Miss. Hillary Strain

Orientation

I spent Wednesday and Thursday hanging out at the high school I am placed at for my pre-internship.  These two days were kind of like an orientation for us to get familiar with the school, our c0-op, the students, the teachers and administrators.  I have never felt so welcomed at a school before.  Each teacher we passed in the hallway would greet us by saying hello/how are you with smiles on their faces.  One teacher gave us a mini-tour of the school as she was showing us our way to our co-ops room because my partner, Courtney, and I were lost due to the size of the school (over 1600 students).  As our co-op gave us an actual tour of the school, she stopped by different teachers’ classrooms to introduce us to them.  Each of the teachers invited Courtney and I into their classroom to observe their teaching or even teach at any time we want!  Everyone is so friendly, nice and inviting which is great to know and makes me feel so much better about the next three weeks.

When I met my co-op, Joni, I have never been so excited.  She was so friendly and welcoming to Courtney and I.  She greeted us with a big smile and seemed very down to earth and relatable. I found out that she was also a math major when she was in university and she actually had Rick (my main math professor/advisor) as a prof as well. She knows exactly what we are going through, experience wise and also back at the university class wise, which makes it so much easier for me to communicate and feel more comfortable around her.   I have only spent two days with her and I have came to the conclusion that I am going to have a great experience with her.  She has already given us a lot of tips about teaching/assessing/communicating and she is being very generous and sharing some of her teaching resources with us!

While I was observing her these past two days teaching her classes I noticed she is very explicit about everything with her students, particularly assessment! This stood out to me and I admire she does this. With my high school experience my teachers never let us know their expectations and how we were being assessed.  By being explicit with your students, like Joni does, it gives the students a sense of relief almost to know what they have to be able to do rather than being confused and in the dark about what needs to be met.  Joni’s first period class, WA 10, is doing a project on scaling.  On the handout of what the project consisted of, she included a break down on how the students will be assessed on their project.  The students can then work and create their projects accordingly because they now know what she is expecting their final creations to look like.   Her period four and five, both FP 10, classes have a quiz today. Yesterday she spent the day doing a review of the material that will be covered on the test.   She actually made a sample quiz and gave it to the students. She then continued to work with the students to complete these questions and explained to them that the quiz will be close to an exact replica of what they did today.  She also explained how each question would be weighted (whether they were out of 1 or 2 marks) and what she would be expecting (showing work/explanations/etc) under each question of the quiz.    The students seemed more relax after that review period because they knew what to expect the next day.  I want do this when I teach.

Also within the two days I was at the school I found out what class I would be teaching during my time there.  I have been given the opportunity to teacher Foundations of Mathematics and Pre-Calulus 10!  I will be finishing up her unit on exponents and radicals (starting this coming up week), which means by the end of the week I will have to create an assignment to get some evaluation/feedback on their understanding of the content, before their unit test which would occur the following tuesday. Perhaps I will be allows to partake in creating the unit exam because I taught the second half of the unit, time will tell!   After the unit test, I will then be starting and teaching most of Unit 5 which is on relations and functions.  We haven’t gotten that far yet but I’m sure there will be some sort of assessment that I will have to do, whether that is a quiz or assignment, to see where the students are at in their learning.   Joni’s major tip on formative assessment is observing the students’ work and to be constantly walking around the classroom.  She says that this way she can stop by and check in with the students who she feels is struggling and the students also seem more willing to call on her for help when she is circulating.  I am going to use this tip while I’m teaching, I think it will be a good way to see whether the students are comprehending the material and be able to adjust my teaching/lesson the next day if needed!

As stated above, I have never been so excited to be in such a welcoming school where I feel wanted, safe and comfortable.  I am looking forward to what the next three weeks will bring!

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