Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blog Post #2

I have really enjoyed studying this module. I have loved learning how much progress we have made over the years. Its amazing how each step in history has given us the rights that we enjoy now. I know sometimes we don't think or even understand the sacrifices that were made to get us to the point where we are today. It was the Brown vs Board of Education that allowed all races and genders to go to school together. I am currently working in a Title One elementary school. Which means that the students come from a variety of different living situations with a lot, and very different cultural backgrounds. Because of the Brown vs. Board of Education we are allowed to have a variety of students learning together. Even with the Lau vs. Nichols says the students with follow a certain curriculum to make sure that they are learning what they need in each grade level. Each of these things have shaped the way education in run, and it is such a huge blessing we enjoy in the United States of America to the opportunity to attend public schools.
Sometimes if the students are having a hard time focusing in class they are sent down to the office to work on their work books. I have the opportunity to work in the office of an elementary school. So, a few days ago two little boys came into the office to work on some Math homework. They are both in first grade, and one of these little boys makes a few trips to the office. Now he is not a bad kid at all. In fact he is a good kid who is smart, but he struggles with the classroom structure which I believe a teacher plays a huge role in the structure of the classroom. We sent the boys to different locations in the office to help them focus on their math homework. I was able to help one of the little boys work through the problems. I noticed that he did know what to do, but also kids need things to be explained to them a few different ways. I needed to check his understanding, and help him understand why problems worked they way that they did. In this particular section of math we were working on added two numbers together to get a sum, and then changing the order of the first two number to get the same sum as the first problem. The important thing that I observed with him in the time we worked on homework. Children need the reassurance, and they need an opportunity to be heard. They need to know that they can succeed, and they need to be encouraged. As I continued to watch other teachers, an be familiar with classroom settings there are certain things to be done in groups, and have the children interact together. A common smaller group activity especially in lower grades such as kindergarten is they have different stations to help them focus on reading, math, arts, and even auditory learning. These group things gives kids the opportunity to learn from each other. It helps you as an observer or the teacher to know how kids learn, and how they work together socially.
A lot of preparation goes into each specific lesson. Teachers have to come up with their own lesson plans. Each Monday the students get out of school early, but the teachers have collaboration. Which allows them to meet together as a team to discuss the curriculum, and help the students succeed. The purpose of education is providing a children with a brighter future. It reminds me of a famous quote that  says "you can't know where you're going until you know where you've been." Education is just that to know how it has changed over the years, and those events have changed history. It is what allows teachers to do what they love, and children to learn.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What does it mean to be a good teacher? Blog Entry 1

Over the years I would always say I don't want to be "just" a teacher. For quite some time; to me, it seemed to be just a typical major. It took me a long time, and even some different life experiences to realize that I wanted to head down the path of becoming a teacher. As I have come to realize strengths that I have, and what I love to do there is no better place for me than to be in a classroom. A teacher will spend their day planning a lesson, and teaching a lesson specially for the needs of the students in the class. Being a teacher goes far beyond just those two things. As I have been able to spend time in a school setting a teacher is a motivator, leader, facilitator, behavior manager, supporter, encourager, and need to give praise. As I mentioned earlier one of the roles of a teacher, and this could possibly be a challenge is being able to adapt and specifically meet the needs of your students. From an early age children need to know that they can succeed, but we also need to recognize that each child is different. Which is how we want it to be. I have noticed that it applies a dynamic to a classroom setting as you watch children excel with learning in different ways. We have explored in this section three different types of learners which are: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.
Auditory Learners - would rather listen to given information than read about it.
Visual Learners - learn the best by looking at something such as: graphs, pictures, charts, or even reading.
Kinesthetic Learners - Like the "hands on" experiences. For them an activity is more beneficial than sitting down for a discussion.
As a teacher we have the responsibility to apply each of these in are classrooms realizing that the students fall into different categories.  I work at a school with a decent percent of Spanish speaking families, and most of the children are bilingual. In a particular first grade class there is a little boy who only speaks Spanish. I have been blessed with the ability to know Spanish. The other day the teacher was going to be absent, and she let me know that because there was going to be a substitute the next day in class. Which means that this specific child would especially be out of their element, and if I would go make sure that he was doing OK. She explained to me that he is always a good kid, but because there is that language barrier I needed to make sure he was on task. I was able to visit with this little boy, and I noticed that he likes to look at picture books, and will start talking in Spanish as he is looking through them. Now what I observed is that even if this child is an auditory learner it makes it extremely difficult for him where he does not completely understand whats happening. Also, as he looks at picture books I can see his creative mind. For him in that specific situation he may not understand all the the words but he can visually see a picture, and want to come up with something on his own. In situations such as these often times there can be other issues such as distraction or board-em. Its important to understand the specific needs of EACH child, and what ways are going to help them succeed the most.