Today my group and I taught our lesson based on Chapter 17 in Educational Foundations. We started off the class by giving the class an overview of the chapter. We had divided the chapter into four main ideas and each took an idea and elaborated on it. I talked about the Global Education Reform Movement and its beliefs in standardized testing and how it believes that standardized testing is beneficial to education. After giving an overview of the chapter we divided into small groups and each led a discussion within our small groups about the subject we covered within the chapter. My small group and I had a good discussion on GERM’s ideas on standardized testing and everyone’s opinions on it. After this, we played a video that summed up the chapter and tied all of our main ideas together. After the video concluded, we elaborated on the video and opened the class to open discussion. Overall I think my group did a good job presenting and making the class a quality lesson for the students. I think I personally could have been better if I had been a little more confident in my knowledge of the chapter. However; I feel like my group really got everyone in the class involved especially with our small group discussions.
Last week we took our last visit as a class to Agnon Elementary School. This school was very interesting and different compared to the other two schools we had previously visited. By observing at Agnon Elementary School I was able to see how different school can have different structures within the classroom. When we went to Agnon, I was able to observe a kindergarten class. In the classroom the kindergarteners addressed each of their teachers by their first name. At first, I thought that being on a first name basis with your teacher was a little odd and could come off as being somewhat disrespectful but then I came to the realization that maybe referring to your teacher by their first name makes them more approachable. Being an approachable teacher usually coincides with success in the classroom because students feel like they can ask the teacher questions about material they do not understand in class. While observing the classroom, I noticed that one of the teachers started the class off by doing five minutes of exercise. The exercising involved the students jumping up and down and interacting with a partner (such as hugging a friend). I really liked how the teachers started the day this way because it got the students moving and interacting. The students then reviewed their “word of the week” by a trivia game on the smart board and reviewed months, days of the week, numbers, and some Hebrew. I was very impressed by the students knowledge and participation within the classroom. Overall, my experience at Agnon showed me what I feel a great school looks like and intensified my desire to teach.
Over the past ten weeks in Education 100 I have written a series of blog posts that have furthered my learning in the field of education. My first blog was a bibliography introducing myself to my wonderful professor and classmates. For my second blog post I was assigned to sit in a public setting and people watch and observe anything that I saw. This blog post helped me realize that I sometimes automatically judge people or situations by first glance and do not take the time to consider what could be going on underneath the surface. In Blog Post 3 I was asked why I wanted to be a teacher. This prompt made me recognize my motives behind wanting to teach. I explained that I wanted to teach because I want to make a difference in the lives of many students. In Blog Post 4 I discussed the issues of discrimination within the classroom and made me aware of my responsibilities as a teacher to make sure it does not go on in my own classroom. It also made me aware of preconceived ideas we can already have about people and how that is wrong. My 5th blog post went along with the theme of discrimination but primarily focused on LGBT students. It helped me to recognize the importance of showing support for these students and not tolerating any discrimination or prejudice against them. In Blog Post 6 I discussed Chapter 8 from “Educational Foundations” and the importance of a student-teacher relationship. In Blog Post 7/8 I elaborated on another reading from our text about the importance of building bridges from our personal experiences and what is taught in the classroom. In my most recent blog post I described what I thought a good school looked like and the essential elements needed to make a good school. Through writing these blog posts I feel that I have learned more about myself as to why I want to teach and have vastly furthered my knowledge in the field of education.
A good school can appear different to everyone. To me, a good school is a safe environment where students feel free to be themselves and express their own ideas. I specifically think that smaller class sizes are more beneficial to students because it allows teachers to focus more on each individual student and meeting each of their learning needs on a personal basis. The smaller class sizes will provide good student-teacher relationships within the classroom. I also feel that is important to have a school system where the students are able to have a say in what goes on at the school. The students and the faculty should be able to collaborate on events and special functions that the school is holding. This makes the students feel like they have a voice in some aspect of their education. This also serves as an opportunity for the students to express their ideas. Another opportunity I feel that students should be able to have is the opportunity to take time breaks in between classes. By having breaks in between different subjects gives the students the time to unwind and refocus themselves on what is being taught. It also allows the students time to ask teachers questions on material that they did not completely grasp in class and time for teachers to give students more individual attention while being in the class room. Besides giving the students opportunities, I think that it is essential to make the classroom atmosphere welcoming and positive and never saying that any question is a stupid one.
On Thursday the Education 100 class traveled as a group to Cleveland Heights High School. When we traveled to Cleveland Heights High School we had the opportunity to hear about their impressive early college program. I was very intrigued by how they ran this program and was impressed at how well kept the facility appeared. As we broke off into different classrooms, Ellen and I attended a special needs English class for sophomore students. The class only had eight students and had a very laid back atmosphere. I remember the teacher wearing sweatpants, a tee shirt and tennis shoes. The teacher really acted like an equal among the students which I really admired. The class was beginning to read the novel, “The Crucible” the day of our visit and they spent their time in class discussing mob mentality and examples of mob mentality in current events. I really enjoyed observing this particular class because it was a very comfortable setting and the students talked just as much as the teacher. The classroom was an open discussion and I was impressed by the ideas and words the students contributed to the conversation. I also really admired that the teacher never made the students feel silly for anything they said even when it was wrong or when they asked questions. The teacher was very down to earth and you could tell that her students felt comfortable talking to her and asking for help when needed. As I observed I tried to compare my observations between Beachwood Middle School and Cleveland Heights High School. The biggest thing I noticed while observing was that the teachers at the middle school seemed more authoritative and the high school teachers seemed more relaxed.
