Be Great. Be Awesome.

Going into my pre-internship experience I hoped to learn lots of things from my co-op teacher, make some connections with students, try out teaching some of my lessons,  and fall in love with teaching even more than I already do!  I really wanted this pre-internship experience to be great, and I’m going to work at making that happen throughout my time.

My day was a little chaotic, but it gave me many opportunities to see the world of a “real” teacher. In our university classes, we often think of the “ideal” scenario, but in reality, there are a lot of factors that can change how something actually works out, and I definitely saw some of those scenarios happen today. I also tend to focus my work in university towards the ideal reaction from students, or at least what I think would be ideal. Today I got a bit of a reality check as I worked with a group of students that was not really what I had in my mind as the “ideal,” but actually found them really fun to work with!

IMG_2300In the physical education classes I took part in this morning we played volleyball. While I was never personally a fan of participating in phys ed classes focused on a specific sport as I never felt good enough to play, these students all seemed to really be having a good time, which told me that they all really just liked being active and participating. Although the class was set up around volleyball specific skills, all of the students were active 100% of the time, no one was left out, and the students were all very supportive of each other, even if their serves didn’t make it over the net. I also really enjoyed being able to walk around the court as they were practicing drills and ask them questions to help them improve their technique. They all knew the answers, but just needed a little nudge to get there! I love that about teaching; tapping into students’ knowledge and letting them show you that they know how to do something! I loved seeing students succeed after they solved their own problems.

Just before lunch, after students finished their math test, my partner and I got the chance to teach our introductory lesson, and it was a huge success! It was great to be able to do it a little later in the morning after we had gotten to observe the class for a bit, as we had a better idea how to engage with them. We played a modified version of 2 Truths and a Lie, and had the students try to guess who the card belonged to before trying to figure out the lie, and it worked out perfectly. The students loved trying to figure out whose card it was, and showed such care and connection to their class mates! We were able to keep all of the students engaged for the whole activity, learned their names, and got them really excited to work with us, which was our goal. I felt nervous at first, but after seeing how much fun the kids were having it got a lot easier. I just hope I’ll be able to continue this flow into my lesson next week!

This is as close to canoeing as we got.

This is as close to canoeing as we got.

Before arriving today, we found out that we would get to go canoeing with the grade 7 students, which was really exciting! The students were really excited that we were going with them, and we were geared up for a great afternoon. However, when we arrived at the lake, we found out it was too windy to go out, and had to go back to the school. This set up one of those “ideal situations failed” scenarios. We now had an extra 30 minutes of time to fill with something! We ended up taking the students outside to play a game of football, and it gave us a great chance to just chat with our co-operating teacher. This experience gave me the thought though, to perhaps start a collection of short lessons or activities that could be used to fill such times as this. Maybe along the same lines of the “date jar” I made for my sister and her husband, I could create a “learning jar” that could have fun ideas to get the students thinking, and having fun.

At the close of the day I was able to help out several students in their French class. Like in the volleyball lessons, I loved being able to guide students to figuring out the answer themselves, and it was rewarding to see them smile when they made the right connections. It also showed me how in a class of 20-some students, some will find one task very simple and be finished it in less than half the time of another student. It made me realize that differentiating the work that students do in the class will be very important to make sure that they are not only all successful in understanding the concepts being taught, but also that they are challenged.

My first day was certainly eye-opening to the realities of the classroom, and gave me things to consider when planning lessons for this class. There are some students that are really outgoing, and others who aren’t as much. Some students seem to be the “cool kids,” and others really want to be part of the gang. Some students are really smart, and others are challenged by most everything in school. There are so many things to consider when teaching, not only this grade level, but this class. I think that this experience will help me consider different modifications for lessons, a variety of options for performing tasks, and strategies for assessment. I’m really looking forward to many more weeks with this group, and with my co-operative teacher, who seems like he will really be helpful to guide me in the right direction, and give great tips as new teachers. Next week I’ll be teaching my first lesson on my own in ELA, somehow incorporating reading and writing strategies with adventuring! Wish me luck!

I look forward to continuing on my journey to become a great teacher, just like these folks:

What goals do you have to become a better teacher?
If you’re a new or pre-service teacher like me, what are you scared about or how are you going to tackle these new challenges?
If you’ve got some experience in the classroom, what advice would you give new and pre-service teachers?

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