is key. I’ve observed that each student learns differently, so I need to approach the teaching of a skill at many different angles. I plan to do this through extensive interactive use of the SMART Board, various visuals (charts, graphs, illustrations by me, timelines, etc.), small group and one-on-one conferences, parent-cooperation at home, etc. On a personal level, constant communication is key to create that community atmosphere in the classroom: my students and I work as one entity, a unit to make the classroom work. I plan to have a CQC Box (Comments Questions Concerns Box) in which my students can place any comment, question, or concern they write on an index card for me to read. I’ve already come up with ideas like the ‘Trust-o-Meter’ to communicate to the students how the classroom family is built on trust. I would say to my students, “the more I trust you to be good and do the right thing, the more you can trust me to make your classroom as lively and enriching as I can.” The Trust-o-Meter would show that visually. I’ve also come up with the idea of the ‘Sound-o-Scope.’ This would be a visual way to communicate to the students where I’d need the volume level of their voice to be at any given point in the day. I would also send home a monthly classroom newsletter to communicate with parents, and create a classroom website where I’d post the homework and daily happenings of my room.
Maintaining composure in the classroom, over-planning, and providing constant enriching communication are just three of the hundreds of things I’m taking away from this wonderful experience. Perhaps most importantly of all, I’ve learned that I really and truly can do this and be great at it. It is a profession I have such affinity and respect for, and hope I will only get better with each passing year I work at it."
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I swear, since the first meeting with my supervisor on February 2nd, I walked out and said to myself,
"Oh, no. This has got to be done with...like now."
...and at precisely 2:40pm today, I am officially done with student teaching!
Gosh, remember my first day? [Feels like it was ages ago.]
Back to gettin' paid for subbing [*yay* for $$], and hopefully working toward getting magically, divinely hired for September.
please God please God please God please God please God pleeeeaaaasssseeee.
In the meantime...
...I'll be bloggin', I'll be joggin' and bikin' and I'll be subbin' and schoolin', and we'll be Summerin' it up, ya'll, pretty soon.