Assignment #8 [4/9/13]

You have spent valuable time reflecting on teaching practice in your observation classrooms in light of our discussions in class, video analyses, readings and your own account of what you saw during your visits. Please choose one event that has inspired your teaching of mathematics/science and one that has raised questions. Please be specific and support your answer with material that we have discussed this semester.

Looking back from the first day I started observations, I was unsure if teaching was the route I wanted to take as I pursued a career after college. Regardless of the situation, I enjoy spending time with children and watching them succeed developmentally. While at J.P. Holland Elementary School, I learned a lot about how to teach specific lessons and how to deal with certain students, however a lot of concerns were raised by the end of the lessons that made me reflect on what I would do if I were in the teacher’s situation. I understand that this school is in a developing district with many diverse families and opportunities available. I have found that many students are unwilling or unmotivated to succeed in the classroom and are even disrespectful to their teachers. I specifically remember a lesson where one student was extremely confident using the number line to solve equations, and another was unsure about her answer and how to successfully explain the system. The teacher noted the difficulty the one student was experiencing, yet she did not take the time to sit down directly with her and explain the problem. Instead, she asked the successful student to assist the student having a tough time. I know that the teacher had many other students to look after, except at this point in the lesson, the troubled student should have been able to use the number line without difficulty. Luckily I noticed the chaos and was able to sit down and try to help the troubled student. Although a upsetting situation, this event inspired me as a teacher to make sure that I recognize students abilities and when/where they are struggling. Perhaps even asking the troubled student to stay after school or at another convenient time, I would make sure that the area of concern is dealt with properly.

On a lighter note, at another point I was going over the monetary system with a few students and was inspired by the smiles on their faces after they had successfully calculated totals using their own systems. I loved the fact that they used self exploration to come up with different ways to count money that made the most sense to them. They had initially asked for my assistance, however I soon realized that they didn’t need any help at all. The fact that the lessons were finally starting to make sense to the children, and that they enjoyed what they were doing made me appreciate the value of a lesson. Sure, at first it may be difficult for a student to understand the material (perhaps leaving a teacher stressed and left without options of how to help), however with constant positive expectations and successful lessons/games, it’s almost bittersweet when students begin to understand everything on their own.

Throughout the semester I have definitely witnessed many questionable circumstances, as well as experienced many positive interactions. I can honestly say that my experience observing at J.P. Holland Elementary School has made me a stronger individual and more aware of different students’ needs and capabilities.

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