Wednesday, December 21, 2011

25 Days in the Life - Becoming a Teacher

Teacher candidate... student teacher... call it what you want.  It's an experiment in learning and teaching.  I've just finished my first 5 week practical experience, placed in a classroom of middle years learners, mentored by a teacher, advised by a Faculty representative.  Some of my learning in the first 25 days: Tales from the classroom.

1.  A group of complete strangers accepted me and made me part of their lives, quite instantly.
2.  Student response to a research project when I suggested books as a research source (as opposed to internet-only):  "BOOKS ???!!!" in a shocked voice.
3.  Everything can be a fraction -- 25/25 days of teaching, 5/5 weeks of practicum, one (1) practicum finished. Parts of a whole.  Equivalent fractions. 
4.  Math facts are a fact of life. You gotta figure out how to figure out the basics.  I have to figure out how to teach them.
5. A hot classroom gets hotter when 20+ bodies are mingling in the room. A few times I felt like I was melting.
6. I had to quell my own giggles when a student got "busted" for blithely doing something contrary to what had been requested -- and how the student snapped to attention as the footsteps came up behind the desk.
7. Sometimes you just have to move forward and look to the next day or week and try something new.
8. The internet connection generally goes down when you want to use it to illustrate or demonstrate a particular concept.  Be prepared to find another way to teach the information.
9. Families are important. Don't forget the impact of the family.
10. It's an international world in our classrooms.  Exciting to meet students whose origins are from places I thought were exotic when I was a kid. Equally exciting to hear Indigenous students talk about their heritage with pride.
11. Project-based learning rocks! Doing it well is my personal challenge as I move forward.
12. Personalities outside the classroom ... something new to experience every day.
13. Counting pennies is a great way to teach someone about estimation/guessing ... it was an excellent practical way to see how close students came to understanding amounts of money/pennies.
14. Students love being read to. And I love reading ... it's a win/win.  Pace myself.
15. I want to do a novel study.  Or literature circles.
16. "When are we going to do real science?"  This from a student when we were talking about doing a project on nutrients and labeling, part of the Manitoba science curriculum.
17. Smart technology is only as smart as the user.
18. You can integrate art into all facets of teaching.
19. "I just love this!".  The student who loves figuring out how to "do" math.
20. Diversity compels us to teach creatively.  Inclusivity means more than just a body in the room. Doing it is work that requires input from many individuals.
21. Marks matter.  To me (as a student) and to my students.  I want to know how I've done and how they've done.  
22. But, what's important is how I "do" assessment in a way that matters to my teaching and to their learning. For, of, in, about -- it helps me figure out better ways to teach. Assessment is always ongoing.
23. The Tim Tam slam -- bite the ends off a Tim Tam biscuit (an Aussie wonder that is available in Winnipeg, via Superstore, London Drugs).  Dip one end into a cup of coffee, slurp coffee through biscuit, and quickly bring the Tim Tam into your mouth before it disintegrates... quick, it will fall apart fast!
24. I was out of my element when I started.  I was frightened. It became a new and wonderful experience.  Thanks to the students, the classroom teacher, a new teacher in the school, and fellow U of M students -- it became a learning and teaching experience that has re-invigorated me.
25.  I'm going to miss them.  And I want to go back.

No comments:

Post a Comment