Week 1: Intro to Classroom

It’s hard to believe we’re already two weeks into our second semester and have the opportunity to spend two full days in an elementary classroom. Unlike last semester where we were limited to time and opportunities to participate this year we will be responsible for lesson planning and administration, sitting in on meetings and conference nights, conducting a case study on a student and more time to learn from the teachers actions and performance.

This week I finished the first two days and one of the first thought I had was that my comfort level was significantly higher then my first experience observing at the school. Of course I had time to develop a relationship with my coordinating teacher who I gratefully refer to as my mentor but I am also armed with more knowledge and practice. The more I observe and actively participate in the classroom in addition to studying and research the more confident I feel in my teaching skills and abilities. Bottom line, these opportunities are so beneficial to my learning and are effectively molding and preparing me for my full time internship this fall.

Upon arrival I realized there is much to be done before the morning bell rings. My coordinating teacher is very prepared but random and unexpected tasks seem to pop up. On the first day there was a new student and on the second day the students had to take a countywide reading comprehension test so we were prepping the room and students. The phrase managed chaos comes to mind.

The classroom I am in has two classes (AM and PM). I was able to jump right in with the AM class because we were able to work together during my observations last semester. After walking around and helping out with bell work we moved into guided reading. I sat in with a small group and the reading coach. The students were initiating book clubs so I was able to witness the start of something new. The reading coach reviewed reading techniques referred to as reciprocal teaching (predicting, questions, clarification) and had them write out notes to create a folder. These would be used to help guide students through the readings as well as provide them with talking points during their book discussions. For the next rotation, I was trusted to lead my own group. I got to take the group to the reading coaches room where I helped them pick a book for their book club. It was nice getting to explore the resources the school has for the students and teachers and the kids appreciated the “field trip”. Unfortunately, I did not get to finish the entire preparation before it was time for the students to go to specials but I did feel the instruction and participation was thorough.

When the PM class came in I had to formerly introduce myself and advised them that they could call me Ms. S. After introductions my coordinating teacher used my last name to do a quick “lesson” on how complicated the English language can be. She wrote school and Scholl on the board and had them sound out the differences. She then ended the conversation advising the students to call me by my full and formal last name. I thought her approach was such a great way to teach students about the difficulties of language and to help them learn how to pronounce my name and recognize me as a professional who should be identified formally and respectfully. I imagine I will introduce myself in the same way she did as I get my own classroom and students.

Another moment that I would have liked to improve on took place when I responded to a student with “because I said so”. I always hated that phrase because while it may suggest that I have power in the classroom it lacks explicit reasoning and therefore seems ineffective to me. However, it slipped out of my mouth and left me thinking about what I could have said. One idea I came up with is “because these are the rules we have established”. I’ll still think of other things but I really do not want to be a teacher who runs her classroom like a dictator.

We have a lot ahead of us this semester and I know I’ll be learning so much! I look forward to sharing my trial experiences and thoughts as I continue down the road to becoming a successful and effective teacher.

Until next week,

Erica

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4 thoughts on “Week 1: Intro to Classroom

  1. I think it is really nice that your teacher used your name as part of a lesson. Sometimes it is hard for students to remember new teacher names, but now I’m sure they will definitely have an easy time remembering it! Also, since your teacher made you really involved right off the bat, that will make it easier for you to gain the students’ respect in order to lead truly effective lessons.

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  2. Hi Erica!
    I really enjoyed being “walked” thru your day. I think it’s awesome that your teacher and you have created a relationship because I know we all need someone to go to during our new role and it’s someone you have the ability to work closely with. I liked that your teacher created a lesson out of your name because it shows she wants the students to view you as a professional not just as a “helper” in the classroom. I also liked that your teacher involved you throughout the first couple of days and allows you to add your own techniques to her classroom instead of just having you observe how she teaches and expect you to follow what she does.

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  3. I like that when you came into your classroom you had two experiences–one where there was already a formation of trust from the previous semester and the second where you had a brand new classroom. I also agree that was a fun and informative way to introduce to your students how to say your last name and how you decided that you would also do this in your own classroom in the future. I’m really glad you got to already step out of your student shell and have the role of the teacher when you led your own guided reading. I look forward to doing the same in my classroom.

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  4. It is amazing how much more we can do and experience in our practicum than in the short amount of time we are given in our field experiences. I feel the added amount of time gives us more of a feeling of belonging and ownership, so we are more open to jump in and intervene with students. We suddenly not only more responsibility in the class, but a responsibility for the class as well.
    The morning seems to be a busy time for everyone. There seems to be no end to the amount of things that come up in the morning. I know I wish there was more time to talk with my CT about the day ahead, but we are constantly interrupted but something.
    I am happy to hear you have a great CT. There is something to be learned from her creativity and flexibility in teacher, like using your name for a lesson. I think we all have moments of frustration with our students where we wish they would just do as we say because we asked them to. Hopefully, we are asking our students to do something for a reason and are able to relay the purpose of our lesson or even just needing quiet for a moment to them.

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