Today was a very exciting day because it was my first day of my Pre-Internship. As I walked into the school, I was amazed at how new and refreshing it felt to be in that particular school. This was probably due to the fact that it was a newer school in Regina and it was only about 4 years old. My first impressions of the school were that it was very well kept and that the teachers were all very friendly – especially my Co-op teacher. I was placed in a Grade 7/8 class with a wonderful teacher who was very welcoming and friendly to my classmate Rehana and I. She gave us a tour of the school once we arrived and showed us the staff room, office, prep room, washrooms, and her classroom, of course! Her classroom is on the second floor so there is a tall staircase that we have to trek up and down multiple times a day. So, I’m thinking this trek will help me stay fit throughout the semester. Haha!
Once the students came in the school for class, they all started the day by singing along to the acapella version of Oh Canada. Then there were a few announcements from their Principal Mr. Mooney. After those announcements, the students were instructed to work on their “Bellwork” and answer this question in their notebooks: “If you had to live in one season forever, which season would it be and why?” This then flowed into a Literacy rotation where the kids chose three rotations and they worked silently or with a partner on reading or writing. We were then interrupted with a trial Code White, which was an emergency lock down. We practiced hiding around the corner in our classroom and staying quite until someone came to unlock our door and tell us if we were silent enough or not. This was an interesting experience, but I knew it was a necessary practice just as it is necessary to practice fire drills at school.
As the day went on, our co-op teacher told us more about the different types of learners in our classroom, so that we would know who we would be teaching. She gave us examples like: extremely quiet/hard to talk to students, an ADD student, students from a lower income family, and students learning English as their second language. I am thankful for this information and I hope that I am able to reach out and meet all of the students needs in this classroom. Our teacher also gave us some resource ideas to use as a teacher like “Plan Board” and “Success Maker”. Next, the students had Numeracy, but all of the grade 8’s joined together and our grade 7’s left to another classroom. I could definitely tell that the tone of the class changed when the students changed. This was an interesting experience because the students started the class by watching two “Math Antics” videos on percents and then they were given an assignment to complete in class. I felt like the videos went over the material too quickly for them to understand and that there should have been further explanation given to the whole class. I got to go around and help some of the students and some of them were quite lost. Even though we had two teachers, an EA and two interns in the classroom, I felt like there was not enough help for the students to be able to complete the assignment.
After math, we had an hour lunch break. So Rehana and I got to get to know a few of the staff members as we ate our lunches. After lunch, Rehana and I got to teach our intro lesson. The students seemed to respect us enough to listen to us introduce ourselves, share some fun facts about ourselves, and explain the “Nickname Game”, but once we split up into two groups and started to share our names and adjectives that started with the same letter as our names, the students started to let loose a bit and got a little wild, which was hard to control. It was definitely a great experience to get to know the students’ names though. After we shared in the two groups we came together as a big group and shared our names with each other. Overall, I think our lesson went well considering that they were a group of Grade 7/8 students. I think that as soon as the students were out of their seats, they were a little bit anxious and fidgety. Through this teaching, I learned that the students need to be told clear instructions and kept on task because otherwise they will get off topic and stray away from the point that we are trying to make.
After our lesson, we had a half hour Physical Education class in the Gym. We got to participate with the kids and play dodge-ball for 20 minutes and volleyball for 10 minutes. It was fun to play around in the Gym, but not everyone was participating in volleyball. It made me sad that not everyone was actively participating and that there was only 30 minutes of Gym time. After Physical Education, our teacher had an hour of “Prep Time” because she did not have to teach French to her students, so we were able to talk more about the classroom and ask questions about our future lesson plans during this time. Apparently, our students are always a little bit more restless and anxious after French class, so dealing with them after French in Arts Education may be a struggle. I am excited about their Arts Education assignment though because they are to create a visual art piece that shows their work on a researched social injustice issue. The students were coming up with some great ideas to create something that showed social injustice issues such as race, gender, domestic abuse, and even Donald Trump’s views about building a wall to keep out Mexicans. After Arts Education the students were to clean up before ending their day with recess.
Overall, I am excited to see what I can accomplish with these Grade 7/8 students. I think they have great potential and they are great critical thinkers already. They also have a great sense of humor, so I look forward to teaching them future lessons. One thing that stood out to me though, was when my teacher told me that a lot of the students in her class this year have low self esteem. It made me sad, but I know that it is a reality in Middle Years classrooms. I am hoping that this semester I am able to build positive relationships with the students and encourage them in their learning. I also hope to make some sort of an impact of helping them gain some more confidence and positive self esteem.
Thanks for reading!
~Lila Gaertner ~