Field Placement Week #7

Yesterday was a bittersweet day as I attended my field placement for the last time. Although I will have more time to focus on my studies without this placement, I will miss it dearly. The field placement was not only good experience and hands-on learning in the classroom, but it was also a time that was used as a motivation toward my studies. I looked at my placement as a destination that if I put my mind to it will soon reach that point and be able to work in my own classroom. I am very pleased that I was given the opportunity to be in a classroom in my first year of university! I am now sure that this program is where I want to be.

The kids were sad to see my partner and I leave. Through these short seven weeks, we were able to make strong connections with most of the kids, so when it was time to say our final goodbyes we had a few kids in tears. I never realized how strong of connections we were making with the students until it came time to say goodbye one last time. Luckily both of our placement teachers said we could go and visit anytime we would like, so if I need some inspiration throughout my schooling I will be sure to contact the teachers.

Through this opportunity, I not only got experience in a classroom, but I have already begun taking key concepts from the placement. I think the biggest take away that I will use throughout the rest of my education and in my future classrooms is the concept of knowing your children as individuals and not as a class. When dealing with such a young age group it is more beneficial to focus on the student’s lives, personalities and well beings rather than focusing on the curriculum. Another key concept that I will bring with me is the sense of community throughout the classrooms and the school. It is very important to build a community with the parents of your students and understand their family dynamic to understand the individual child fully. I also need to understand that things are not always going to go the way I planned, so I need to be able to adapt to the changes that occur through my work day that will accommodate the students in the best way possible. These are the main concepts that I am going to keep, but there are many other concepts I will always think about as well. Some of these concepts include co-teaching, use of technology, movement in the classroom and class management.

I did not think I was going to learn so much in my first-year placement, but I have learned many valuable lessons that have shaped me as a person as well as shaped me as a future educator. I will remember my first placement as being an amazing school and I will remember the little grade ones and twos who ensured me that I was in the right field. I am beyond grateful to my placement teachers and am excited to see where my education will take me.

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Field Placement Week #6

In the two classes, my partner and I visit the students are young and only can do so much of one thing at a time, that is why they often do short intervals of classes throughout the whole day. Every Monday in the one class we switch between math, English, French, and library time. It is a split class, so the teacher will teach the one grade for half the time and send them off to work in their booklets while she teaches the other grade for the remainder of the time. For the past six weeks, the classroom has been working on their addition and subtraction skills. Through the different grades work booklets, although they are learning the same units, you can see the difference between the two. The main difference is the numbers just get bigger as the grades move up, focusing still on the one skill.

We mainly focus on the reading section of English and today we got to see the differences in the two classrooms when it comes to reading levels. Some kids are way above their reading level while others are slightly behind, the teachers spot that and can make changes to either challenge the student or give the student an easier book to build confidence. Even the levels between two different grade one classes are huge.

I noticed that the students learn and work better in a hands-on situation than working individually. They seem to be more engaged and can stay engaged if the class is working together rather then working alone. Therefore, the teachers really focus on an inclusive setting allowing the children to interact with each other and learn by doing.

The students not only build relationships with their peers but also learn valuable lessons such as patience and manners. I notice that the children when they are working as a group or alone and their confidence usually is lower when they work individually.

Through show and tell and story time the children are given the opportunity to relate the stories they are hearing about, to their own lives and make connections to their prior knowledge and experiences.

The teachers follow the curriculum while allowing some modifications for individual students which is needed at times. They run their classrooms very well and I have begun taking notes and the amazing things they do throughout the classroom.

Field Placement Week #5

This week’s topic we were asked to look for in the classroom was looking at how the classrooms honor diversity. This is closely related to last weeks post, however this week I will be focusing more on race, language, traditions, and sexuality.

The two teachers my partner and I get to work alongside with are superior at making all their children feel the sense of belonging that young children thrive. As I look around both classrooms I can notice a variety of different ethnic groups being represented. However, unlike what we sometimes see through society the classrooms are not grouped because of the different groups, they are all associated with each other and know no differences between the two, the way it should be.

Since there is a wide variety of ethnicity groups being portrayed throughout the classes, the two classes get to participate in a variety of celebrations. In my school, we got to celebrate the basic traditions such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and Valentine’s day. These children get to experience these traditions and many more. They all partake in Chinese New Years, Ukraine Christmas, and many more. This allows the children to learn about not just what they celebrate but what their peers also get to celebrate. By doing this celebration it also allows the students that come from other parts of the world to feel more at home and more accepted since they can see their traditions showing through in a classroom setting.