In our reading for Education 100 this week we read chapters 4 and 7 of our text “To Teach: The Journey in Comics.” In the book the author explains how to “build bridges” within the classroom. Ayer further explains what “building bridges” is and says that it is when someone initially has some knowledge about a certain subject and becomes more knowledgeable on the subject through personal experiences. Two different examples of “building bridges” within the classroom would be the connection and relationship between the student and the teacher. Another example would be students interacting with other students and coming up with solutions to problems. If I were to create a lesson plan I would choose to teach it on “Forming Sentences.” I chose this lesson because I feel like it is essential to know what elements are essential in forming a sentence. For this lesson I would need a container of legos. I would then put a a single word such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives onto each individual lego and allow the students build their sentences with legos. Other things to keep in mind when forming a lesson plan is how each student learns and the different kinds of learning styles there are. The students who are hands on learners will be able to actively participate in forming sentences. The students who are visual learners will be able to see the sentences being formed. The students who are auditory learning can hear their peers reading the words or by reading the words aloud. Another thing to keep in mind is deciding whether or not the activity will be beneficial to the students and that everyone is able to actively participate.
Last Thursday my Education 100 class traveled to Beachwood Middle School for student observing. We got the opportunity to observe in two different classroom settings while we were there. My first class that I observed in was an algebra class. In the algebra class for advanced 8th grade students, they took group tests the entire period. My initial reaction to this was that it was kind of boring. After I talked to the teacher I understood why she did group tests as she explained the reasoning behind it. She said that she gives the students two tests per chapter. One test is a group test and the other test is an individual test. She said that this gives student the opportunity to work on problems together and try to figure math out on their own. She explained that during group tests she would just walk around to make sure her students were participating and redirect them when needed. A week later she gives out the individual tests to see where the students are at. I liked this method of teaching because I feel like the group tests is preparing the students to take a test individually and serves as a review. The second class I went to was a language arts English class for 6th graders. All of the students started off class by all being on their google chromes and working on grammar correction problems. The students were being constantly distracted by their technology the entire class while the teacher was talking and the class was definitely not engaged like the first class I visited. I really learned a lot from my first student observation and found the different ways teachers teach very interesting.
For our previous assignment for Education 100 we were asked to read chapter 8 in Educational Foundations, “The Banking Concept of Education.” We were then instructed to place post it notes throughout the reading where we had questions or thoughts. One of the places in this reading where I had thoughts was at the very beginning of the chapter when the author discusses the teacher-student relationship and the narrative aspect of the relationship. The author, Paulo Freire, describes the narrating subject as the teacher and the patient listening objects as the student. My first thought when I read this first paragraph is that I felt that teachers should not be the only narrators but that the students should also have the opportunity to be narrators as well. Paulo explains that the student and the teacher should be able to switch roles in the classroom. This way the students are not only learning from the teacher but the teacher can also learn from his or her students by participating in frequent dialogue. I feel that the idea of the student and teacher being able to switch roles is very good because it creates a more comfortable and laid back atmosphere for the students. Teachers should not just stand in front of the classroom and simply have the students absorb information like sponges because that makes the class very boring and uninteresting. Having the students engaged and actively participating creates a more interesting and comfortable setting for students to learn in instead of just memorizing information.
Throughout my lived schooling experiences the issues of homophobia and heterosexism were rarely addressed. At my high school we had a pretty large amount of men who come out of the closet about being gay during their senior year. It might have been because they were too afraid that they would be harshly judged or criticized by the school community especially because it was a catholic institution. Another interesting fact is that many of the men who came out from my high school, did it by posting on social media. The issues of homophobia and heterosexism were almost never spoken of but I feel that our school community was very excepting of our LGBT student body by continuously reminding them how much we love all of them. However; I feel that if we had had a gay straight alliance or organization to provide support for LGBT students it would have made those students feel more comfortable with themselves completely. The liberal and radical distinctions relate to the unique identity of each individual meaning that no one should have to like certain things or act a certain way based on their gender or sexuality because no one can define what normal actually is and no one should have to be a certain way just to feel like they are accepted. When I become a teacher my hope is that homophobia and heterosexism will be more accepted within our society. I hope that people will be more open to discuss the issues and harassment that relate to LGBT individuals because no one has the right to say anything negative about another person’s sexuality. I hope that there is more of a support system for LGBT students and that LGBT students do not try to conform to what they have been told is the “social norm.”
Being a teacher is one of the most essential occupations in today’s society because teachers are the people molding the future generation. A teacher’s job, however, is not to just teach the students what is written in their text books or required by the state but also carry the responsibility of setting a good example for their students. With this responsibility teachers also are encouraged to see each student as an individual and avoid stereotypes or presumptions about their students or their student’s backgrounds which can be easier said than done. According to Lisa Delpit from the article “The Art of Awareness” she thinks, “We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs.” I thought that this was a very profound statement and made me believe there was truth to it. In our previous blog of observation, I noticed myself already forming ideas or beliefs about people I did not even know. I feel like sometimes it can be very challenging because we can judge people based on our own beliefs without even realizing it. This is why teachers need to recognize the identity of each student without forming beliefs and putting the student into a certain stereotype. Lisa Delpit also says “teachers should recognize that the linguistic form a student brings to school is intimately connected with loved one’s community, and personal identity”, which I completely agree with and feel like teachers should try to get to know each of their students on a more personal level in order to be successful in the classroom. Along with this teachers need to be careful with how they interact with their students. Saying something or doing something small might really offend a student in the classroom or a student’s family member. Being mindful of this creates a more relaxed and cheerful atmosphere to learn.