Sunday, February 19, 2012

Four Week Reflections

My first four weeks as "Student Teacher" have been a great experience, one which I will always looks back on with special reflection. Not only in getting to know a new school, students, faculty, staff, and procedures, but learning more about myself and why I enjoy the classroom experience. No day is ever the same, and I'm always on the lookout for those moments which define good learning (not just on the part of my students but for me as well).

As an ESL teacher I have a first-hour class with three Level 1 second language learners, and I am continuously amazed by their desire to acquire basic English in order to communicate with friends at school. I've watched them pass in the hallways while classmates offer greetings and smiles, but they want more than just "Hello" and "How's it going?" They seek opportunities to discuss culture, news and things that everyday American teenagers talk about...but a language barrier prevents that from being fully cultivated. My Friday Review Quiz indicates they are slowly making strides in common interactions like telling time, counting, and know what day of the week it is, but I'm sure they want to speed up the process in order to improve upon their fluency. It has to be frustrating knowing that you want to get somewhere quickly without understanding everything which has to take place in that journey.

After serving up my first test to the World Geography class, I set some time aside to analyze the various test scores...thinking about why this person did so well and why that person struggled with specific questions. Tests should do more than reveal who 'gets it' and who doesn't...and a good teacher will look into ways to adapt to the learning styles of their students. There are a handful of individuals who I want to double-back and instigate changes in the way I transmit information.
In closing, it is important to note that I find my best thinking taking place at the end of the day when I reflect back on events of the day and plan ahead for coming lesson plans. As it was in the business world, it's about thinking what I would do differently and making good notes. Some people punch out at the end of the school day, but those who truly desire to see themselves grow will keep their focus on the ultimate prize.