Another thing that I find very important is the students are taught at a very young age to be proud to be a treaty person, and they are taught about our First Nations people and learn to respect all the people in this country.

Another way our teachers represent diversity through the classrooms is through language. The children partake in a French class as well learn some Cree throughout their learning. I believe this is very beneficial to the students as well as to the school when they can sure how diverse they are.

A topic we were supposed to look at this week was how gender diversity is shown throughout the classroom. The kids are at a very young age still, so they have not completely expressed who they are, however, the kids are encouraged to play with both genders and are encouraged to play whatever they want, no matter if it is not a gender “norm.” Our teachers are very observant and when they spot a child being mean to another child they can react and find a solution to the problem.

Overall the classrooms I have had the pleasure to be in for the past five weeks encourage and respect how diverse their peers are. They are taught to treat others the way they wish to be treated and I believe that is a very beneficial skill the should kids to learn.

Field Placement Week #4

When we look at two children standing next to each other we can understand that they are different just by their appearance. When we were young we were taught that no one is the same, because if everyone was the same the world would be very boring. I believe this is an important lesson to hold onto as I go into adulthood: not one child is the same, we can not expect them to act the same.

During field placement this week my partner and I were asked to look closely at the diversity of children in the classrooms we attended, we realized right away that you don’t have to look too far to see all of the bright young individuals in the classroom and understand that they are all different. Diversity is a wonderful thing in the classroom, however, sometimes challenges can arise when diversity is so strong.

In the classrooms my partner and I get to work in, there are a lot of differences between each student. Some of those differences are race, gender, behavioral issues, learning abilities, and maturity levels. In a grade one classroom, the levels of abilities between the children can be dramatic. They are at a young age, so it all depends on the environment of their home life to how they react and learn at school.

Our teachers that we work with have learned to handle their classrooms very well considering all the different abilities in the classrooms. Both teachers have taken an extreme amount of time to learn about each individual student both academically and who they are as individuals. By doing this they can learn about the child’s life and then understand why they do certain things the way they do them. I am amazed how much these two teachers put into not just the curriculum but also learning and responding to the life of the student outside the classroom. I can now see the importance of knowing your students and not just teaching them subjects.

Diversity is appreciated throughout the school and in the two classrooms. The two teachers have many techniques that help the students learn to their best potential. Using iPads, fidgets, standing desks and different types of chairs, the teachers understand what works best for each student and when that student is having trouble staying focused they change the environment for the student to be able to work in a more suitable situation.

The school encourages diversity throughout their students. The school brings in many different counselors and therapists to help individuals that need the one on one attention that they don’t always get when they are in a classroom with 24 students to one teacher. This kind of support not only helps the students, but it also helps the teachers as well.

Teachers also understand that kids need a break, using body breaks in the classroom and little movements, all the students can stay engaged with the lesson that is being taught.

This week I got to work specifically with a young boy that was having trouble focusing in class. Instead of learning the lesson being taught in the classroom, the boy and I went to the hallway and worked on the iPad. Once he was removed from the environment and got the one on one attention he was able to do his work quickly and precisely, he is such a smart boy, he just needed a change to be able to do his work.

It warms my heart that these teachers take so much time engulfed in their students. They know what is in each student’s best interest and put that above just learning subjects. As a future educator, I know the very importance of understanding your students and understanding what they need to grow academically.

Field Placement Week Three

It was good to get back into the classroom this week. On the first day back from the break the kids were super excited to be back to school and to see all their friends! The smiles and joy on their gleaming little faces warmed my heart. I do have to say that this short placement is the best part of my week and I will be sad when it is time to say goodbye to the kids and teachers I have started to bond within just three short times so far.

In the two classrooms, I have had the pleasure of working with many different variations of children. Although the children are around the same age, does not mean that all students will mature and develop at the same pace, this concept is prominent throughout the two classrooms. Some of the students are very mature both intellectually and socially and some students are a little on the immature side for their age. In the grade one/two split, I find it interesting how the grade ones are so much more mature than the grade ones in the class that is strictly grade ones. The maturity level of the grade twos allows the grades ones to fall into that maturity level as well. Allowing split classes into schools both can be beneficial as well have some struggles but for children that need work socially, I think it is a great program to put them in!

