I have completed week two and I’m feeling excited and exhausted. It is crazy to think how much you can connect and get to know your students. It’s going to be hard leaving the classroom after three weeks. Although I have not learned a lot about each individual learner’s needs and abilities within my short time at the school, I have made substantial progress. As I mentioned before my class does not require any major adaptations, although I do have some minor adaptations that I incorporate into my daily lessons. For example, one of my students struggles with organization, so I have been consistently focusing on keeping our assignment and lessons organized and clear as possible. One way that I have done this is through the use of classroom duotangs. I have been using these to hold all of the student work throughout our survival unit. As well, dating these notes and handouts has also helped to keep the students on track. Another more informal adaptation that I have made through this class is with communication. Because some of my students are EAL students I have ensured that my communication is audible and clear. I also make sure to repeat instructions and sometimes re-phrase a task to ensure that all of my students understand. I have also found vital providing my students with written or visual instructions in addition to verbal instructions.
I have tried many different forms of assessment throughout my first two weeks, and some have worked better than others. I have found that incorporating routine forms of assessment is a very efficient way of ensuring consistency. I have found that one of my favourite ways of assessment is just simply asking questions. I never imagined I would rely so heavily on this form of assessment but I find with my classroom that questioning works wonders and keeps them all engaged and thinking critically. We have also been completing daily journal prompts which help me assess their knowledge of the survival unit, as well as their writing skills and abilities. Exit slips have also been helpful to reflect on my lessons and my teaching abilities. Sometimes the exit slips do not produce the information I’m looking for, but then I try to reflect on the questions and re-assess whether I was asking the wrong question or I need to re-teach a certain concept.
In terms of evaluation we have already completed one section for this unit which was our Survival Role Plays which the students loved and did exceedingly well with. For the most part I have a very performance loving class, so this worked out wonderfully. I’m still finding it challenging to mark my students as sometimes I’m feeling guilty for marking too low, or marking too high. Sometimes I feel emotions can get in the way. I have learned so much from my Co-op teacher and from other teachers on staff as well which has been wonderful. I have even been fortunate to steal some rubrics which is like Christmas morning for me. I think one of the major things I have discovered through this internship is the vital need to provide specifics when it comes to assignments, as well as having the most detailed and efficient rubric. Having an effective rubric not only helps me as a teacher to mark objectively and accurately, but it also helps my students understand what is expected and how to succeed.
One question I have going forward is how to provide samples of assignments to students when it is the first time we are trying these assignments as new teachers. Sometimes it can be very time-consuming to create a sample myself so I was wondering if there was an alternative option or if this is just something that needs time dedicated to.
I’m looking forward to wrapping up my last of my pre-internship but I’m also sad that it is coming to an end. I’ve really enjoyed my time as a “teacher” thus far and I know for certain that I will miss my co-op teacher as well as my grade 9’s.
Until next time,