Teaching Tip #5

Have a tub/box to put your read alouds in after you finish reading them. 

My classroom teacher has a tub next to her chair where she can put the books she has read that week in when she finishes reading them. I think this is a great idea because she can then quickly pick one of them up if she refers back to it while reading a different book or doing an activity about it. It is also very easy to remember what you have already read because it is all right there. Shelving the books at the end of the week is easy too because her books are organized by topic and she can simply pull of the books out and shelve them together when she finishes the week.

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Trial by Fire

I have just finished my third week/ second official week of student teaching. Yesterday, my classroom teacher was in meeting all afternoon. Today, my teacher was absent. We talked about the plans prior to but I have never taught more than a 45 minute lesson at one time. Yesterday was my first time teaching more than those few 45 minute lessons. The plus was that my class’s teacher aid and a substitute where there with me. Today there was different sub and the teacher aid was sick. Only three kids cried, four students went to the nurse, one student went home sick, and one student had 2 1/2 nose bleeds.

One student (the one who went to the nurse and ended up going home because he was sobbing because of an ear ache) came up to me today and told me he was not smart. I asked him why he did not think he was smart and he told me it was because he could not read. I explained to him that just because he could not read the same books the teacher reads during the read aloud did not mean he was not smart. I have heard a million stories from my professors and other teachers about those moments when you have the opportunity to give a student encouragement like that. I was glad I had that opportunity today.

There is nothing like the trial by fire approach to student teaching! The best part of the day though, was when (even though I made quite a few of them move their clips for not doing what they were supposed to) half of the students came up and gave me a giant group hug. Even though the day was stressful and I had to be pretty stern with most of them, they were still glad I was in their classroom. That makes all the fuss and hard work and the difficulties of balancing 27 different peoples needs and education worth my time. Even though things went well I hope my classroom teacher and the aid will be back on Monday!

Teaching Tip #2

Have assigned seat in the bleachers during convocations or other large school-wide activities. 

At the Christmas program at my school, I sat in the bleachers with the students while they watched the teachers sing and dance. The program was very fun but, like any six or seven year old, my students had trouble keeping still. There were a few students who I was constantly reminding to stop touching other students or randomly standing up or stomping their feet to make that really loud obnoxious applause. Most of the students were too far away for me to talk to without yelling during another grades song. I had to resort to hand gestures which are often difficult for young students to read. The two students in the class who should not have been sitting next to each other ended up beside the other and the student I had to ask to sit down every two minutes was far away from me. If a seating chart in the bleachers had been assigned and practiced things would have gone much smoother and the students would have enjoyed the program much more.

My Teaching Inspiration

As student teaching approaches, I find myself looking to my teaching inspiration over and over. In first grade, I knew I wanted to be a teacher and the assistant teacher in my class (back when every class had two teaches because money wasn’t as tight back then) really encouraged me to continue wanting to be a teacher. She retired a few years after I was in her class and gave me tons of teacher supplies to play school with. I still have a lot of it… And I still play school with it but now I have real students!

The second person who inspired me is my childhood neighbor. She allowed me to come into her classroom every day during my home room period in middle school and every day after school my freshman and sophomore year of hs. She always made me feel like a teacher and helped me learn more about being an effective teacher than any of the college classes I have taken. I still have a picture of her class sitting on my desk to remind me how much I love kindergarten.

The final person who has inspired me is Laura Bush. Former First Lady and former teacher, her story is one that has inspired me since I first remember seeing her on television after the events of 9/11. I have read her book over and over and have fallen in love with her views on reading and teaching students to love reading. My love for reading and First Ladies, inspired by Mrs. Bush, has inspired me to always remember what is most important, that students love learning. I cannot wait to spend every day helping my students discover what is so great about lifelong learning!

“A love of books, of holding a book, turning its pages, looking at its pictures, and living its fascinating stories goes hand-in-hand with a love of learning.” -Laura Bush