The two teachers I have been working with have taken much emphasis on getting to know each student individually and knowing what that student needs to succeed. I believe this is the greatest aspect a teacher needs to be able to do to have a successful classroom. In the two classrooms, we see differences in learning rather it be behavioral, intellectual, or language barriers. By knowing all your students allows the teacher to be able to work towards new teaching methods and new ways to keep the children motivated in their school work.

I think the two teachers that I specifically get to work with rely mainly on each other. I have never seen two teachers that can work so well together and have that support of two teachers to handle a situation, teach a lesson, share lesson plans or even just to talk to would be so beneficial throughout their day. It is inspiring to see these two teachers work so closely together, they just click, and it is something I hope I will find when I am working in a classroom. The teachers also rely on their principal and vice principal along with the teachers that come in to teach their classes French, music, and art. Without a big support system of people and helpers, I don’t think the ship would run as smoothly in these two classes as they do now!

I believe teachers continue to build their professional knowledge through experience. Throughout every new class they get each year and through all the differences between their students, I believe with time they build more knowledge and understanding towards their career. Even though every student will always be different, through experience teachers will learn many great techniques that can hopefully be used with many different students.

The two teachers I get to work with have truly been an inspiration to me as I will soon be running my own classroom. Although I have a few years to go I will take many of their tips and guidance with me throughout my years and into my own classroom.

Field Placement Week Two

The school is very community oriented and the children all come from good homes that value a strong education. Throughout the weeks of the Olympics, both classes focused on a Canadian athlete each day. I found this very important and it allowed the kids to show some Canadian pride. It amazes me for being such a big school how many of the kids, teachers and other staff members know each other. Seeing that I understand how strong a community this school has created for their students and workers.

I find it very interesting how so many of the kids get picked up by their parents from school. Very few of the children we work with go home on the bus or walk home. However, the reason it surprises me is that I grew up in a town of five hundred so when the bell rang to go home we didn’t have very far to walk to get home.

Another shock I had from growing up in a small school is that every time we enter the city school we must sign in, even the parents must sign in at the front office before they are able to go into the school. This is a great way to monitor who goes in and out of the school daily. I enjoyed seeing people coming and going and the principle knowing all their names, this school is very interested in not just teaching the students the subjects but building a community around the school with all the families.

During recess, we are invited to the staff room and there again we can see the community being formed throughout the staff. They have events planned, potlucks for lunches, birthday cakes to celebrate a worker’s birthday. The staff not only were comfortable with each other, but they also made us feel comfortable with them. They brought us into conversations and asked us questions about our lives. This is just another example of how friendly this school’s atmosphere really is.

I fully enjoy spending my Monday afternoons at the school. The students, staff, and parents are welcoming to having us in their classrooms and in their school and that really makes this experience unforgettable.

Field Placement Week One

I was placed at W.S Hawrylak School in Regina. When my partner and I first arrived for our first day we were greeted by the principle and got a tour of the school. Upon arrival, I did not realize that the school was half French and half English, which I found very interesting because I have never heard of a school being split down the middle into two different languages. After the tour of the school, we got to go meet our classes. My partner and I will be working with two teachers that work hand in hand together. The one classroom is a grade one and grade two split while the other classroom is grade one students.

The first thing I noticed as I walked through the door of both of our classrooms was the representation of being on Treaty 4 land. I was surprised at first when I saw it. In my grade school, we had no representation of treaties on the walls, but I now understand why the students need to acknowledge it at a young age. It is part of their history and they need to understand that we are all treaty people.

When introducing ourselves to the students we could see the excitement on their faces. They were excited to have other people helping them in their classrooms other than their teachers. The first placement was spent trying to get to know the kids and letting them become comfortable around us. Next week I am sure we will be a lot more involved once the kids are able to recognize us as teachers they will begin to ask us for help.

I found it interesting that all the students were seated at tables instead of rows of desks. All throughout my grade school, we were seated at individual desks to avoid talking to our friends, but at this school, the teachers encourage group work. I find this very beneficial and it will be something I consider in my classroom.

My former elementary teachers also kept the walls plain, they believed that things on the walls would cause a distraction to the learning. However, in the classroom I am working in the items on the wall made the classroom look alive and fun. I noticed many of the kids used the items on the walls as references to the work they were doing, rather it is the alphabet or the numbers. It was not a distraction to the kids but, beneficial.

Compared to my elementary classroom I had when I was growing up, the space I am working in this year is much more welcoming. The kids are not individualized to their own separate desks which allows them to create social skills while they are working on their school work. The placement will be very rewarding to go to and I can not wait to see what else I will be learning each day I go.