Friday, November 20, 2015
I have had a very positive experience with my field work over the course of the semester. Observing Mrs. Schetter's classroom made me realize without a doubt that I wanted to be a teacher, and it made me change from wanting to teach preschool or kindergarten to wanting to be a third grade teacher. Mrs. Schetter is the kind of teacher I hope to someday be like: one who respects and is respected by her students, who comes up with creative and new ways of learning, and one who is patient and does not stick to a rigid schedule, but rather goes with what works best for her students. These experiences have made me so excited for when I have my own classroom someday. I am so grateful I was able to observe in so many classrooms so early on in my education. Especially visiting Shaker High School and Mayfield Middle School, because I got to see what other levels of education I may be interested in, but they also led me even more to wanting to become an early childhood educator. At all of the schools I saw at least one teacher who was passionate about what they were doing, and that demonstrates to me that teaching is the most rewarding career I could go into. Through my experiences I learned that sometimes you have to think outside the norm and come up with creative ways to help your students learn, because the more fun the activity the more likely the students will be to fully engage in it and learn the material. I could not have asked to have better field experiences this semester.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
This I Believe Proposal
I believe that one of the most essential things in life is being able to communicate with others, including those who do not speak one’s native language. In order to do this, language needs to be taught to students in school, and that process of learning should not be started when the student reaches high school. By the time a student reaches high school it is very difficult for them to learn and grasp a completely new language, and to be able to speak it fluently. If students are taught a second language starting at young age, then they will be easily able to pick up the language and speak it as easily as they do their first language. There are many benefits of learning language at a young age compared to at the high school level.
Many research studies have shown that it is easier for a young child to pick up on and repeat new sounds; when learning a second language, young students are easily able to repeat the sounds they hear, and tend to not overthink everything they are saying. Students who are multilingual have been shown to do better on all aspects of standardized testing. Not only is learning a second language beneficial in an academic sense, but also out in the real world. Especially in the field of business, it is important to be able to communicate with partners around the world.
My experiences with trying to learn a second language made me believe that it is important to learn a foreign language as early in a child’s education as possible. I was not taught Spanish in grade school, but I took it in high school and found it difficult to pick up on it and memorize all the rules that came along with it. If I had learned it at a younger age I would have been fluent, and to this day I wish I knew Spanish fluently because it would help me get much further in my career after college. There is a great amount of research that has been done to show that learning a language is more beneficial than learning it later, that it helps a person in all aspects of their life, and that it provides many academic benefits. I want connect the benefits of learning a second language, and learning it early, with being more successful in all areas of life, and at every age. It has neurological and academic benefits, it creates a more culturally diverse environment, necessary for economic development and national security, because interaction amongst different cultures is an essential component for both. If foreign language is encouraged and enforced at young age in school systems, then not only will students be more educated, but the world will also learn how to communicate better with each other, and in turn there will be less misunderstandings and miscommunications. Some may consider learning a language at such a young age a waste of time because the time could be better spent learning things that specifically help improve standardized test scores. I am proposing that schools focus on something much more important than test scores: learning how to communicate with those who are different from what the norm is.
For my last day in Mrs. Schetter's class at Gesu I got to sit in on a science and social studies class. In social studies, the kids presented their Native American projects. After each child spoke, Mrs. Schetter had the other students raise their hands to see what they learned from the presentation. I thought this was a very good idea because it ensured the kids would pay attention to the student presenting, rather than having their minds be elsewhere while the presentations were happening. Next, I switched with those students and went to a science class where they were observing rocks that they brought in. They answered questions about their own individual rock, and were asked to describe it. Then, they got in random groups and put all their rocks in the middle of the desks. Each student read their description of their rock, while the other students tried to figure out which rock was being described to them. I thought this was a good idea because it engaged the students in a fun way while also forcing them to use scientific terms they had already learned in order to describe their rock. After that, I went with the kids to hear them sing Christmas songs for their upcoming Christmas concert in December. It was fun to see them all getting excited and into the songs. I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to observe in Mrs. Schetter's classroom over the past few weeks. It was an amazing experience and really reinforced my desire to someday become a teacher.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
My experience at Gearity School was overall pretty good. I observed in a kindergarten classroom. The main teacher was very good with the students and was patient and kind; the aid, on the other hand, constantly had something to yell at the children about. She did not offer them praise or encouragement, but really tore them down for little mistakes that they made. This made me not enjoy the experience very much, she had a very negative impact on the room. This trip also reinforced my thought that I would prefer to teach 2nd or 3rd grade; although the kids were adorable, I think they might be too dependent on me for help. I think this was a good experience in the sense that it helped direct me to what I really want to teach. I think I probably would have enjoyed the class better if I had not been so distracted by the constant yelling from the aid. I thought the school in general was very good, it seemed like there were a lot of different programs for all different kinds of students in order to meet each student's needs. The school had lots of colorful decorations to make it seem like a happier place to be, as did the kindergarten classroom that I observed in. I think that colorful posters and drawings can make any place seem more welcoming and happy, and that it definitely provides a more positive learning environment.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Monday morning I went to observe Mrs. Schetter's reading class again. Today, the kids were yet again reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Today, they read together as a class for a little bit and made predictions as they went along. After a little while, Mrs. Schetter split the kids up into pairs and had them read to each other, and then write down a "why" question and answer after they had finished. I thought breaking them up into pairs was a good idea because it made the practice their articulation and really forced them to be involved with the story. Writing a question after they finished reading helped them to better understand what they just read. They were also working a little bit on their tornado projects; each group focused on a different aspect of tornados, and all of their research will be put together in a booklet. Mrs. Schetter had me type up a list with all sorts of different fonts that the kids could type their papers with, and then she let them vote to see which one they liked the best. I thought this was a smart idea because it involved them more in the project and let them feel that they had a say in what they were working on, and it is important for the students to feel that their opinions are valued. When the students feel more empowered, they will be more confident and willing to actively participate in their learning. This is something I will be sure to implement in my own classroom someday.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
I went to Gesu again on Wednesday morning and observed Mrs. Schetter's reading class. Mrs. Schetter wanted the students to work on their tornado projects in class, and they were supposed to have finished most of it for homework the night before. What she soon realized was that most of the students did not complete it. Instead of losing her temper and yelling at the children, she told them that they needed to make sure they completed it for the next day, and that there were other things they needed to get done anyway. She was firm when she told them they needed to finish it for the next day, but she did not yell at them, which I think shows that she respects her students, and in return they respect her back. Next, the students read out of their book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Mrs. Schetter let the students take turns reading aloud, and helped them with hard vocabulary as they went along. She had them make predictions on what they thought would happen next in the novel. I thought this was a smart idea for them to do because it helped them be more engaged and interested in the story. This makes them more excited to read more into the novel and see if they are right or not. Since going to Gesu I have been considering teaching in a private school more than before, because I really like the atmosphere and structure of Mrs. Schetter's classroom compared to public schools that I have observed in. Mrs. Schetter is an amazing teacher and I have already learned so much from her and what is important for a classroom to be successful.