For my field experience, I am placed in a grade 3 classroom for a morning once a week. So far I have learned a lot and experienced what it is like to be in a classroom from a teacher’s point of view, rather than from a student’s.
My First Day
I was incredibly nervous for my first field experience but quickly realized how much fun it was going to be. Upon arriving at the school, I met the other students who would be in the classroom with me, the principal, and the grade 3 cooperative teacher.
When the bell rang, the students all came rushing in, talking to each other and their teacher. The teacher explained to me that some students like to tattle and it’s often easier to let it go. Later in the day, she also explained that a couple students get frustrated very easily and the best thing to do is walk away for a minute and then come back and try again.
The school day for the students started with a assembly which had many student speakers. I thought this was a good ides as it teaches the students leadership and public speaking skills very early on.
Once we returned to the classroom, I noticed how almost all of the students seemed very eager and passionate about learning. They had so much energy, yet they focused it on what they were learning.
When we returned to the classroom the teacher explained that they were doing reading tests with the students and asked me to do few with the children one-on-one. I was excited to do this and to work with the students and get to know them better. I found it interesting how much the students’ reading skills varied.
Overall, my first morning flew by and I had a lot of fun.
Throughout the morning I was asked to help the students with more reading tests and I also helped a couple of students when they were working on math. These students were falling behind a little in their assignments, but it seemed like they just needed someone to help them stay on task and explain a couple questions.
I noticed that this school seems to put a lot of effort into involving the community, specifically the parents. On my second day the school had a liturgy and the back of the gym had chairs that were filled with parents. Also, it was mentioned on announcements that they school was having a reading night and that they were asking the students to bring their parents to come read with them. I think that it is very important to involve parents in their child’s learning.
I spent the first half of the morning working in the hallway with a small group of students at a time. They had read a chapter from a book the previous day and were supposed to record their answer to a question on the school tablets. At first, this was stressful, and it was hard to keep some of the students focused, but I felt like it got a lot easier very quickly and I enjoyed getting to work with them
This week I learned how teachers honour diverse ways of learning by teaching things in different ways such as reading, doing examples on the board for the students to see, or by using things that give a more hands on approach and a better visual. Teachers also provide support by breaking students into small groups to help those who need it.
There are also many ways the teachers promote knowledge. They encourage and answer questions which help the students to learn and to better understand. The classroom that I’m in has many posters, and they are very encouraging. Teachers also try to make learning fun and keep the students engaged. An example of this would be what I described when I helped the students in the hall. The tablets were a fun and unique experience for the students, and they knew they would have to answer a question, so this helped them to stay focused when the teacher was reading the book.
This week I also learned about how teachers seem to rely on many things but I think the most important is each other. They go to one another for help and advice as well as to share tips and things they have learned. I’ve also noticed that in my class, the teacher looks forwards to her prep time, so she relies on the physical education teacher to come get the students so that she can get her work done, Technology is becoming more popular in education and teachers use it for things such as grades and learning tools. I think teachers also rely on the constant things in the school days. I picked up on this with the importance of the prep period, but the teacher also mentioned that she put the schedule up on the board everyday and some of the students make a bit of a fuss if the schedule isn’t followed. I think both the students and the teacher like things to be completed as expected and that this provides some order to the class.
I believe that everyone is always learning and that even though the students should be the ones learning in a classroom, the teacher is too. The teacher can pick up on things that will help individual students as well as new teaching techniques. Teachers also learn a lot of each other as well as from going to professional development days.
This week we focused on inclusive education. Being that it was Halloween, the entire school spent the morning doing an activity called “break the record” where students would try to do the most push ups, for example, in a minute. During this time, my cooperative teacher had some of the students stay back to get caught up on their assignments or work on a couple of pages. She signaled out one boy who was pretty far behind but informed me that he was actually very smart but because of the language barrier he needed someone to help him read the questions.
There are many forms of diversity in schools that are easy to see. These can include things such as a language barrier, cultural differences, or a disability. Some things that may not be quite as obvious are learning disabilities or the student’s home life or problems at home. These things may not always be noticed; however, I think, and hope, that as a teacher gets to know their class, they pick up on things such as these and give students the support they need. The teachers assist these students by examining different learning techniques and by giving the students extra one-on-one time. The grade 3 teacher often has me and the other student doing her field experience sit at the back table and help the students who are falling behind or those who have questions.
As we walked around the school and observed the students doing their activities and having fun, we noticed a couple of posters that encouraged diversity as well as respect. The teachers always try their hardest to ensure that all of the students are involved and feel like they are part of the group and that they belong. During “break the record” it was nice to see how the grade 8 students who maybe didn’t want to play the games, were still involved in the day’s activities by running the different stations and assisting the younger students. I also noticed that the teachers make a strong effort to include everyone. A couple of times during my classes physical education class, the teacher made special note to include everyone, such as the ball had to be tossed to each team member before the team could score. This is very encouraging to see and I think it is very important to teach acceptance at a young age.