Monday, December 14, 2015

Field Blog Post: Personal Visit

Around Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to go and observe one of my former teachers for two days. He teaches business and sports management at Kent Roosevelt High School. After being a student in his class, it was very strange at first being on the teaching end of things. I talked to him for a while during lunch and after school, and it was interesting hearing him talk about his teaching strategies. Once he started explaining his strategies, I remembered some of the things happening. He is a very nice and laid back guy, and many of his students respect him most for the way he relates with his students.
When the first class started on the first day, there were a few kids that walked in a little late. Being generous, he did not mark them tardy. The class was his business and career class. He had the same class for the first two periods of the day so that they could have a longer time together. The class was working on a virtual business simulator, something that allowed the students to experience what it would be like to own their own business. The simulator makes you start from scratch, starting out by picking a location. Obviously this is working to get kids to distinguish a good location for a business from a bad one. After they get their business name and location, they have to go through the process of hiring employees and ordering the goods. Once the business is up and running, the students have to manage things like employee strikes and late shipping. I was able to walk around and talk to students while they were working. Most of the responses I got were engaging, showing that the project was serving it's purpose. Mr. Dunlap told me after class that it was going to be a project that lasted them all week. The students were able to work on this for the first period of the day, but when the second period began, the students were ordered to their desks. They began an accounting lesson. I just observed this part from the back of the room. This involved a lot of note taking as the teacher showed examples on the board. The students asked many questions as it seemed to be a hard lesson. I was impressed by how the teacher would thoroughly answer every question, and would not move on until the student understood the explanation. I believe this is an important part of education. If your students do not understand the curriculum being taught, you should continue going over if until they can comprehend it. The number one priority should always be the students. The rest of the day, he just had sports management classes. These students were presenting a project, evaluating the NCAA rules and regulations. I was not able to do much in these classes but observe. The one thing that I found interesting was the difference in quality of presentations. I'm not sure if this was from a difference in efforts or knowledge, but it was very apparent.
It was very fun for me to observe one of my former teachers for two days. Though both days I saw very similar things, I found it extremely beneficial to my learning. This was the age I wanted to teach, and the subject was relatable to my situation. I also want to be a basketball coach one day, and fortunately Mr. Dunlap is the head coach at the high school. I was able to go in and observe a basketball practice while I was there also. Overall this was a great experience for me, because I was able to see my future career in action.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Field Blog Post: Gearity Elementery

On Thursday, November 12th, I had the pleasure of visiting Gearity Elementary school with my Intro to Education class. Before arriving, I had though about this visit a lot. I'm planning on being a high school history teacher, so this was almost the opposite of what I thought my future holds. I was anxious to see what I thought of the kids though. I wanted to be sure to go into the experience with an open mind, because maybe I would like it more than I expected.
Walking into Gearity Elementary was more intimidating than I thought it would be. There was a security lady sitting at the front door. We had to sign in with a source of identification. This was not the only intimidating thing I saw. While we were standing and waiting at the front door, we could see all the little kids scrambling through the halls, and they seemed to be extremely loud. I was placed in a gym class for the time that we were there. The teacher I was shadowing was very nice. She had been teaching at the school for many years. She made me aware that they were having some kind of a fair day, so there would be a few more kids than normal. A couple of minutes after the first bell, kids began filing into the gym. The line of kids seemed to be never ending. There ended up being about 40 kids there at once. The kids were doing relay races that included stacking cups. The cups were larger than normal, to make it easier for the kids. It was interesting watching them play. Every single kid there had the most competitive spirit. It was as if they were all afraid to lose. I also noticed that while they were playing, it became extremely noisy. A combination of yelling and laughing filled the air.
When the teacher blew the whistle indicating the game was over, a lot of arguing started. They were split into teams of three, and it seemed as though every single team was arguing with one another. I don't know if I agree with how the teacher handled this. She blew her whistle once more, and those who continued to talk were sent to the hall. I don't think this is the best way to punish young kids. As we read earlier in our Educational Foundations book, there are endless ways to punish students. But certain ways will teach them a lesson, and others will serve as a useless penalty that won't effect their behavior. I believe that the teacher should have pulled those students aside, and told them that it was not the appropriate time to be talking. After a short little bean bag activity, the kids all lined back up. When their teacher arrived to walk them back, they all got very quiet. I don't know if this was because they were more intimidated by their regular teacher, but she seemed to get all of their attention immediately.
When it was all said and done, I reassured myself that I did not want to get into elementary education. I enjoyed the experience, and I'm glad I had the opportunity. I learned that it takes a lot of patience and creativity to work with young kids. It was hard to keep up with their energy level at all times. I believe this trip was great for me, because I learned how the foundation of education in a child's life works.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Blog Post 10

After doing my first nine blogs, I know much more now than when I started. After many lessons in class, topics of writing, and school visits, I can confidently say that I am very interested in the field of education. Along the way, I have learned some things about myself as well. I have learned that I definitely would want to be a high school teacher, thanks to our field visits. Going into the different schools was probably the best thing that has happened to me thus far in the semester. It really showed me what it would be like to teach at every different age group, and confirmed my interest in high school education. This is not to say I had a bad experience at the middle and elementary schools, I just believe that my skills matchup the best with the high school students and curriculum.

