Sunday, July 26, 2009

Random Thoughts about Student Teaching

I have been writing down my thoughts about student teaching, my role in the classroom, and general thoughts about teaching. My CT encouraged me to do this and it has been a great process for reflecting on my expectations for this experience. I plan on looking back at these ideas at the end of the school year to see what has changed or stayed the same.

* Where do I want to be in the room?
- I do not really sit much when I’m in the classroom. I feel more comfortable and relaxed if I can move around the room. I would love to have a desk area at which I can organize my materials/planner/papers. This desk area does not have to be big at all; just large enough for me to keep my things organized and possible sit down and grade papers if I need to. I would like for my desk to be located in the back of the classroom so that I can see all of the students and not take up room in the front of the class. As long as I can have a good view of the class, that is fine. Like I said, I don’t think I’ll be sitting much anyway!

* What do I see as my role in the classroom?
- I would like to have a very involved role in classroom instruction, management, design, etc. I absolutely respect that this is your classroom first, but I would love for you to think of me as a colleague. I understand that I have an immense amount of knowledge to gain, but I also have much to contribute as well.

- Any grading, lesson planning, parent contacts, teaching that I can be a part of…bring it on!! I know that during the first few weeks, I want to learn as much as I can about how to run a classroom, but I definitely do not want to spend the entire first semester just sitting in a chair taking notes.

- I want the students to know that I hold just as much authority as the CT does in the classroom.

- I want to be able to model some of my CT’s teaching attributes while developing my own teaching style too (even though I know the last part will take quite a while).

- I want my CT to trust that I will give my all with every task that is presented to me

- I want to learn how to balance between being friendly and being friends with students. This is one of my biggest fears….being too nice to the students and them not respecting the authority I have as a teacher.

* What are some beliefs/ideas I have about teaching?
- Children are not out to get us…many times when they act out, there are much larger issues at work than the fact that I didn’t let them listen to their IPOD in class!

- Teaching encompasses much more than content; as stressful as the job may be, I believe that I will be much more than a teacher. To some, I will be a mom, counselor, social worker, etc. This is a task to which I am fully committed.

- Each day should be a blank slate (as difficult as this will probably be in real life). Leave the baggage of the previous day/period behind. Children are entitled to a second, third, fourth, and fifth chance because they are worth it. There will be a time when they get older when no one will give them a second chance. I figure they should take all they can get now!

- Clear communication of expectation is key. Problems result when students don’t know what/when they need to do something. There should be no guesswork involved in what takes place during the school day.

- Parents are very important in the educational experience of the child. Parents should be visible and encouraged to participate in the classroom in whatever ways they can. Even parents who were high school drop outs have valuable knowledge that they can share with their children and the other kids in the classroom.

- Students should not be punished or disciplined. I believe instead that there are behavioral expectations and there are positive and negative consequences that come along with maintaining those expectations or choosing not to.

- Rewards are okay every now and again, but I am a firm believer in intrinsic motivation. The true challenge for teachers is not how many pizza party’s students get for turning in their homework but how engaged and interested students are in our lessons. If they are not….we can forget about them turning in that homework!

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