This semester I was given the opportunity to gain more experience as a future teacher by pre interning in the grade 3 classroom at Macneill Elementary School in Regina, Sk. During this experience there were many highlights, some challenges, and I learned lots about creating lessons and I had the opportunity to receive feedback on those lessons I created. I was very excited to have the chance to gain experience teaching lessons, gain classroom experience, and have a chance to interact with the students that I was teaching.
My highlight of my experience was having the chance to interact with the students as well as teach my lesson to the students. I learn best through experience and I think a lot of people do. While going into the classroom I was able to reflect on my own teaching, as well as my co-op teachers. I was able to notice my strengths while doing my lessons and working with the students, as well as notice the things I need to improve on. Each week I showed up I came with a goal in mind on things I want to improve on, and each week I came back my co-op teacher said she had noticed my improvement and that I had worked on the things she suggested.
During this experience my co-op teacher provided me with groups of students during certain classes to work with. These students usually consisted of those students who struggled in a certain areas and needed some extra guidance in their work. While working with these groups, it really helped me to get to know the students better, as well as learn what their strengths and weaknesses were. It made me reflect on myself as a future teacher and how providing differential learning to the students can help them achieve their goals, succeed, and feel comfortable in my classroom.
During my field experience I had the chance to teach a wide variety of subjects. My goal coming into the classroom was to not only work in the subjects that were my strengths, but as well as teach other core subject areas in order to challenge myself and gain experience in other areas. While teaching the different subject areas I found visual art, which is my strength, the most challenging. Although the content of the other lessons were not as familiar it made me study and practice more. The core subjects I taught did not contain as many materials as visual art and it was managing my materials as well as the time is where I received my most feedback.
In art, I want to teach my students about a variety of different mediums, but I realized during this experience that in order to do that I need to learn to manage my materials as well as my time. My first art class I spent too much time distributing the materials, cleaning up, as well as doing the whole lesson. I realized that I need to find ways in which I can use the different materials more efficiently so the class does not become chaotic and so we do not waste useful class time. Through the semester I noticed how the teacher gives each student responsibilities by having them become a classroom helper. I learned that this is a useful tool to have being the only adult in the room. Students are willing to help out which they enjoy, and at the same time they are learning important responsibilities in the classroom. The classroom helper became one of my tools to managing my time during art class as well as having students come in rows to get their supplies.
Before the activities I would explain the steps to the students, have an example provided so they have an idea of the final product, and then have the students repeat the steps back to me while I wrote them on the board. This saved time for any questions regarding the steps, students who forgot the next step could look up and review the steps needed which was located on the board.
After we discussed the steps, I would have students come up in rows to receive the supplies. I felt this worked best because if I had the material on the student’s desk before hand they would not pay attention to the directions or the lesson. Before handing out the material, I would go over how to use the medium and any tips I had for them. While doing the activity, if I noticed going around a repetition of the same question of would get the classes attention and talk about the question they have asked as a class so I do not have to repeat myself 29 times.
During this experience I was really able to get to know the students in my class. I started to learn who needed extra help in certain subjects, and I would be close by the students at this time. I was able to learn a bit about the students and their own lives at home, it was here I learned the importance of getting to know your student on another level that is not only academic. By getting to know the students and their lives as home, it makes you understand them better as learners. A student might be acting up that day, but if you have no clue it might be because a divorce settlement they are in between at home you will never understand what makes them the people they are and what effects their emotions.
I really enjoyed my experience at Macneill school this semester, and I will truly miss learning from both the teachers and students. This experience has not only made me want to become a teacher even more, but it has given my confidence in myself and as a future educator. Through my lessons I was able to learn what my strengths are, and I was also able to notice on the things I need to work on. I was very fortunate to have an amazing co-op teacher that not only provided me amazing insight and answers regarding teaching, but was able to teach me through observation and gave me a chance to work with groups of students independently. Through this practicum I learned I still want to work on managing my materials and classroom while teaching art. Next semester I hope to improve this and learn what it is I need to provide to the students who contain different stories, different lives and who are in a high school level.