Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week Six: Diving In Head First...Yikes!

So far my field experience has been fantastic. I've been engaged in activities with students EVERY day, and my coteacher definitely isn't afraid to hand over the classroom and let me dive in headfirst (twice already). Most recently I've been working with the students who are behind on their work and had an alternate activity to work on while the rest of the class worked on a symposium activity having to do with the crusades. This has given me a fabulous opportunity to observe classroom dynamics, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I can compare her second, fourth, AND fifth period classes.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I've been staying at the middle school during third period when my cooperating teacher has a planning period, and it has been a wonderful opportunity to familiarize myself with the school (she gave me a tour and the principal gave me a t-shirt), meet other teachers, watch some student presentations in other classes, learn to use the SmartBoard, and grade student papers! Not to mention, it's a great time to bounce ideas off of each other and discuss how the classes went and how we can modify them for the upcoming periods.

I love that she creates a positive, student classroom environment and the ease with which I have transitioned into a position of authority in the classroom. I appreciate the freedom she gives me in terms of how I approach activities, classroom management, etc. Even when she turns the classroom over to me she reminds me that I don't have to do it exactly the way she did and to feel free to do whatever's comfortable to me. The fact that I have been so involved in the classroom makes it far easier to jump in and teach a lesson despite the nerves.

My goal throughout the remainder of my placement is to achieve the same comfort level I have working with smaller groups of students when I'm addressing the class as a whole. It's frustrating when I feel as if I've finally figured out who I want to be in the classroom and what that's going to look like and then get up there and NOT be that teacher. It's clearly just a matter of working out the nerves, but I'd really be able to cross that threshold!