Week 3: Reflections & Resources

  1. *Reflection: Management part 1. How do you ‘manage’ your classroom, and get your students to listen to you? Are you setting students up for success with positive choices, or failure with only negative consequences? Is there a Fun Factor in your management strategy? What about those individual challenges? Understanding the 5 basic needs of students is where you start. This is one of the most difficult areas of teaching, but will become easier with experience! *Tip: Environment is your first line of defense, proximity is your second. *Tip: Get creative with high schoolers. *Tip: Giving students the reason for the rule goes a long way in getting buy-in. *Tip:See it from their eyes.
  1. *Reflection: Do your students feel ownership of their own learning? When students are allowed to participate in creating classroom environment and culture, and given some choice in their learning, they develop ownership of it. This is often a key factor to eliminating behavior issues and creating a positive group culture in the classroom. What areas can you let your students share responsibility, make decisions, and self-direct their own learning? Which of the Four T’s (Time, Task, Technique, Team) can the students determine? How can you honor authenticity by giving students a clean slate?

*Points to ponder: 1. Re-imagine students as players in the learning game vs pawns in the learning system: players have choice and power and a stake in the outcome, pawns are passive and powerless tools in someone else’s game. 2. Re-consider your role: rather than controlling students as the behavior ‘manager’, how could you be a ‘facilitator’ of student autonomy and cooperative behavior in your classroom?


*Post-Observation Reflection#1

After your Site Visit Observations I will be sending you a short Post-Observation Reflection as part of your evaluation.

       What did I learn about my *strengths* after this evaluation? How can I use this knowledge to help me be successful in the classroom?

       What did I learn about my *challenges* after this evaluation? How can I use this knowledge to help me be successful in the classroom?

       What gives me a feeling of satisfaction in my work as a student teacher?

       What gets in the way of me doing my best in this placement?

       How do I feel about myself as a student teacher and about the work that I am completing?  

–       An area of focus I plan to work on going forward is…

Week 2: Reflections & Resources

  1. *Reflection: Is everybody moving? It is known that the body-brain connection is integral to learning! How can you support your students’ brains through engaging their bodies? Are you frequently moving about the classroom, observing and engaging with students to assess understanding?
  1. *Reflection: What is your feedback telling your students? We all fall into the habit of telling students, “Good job!” when they perform well. But is this giving them useful information? What exactly is this actually telling them? *Tip: Use objective observation, praise for process and effort.

Week 1: Reflections & Resources

1. *Reflection: Are your verbal interactions with students framed in the positive or negative? How do you speak so they will listen? Using positive directions and feedback helps build mutual respect and supports better student behavior. Are you modeling positive communications? Promoting a positive classroom culture, and long-term behavior changes?

*Tip: Tone, expression, and body language are 90% of communication; what is your face saying?

2. *Reflection: Are your students engaged? When students are truly engaged, learning is enjoyable and much more effective. Real engagement requires some level of active participation, beyond passive listening to the teacher lecture or talk. How are your students actively participating in their learning? Keep in mind that research shows student attention spans are within the range of 10 – 18 minutes, or less. The good news is that classroom activities and humor can re-engage students by simply grabbing a disinterested student’s attention. And using humor in the classroom positively affects content retention!  ~ “One of the greatest sins in teaching is to be boring”

*Caution Tip: Be aware of the difference, and very thin line, between humor / wit and sarcasm. Sarcasm is not appropriate in elementary grades, often does not go over well with middle grades, and should be very carefully considered with high school grades. There are many negative aspects of sarcasm, it is often disrespectful and demeaning, and that makes it risky to use with students.

*In the immortal lyrics from Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’: “No dark sarcasm in the classroom.”

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ~ William Butler Yeats