Miss. Hillary Strain

Archive for the category “Weekly Posts”

3 weeks already?

Has it seriously been 3 weeks already?  This experience has flown by, I can’t believe that it’s over!  Unfortunately it’s back to classes for me and I’m sure going to miss teaching grade 9/10 math every day.  It’ll be weird being the student now and not the teacher. This final week wasn’t as busy and crazy as the first two.  My partner, Courtney, and I decided to get our week planned ahead of time so we could enjoy our last week rather then spending each noon hour photocopying/getting ready for our lesson, spending each evening planning and worrying about the lessons we have to create for the next day.

Looking back at my experience teaching I have realized how much I have grown compared to where I was on the first day of pre-internship.  I am much more comfortable being up at the front of the classroom and am not embarrassed/ashamed when I don’t know the answer to one of the students’ questions or if I make a mistake when trying to explain things.   Lesson planning has also become a lot easier to me, especially when I’m constantly teaching the same class so I could make consecutive lessons it seemed to go a lot smoother than it has in the past.  Something I realize that I still need to work on is word choice and content knowledge.  Although I did have an understanding of the topic that I was teaching, I need to be more aware about my word choices when explaining it to my students.  I have never realized that little words/changes in words while explaining something would make a difference in their understanding.

We also had another “first” in our teaching career this week!  Thursday our co-op was away and had a substitute come in, it just so happens that there was a fire in the science lab and the school had to be evacuated!  We didn’t get informed of the procedures for fire escape and the substitute didn’t have a clue either, we ended up just following the crowds of students out of the school.

It has been a great experience for these past three weeks and I have learned so much about myself as a teacher.  This experience has definitely clarified that I am where I’m supposed to be!  I now can’t wait for internship to begin.

 

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So this is what planning is like..

Well the second week has gone and past and I can’t believe there’s only one week left of pre-internship.  This week went by super fast as a whole but the days seemed to be pretty long and I believe it’s due to the amount of planning that I’ve had to do.  It was unreal,  I was planning about 2-3 lessons the night before they were supposed to be taught, on top of correcting homework checks/quizzes and preparing the final unit exam.  It’s been busy and a good experience but there has been some late nights!  I guess I better get used to it! ha ha

I’m continuing teaching my period 4 Foundations of Mathematics and Precalculus 10 class and it is going good!  The students are getting more conformable with me, as well as I am with them, and my students’ personalities are coming out and we’re starting to form student-teacher relationships as well.  It’s been great forming these because it makes the lessons and class time a little more fun for all!  This week, I also picked up a mother Foundations of Mathematics and Precalculus 10 class to teach in period 5.  My co-op and a co-worker planned that class together so they have been on the same timeline and are teaching the same things at the same time.  It was an amazing opportunity, I got to teach the same lesson back to back and I was able to make quick little changes to my lessons that were successful in period 4 to improve it in period 5.   It was great!  I also picked up a Math 9 class for two days of the week and got to teach there as well.  The students’ in that class were very quiet and it was hard to get any feedback on how the lessons were going, so it was a little hard to teach that class.

This week, the students didn’t have school on thursday due to 3-way conferences (parent-teacher-student interviews).  My partner, Courtney, and I got the opportunity to sit in on the conferences (if the parents’ allowed us) and see what they are all about.  It was really cool to see how these interviews operated from a teachers’ side of things.  Who would have thought that there was a little preparation that goes into them and the students’ were actually involved in the conversations.  This was a great experience for me and I am glad that most of the parents’ allowed us to listen in on the conferences.  It allowed me to see the little things that occur and what teachers do to aid the students who need some help.

As stated above, I am starting to form good student-teacher relationships with my FPC 10 class that I am teaching for the full 3 weeks.  It’s interesting to see all the students’ personalities come out, that weren’t out the first week of pre-internship, and how comfortable some students are getting with me.  Every day this past week, one of the girls in my class (who didn’t say one word for the first week I was teaching) complimented me on my outfit/appearance each day.  This completely shocked me and was quite out of the blue.   The last thing I thought my students would be thinking about/looking at was what I am wearing and my appearance.  This kind of made the whole role model/professional image come a reality to me in a way.  They’re not just there to learn, they notice the little things and stuff that you would least expect!

Overall, a great second week of pre-internship.  I have learnt a lot about the lessons that I’ve taught and have been making changes accordingly.   I’m loving the fact that I now know teaching is the right job for me!

 

“Oh, I thought they were new students!”

Well, the first week of pre-internship has come and gone and all that’s in my mind is where did that week go?!  This first week was a whirlwind, it almost seems like a blur with how fast it flew by.  It seems like it was just last week that I was meeting my students and now I am spending the weekend marking a quiz that they have completed on the first half of the topic I have taught them.  Although it has been a bit of a stressful, busy, and always looking ahead week, I am loving every minute being at the front of the classroom doing what I enjoy.

The one and only thing that I was worried about occurring, happened!  My partner, Courtney, and I got mistaken for students!  When our co-op introduced us to the class, a student shouted out “Oh, I thought they were new students!”.  I guess we blend it well with our students, since we’re both pretty short,but luckily the students aren’t treating us any differently now that they know we are teaching them.  I am teaching Foundations of Mathematics and Precalculus 10 for my whole 3 weeks of pre-internship. The first two days of the week were amazing.  It was very interesting to see how my lessons flowed together and the students were able to recall back from what we learnt the day before to help them figure out the lesson. The students also seemed to grasp the concept, solving fractional exponents, quite well.  I was pleased!  Wednesday, I had my first ever gong-show of a lesson.  The students were very hyper/crazy that day and I had a hard time trying to control and manage them at the same time as getting my lesson across.  The lesson that I was teaching that day, negative exponents, was an easy concept for them to grasp onto, which now looking back at the lesson is probably why the students were so wild that day.  I spent a lot of time trying to manage the class, I had to keep repeating “okay up here everyone!”  “listen” “eyes and ears up here” to get them to pay attention.  I learnt now that maybe I will be able to spend less time doing examples as a class, and just do one or to together to make sure they understand the concept and then let them work on their own.

Thursday, the power went out in the first period and didn’t turn on until after lunch.  They ended up sending the students home (cancelling school) at lunch time and we got the afternoon to prep and plan, which was nice!  This power outage pushed our quiz (on mon-wed topics) to friday (which I now get to spend the weekend correcting) and us as teachers had to adapt our planning for the afternoon/long term goals to the next day.  This experience allowed me to see what actually happens when us students get sent home.  Teachers still stay at the school and act like it’s an original work day.   Since we got to plan and work ahead, I am now all planned for next week!! So it will be nice to not have to plan and make my lessons the night before each day.

When I wasn’t teaching, I spent time in some other classes in the school.  I was in a Chemistry IB class, a Spanish class, a Core French class, a Creative Writing class, a Calculus class and various Math 9 classes (the school has split them up into ability levels so I saw a class very adapted, a average class and an advance class).  I want to keep spending time in other classes/subject areas because it is interesting to see how other teachers approach and teach things. I also got to see many different ways teachers adapted for students, different classroom management techniques and other things that I can and will be able to use in the future.  Overall, it’s been great first week and I am looking forward to what the next two will bring!

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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