Happy New Year!
I would like to spend this first post reflecting on the past year as we transition into 2015! Below is just a short list of some of the of the events that took place in my life this past year.
- Part-time student teaching- Kindergarten
- Hosted Pepperdine’s Songfest
- Coordinated a weekly student-led acapella worship service
- Sang in an acapella group, Won by One
- Graduated from Pepperdine University with the Class of 2014
- Toured the country with Won by One for two months
- Full-Time student teaching- 4th Grade
- Led worship at my home church in El Segundo, California
- Watched my brother say “I do” to the love of his life.
Needless to say I had a pretty eventful year. There are a lot of areas to process and reflect on, but I think the most appropriate would be to reflect on what my kindergarten and 4th grade students taught me this past year.
I spent the spring of 2014 in a kindergarten classroom. I had a total of 22 students, 19 of which were English Language Learners (ELL). Through constant repetition of the basic lesson on the alphabet principle, I learned that I must be patient with all of my students, especially in Kindergarten. Patience with students yelling the letter “d” when the sight card says “b.” Patience when my wonderful students spilled paint everywhere while having fun painting at the art station.
During my full time student teaching, I’ve experienced tremendous growth as a teacher. I feel that I have finally figured out how my personality fits in a classroom. Throughout the semester I learned three lesson from my students in Room 30.
Lesson 1: Never assume. One of my biggest struggles as a student teacher was that I would assume a student would understand a concept. This was especially true when teaching language arts. I found myself not breaking down a concept enough for students, which resulted in students feeling lost. In my later lesson planning, I learned that I had to think through every step, making sure each step was both obtainable and simple for students. This process helped me overcome issues with assumptions.
Lesson 2: Relate to the students. I know, this concept seems elementary, but throughout all of my student teaching placements, I’ve kept learning and relearning this lesson. With my love of anything nerdy, sports and theatre, I found that I was able to relate to most of the students on one level or another. For example, many of my students were Los Angeles Dodgers fans, but we had some San Francisco Giants fans. Naturally, this led to fierce end of the school “debates” over who was the better ballclub. I found myself using those teams in math lessons more often in order to keep students engaged.
Lesson 3: Technology is simply fantastic when used as a tool and not to pacify. This semester my master teacher and I had many opportunities to effectively use iPads in elementary education. It was quite an adventure that the students took. They used the iPads to design a 3D model of an insect they created, then conducted research, used google applications to create and share word files, and finally filmed a “mockumentary” to tell a legend.
I am incredibly thankful for my time in these two classrooms. The lessons I’ve learned in these spaces have shaped my teaching style, which I will take with me wherever I teach. Thank you 2014. You have been good to me.