Looking back at all of my previous blogs, there were a few reoccurring themes. The one that stood out to me the most was the idea that educators should always do what is best for kids. This is something that I truly believe, and if the students are not your biggest priority, you're in the wrong profession. I understand that there will be a lot of difficult work along the way in the career of an educator. But making and impact on a child's life will be the best, and most rewarding feeling anyone could have. After thinking about all the teachers that I've had, and now the ones I have shadowed, I'm beginning to formulate thought about the most effective teaching styles. Obviously, there are endless ways a teacher can operate their class, but some are better than others. I want to be the most energetic and caring teacher possible, because I believe this is how to gain your student's respect. In conclusion, I have learned a lot about my interests and values. I now know what level of education I want to teach, and have a better understanding of what happens every day in the classroom.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Field Blog Shaker Heights High School

Before attending our class trip to Shaker Heights High School, I was not very confident that I wanted to teach high school. There were some concerns and questions that I had, mainly regarding how to run a class in a way to keep 18 year olds engaged. I was pleasantly surprised with what I observed. The kids generally seemed respectful and intrigued by what the teacher had to say. The first class I went to was a senior sociology class, and the second was a freshman english.
When I first entered the sociology class, I received weird looks from the students because they didn't understand why I was there.  But after the teacher introduced me, the students were welcoming and understood why I was there.  They were playing a Jeopardy game preparing for a test the next day.  I was generally surprised by the amount of participation coming from the class.  I like the way the teacher formatted the class because they were all having fun and learning at the same time.  
The second class I went to was freshmen English.  I was dreading it at first because I never liked English.  The teacher had the student engaged because they were reading a play, Hamlet.  I learned a lot from this teacher because she made every single student read in order to receive credit.  There were no students talking or fooling around in class because they all knew they had to participate at some point.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blog Post 8

In the future, it is a goal of mine to be a high school history teacher. When I think about what I want my classroom to look like on a daily basis, I picture an environment where learning is being supported by events happening outside of the classroom. This is supported by Ayers idea of "Building Bridges". There are different ways to interpret this theory. In my opinion "Building Bridges" means connecting things that are being talked about in the classroom, with things that are happening outside the classroom. More times than we think, the things that are happening in our society today are relevant to what we read in our history books. (And no, I am not just talking about how the present will one day be the past.) In the subject of history, many lessons throughout time repeat themselves. You can tie these lessons back to things going on right now in America, or even thing happening around the world.

In order to be a successful teacher, you must be enthusiastic so that the students are willing to engage in your lessons. This holds true in everything from the way you teach, how you answer questions, and the assignments you give. I plan to be creative in the way that I plan my lessons and format my class. A boring environment makes teenagers want to sleep, rather than learn something new. An exciting and lively environment, will keep the typical teenager's attention, giving them the ability to learn in new ways. It is important for my students to know that I am fully dedicated to help them succeed. I want them to see me as a positive role model in their life, not fear me. If students have any kind of fear for me, they will never feel comfortable enough to talk to me about things happening in their personal life. I want the kids to be willing to talk to me, so that I can help them in any way with life outside of the classroom. I want my teaching environment to be one where everyone feels comfortable to ask questions, help others, and be themselves. All of the points I mentioned are from the readings of Freire, Ohanian, DiGiulio, and Ayers.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Blog Post 6

This book has brought many new and different thoughts. I enjoy reading it because it gives many different perspectives on all kinds of concepts. It questions our ways in education today, it makes us really think about what we try to do to our youth. The book states that we teach in a way that forces kids to memorize things, rather than learning and understanding why these things are happening. I do not agree with everything that this book has to offer, but I do however agree with this concept. It will be very much beneficial to the kids if we change some of our teaching styles and techniques. When you memorize something, the knowledge comes and goes, but when you truly learn something rather, the knowledge stays with you.
On page 104, there is a few lines that really stood out to me. Pretending the students are containers for an example, the book states, "The more completely she (the teacher) fills the receptacles, the better a teacher she is. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves (the students) to be filled, the better students they are." After initially reading this, one might say this really is irrelevant. But if you give it some thought, it really is true. We consider our teachers good or bad based on how much information they can give their students, rather than how well they can get the students to understand the information. On the other hand, we consider the best students the ones who can memorize the most, when really, memorization is no comparison to how intelligent one is. This whole concept is considered the banking concept of education. I agree with the book, as it is more bias against the ideas of the banking concept of education. I believe there are many better ways to educate our students in ways that don't require memorization, but rather true, honest learning.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Field Blog Post: Mayfield Middle School

During our time at Mayfield Middle School, there were many observations that I made in and out of the classroom. While I spent a good amount of my time observing a seventh grade history class, I also was fortunate enough to go outside to view a physical education class. In some ways the students actions were similar in both environments, and in other ways their actions were extremely different.
When some of my classmates and I entered a classroom on the second floor, the teacher immediately came over to welcome us. She was an extremely outgoing and friendly person. Within the first few minutes of observing her class, I noticed that she is continuously moving. I believe this is her way of keeping the kids focused in a sense, by being lively and interactive. As I'm sure most could believe, twelve year olds don't have the best time staying focused. Another reason for her constant movement is to prevent the students from distracting each other. When a few students would be chatting in the back of the room at an inappropriate time, the teacher would simply wonder back that way, without missing a sentence in her lesson. She walked to the back of the room to grab the students attention, but did not stop teaching while she did so. This makes it beneficial for everyone from a concentration stand point.
Another thing I noticed in the history classroom was the teachers continuous references to technology. Almost every student had a cell phone or ipod with them, and as you can imagine, the students are always intrigued and distracted by these pieces of technology. Rather than tying to eliminate this element of the students life, the teacher incorporated them in the lesson. For example, the class was learning about colonization, and trading between the early colonies and Europe. The teacher stated, "Pretend you are the colonies, and your parents are Great Britain. Your parents tell you that you can only use your iPhones on certain days of the week, and every time that you do use it, you will have to pay them a certain amount of money." I thought this was a great way of explaining something to kids that age. Using examples like this will not only better kids understanding, but also keep them engaged in the lesson.