This semester and the time I have spent at my placement have flown by! It’s sad knowing that I won’t be going back to my class next Monday but I have learned so much with each week I have been there. What I think I benefited most from with this experience, which my co-op also noticed, is my comfort level in the classroom. With each week I was better able to jump into whatever the students were working on and I became more familiar with what most of the students needed for extra help in their learning. I also learned how little things such as playing a song for the students on the topic can really help them learn and the ideas to stick with the students. There was not a lot of conflict that I saw in the classroom and when some students would start to act out my co-op would bring them back in using quick phrases or exercises to listen back in which showed some of the classroom management she had. In our final discussion this afternoon we talked about how these different skills come to you over time and as you get to know each class a little bit better and that she could see my partner and I improving in these areas.
I found it so interesting seeing the different ways that some students think while learning as well. There were some who excelled in reading and writing while others were skilled in math or did well in gym class and were involved in other activities outside of school. Seeing how my co-op tried to include aspects of the different learning styles in her teaching has given me ideas for how I might plan my lessons. I also took note of the different transitions my co-op uses, many of which involve getting up and going to another part of the classroom to grab textbooks or their notebooks which seemed to keep the students from getting restless during lessons.
Being in an elementary school was very interesting as well. Younger students react to things in completely different ways than older students do and I found their enthusiasm very uplifting and refreshing. Although there were a few students who were a little less enthusiastic, I learned that they usually would just need a little extra push to really get into their growth mindset and believe that their ideas were good and that they were on the right track. I wonder if maybe this push is what has been missing in what I have seen from older students but I think that if that confidence can be built in the younger grades that students should hopefully carry it on with them into middle and upper years.
To end the day my co-op had the students sit around my partner and I and tell us something they were thankful that we did for them, a compliment, or a well wish. Some of these comments were things like being thankful for help with Word Work, wishing us luck in university (one of the students said that his wish is that we pass all of our classes – I wish for that too!), commenting on how we were very nice when we were giving help and one of them thanked us for our lesson that we gave on Poundmaker! This was one of the most exciting ones because I was able to see that they were able to take something educational away from us being there. As they were leaving at the end of the day one of the students walked past me and said “see you in three years when you’re done university and are a teacher”. Hearing a student say they hope to have you again in the future is something I am sure all teachers want to hear!
I think that this placement was so beneficial because it really gave me an opportunity to learn some different techniques to go about all the elements of teaching and also allowed me to branch out to try some things out on my own. Although the time spent at my school was short, I was able to develop some big skills that I will use in my future as a teacher and have a great time while doing it!