My second day visiting Mrs. Parisi and Mrs. Schueler’s kindergarten class at Gesu School was just as exciting and chaotic as my first visit. Fridays seem to be one of the quieter days for the kindergarteners, which seemed fitting to me because I think they deserve to have the opportunity to play and relax. When I arrived that morning many of the students recognized me from my visit the other day and a few kids even came up to me and gave me a hug. The students once again began the day by completing bellwork. That day their bellwork involved cutting and pasting pictures that correlated with “sh” sounding words. It was interesting to see how diligently and focused each student worked on this assignment. After the students finished their bellwork they went to the computer lab for computer class. During computer time, Mrs. Parisi centered her lesson on numbers and shapes where the kindergarteners had to find a certain number of different items and place them on the screen. I like that she incorporated a math lesson into an assignment that the students were completing in computer class. All of the activities that I witnessed occurring in this kindergarten class were very familiar to me and refreshed memories of my own kindergarten experiences. I realized that I was being taught moral lessons at that young of an age but in a way that I was able to comprehend. The time that I have spent observing in this kindergarten class has changed how I see teachers who teach students of this age group and challenged my feelings towards teaching.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed my first day observing at Gesu School. I spent a few hours Wednesday morning observing Mrs. Parisi and Mrs. Schueler’s kindergarten class. The time spent in their classroom offered me a glimpse of what it is like to work with young children. The students began the day by completing bell work, which were timetables that they had to fill in and color. After that, they read a note that Mrs. Parasi wrote to them explaining what activities they would be doing that day at school. I noticed that Mrs. Parisi has the students cite words, punctuation marks, and overall sentence structures of the note as a form of review and practice. That particular day, the students were going to three specials: library, gym, and Spanish, which meant that they were going to have a super busy day. When Mrs. Parisi finished this activity it was time for the students to go to visit the library. During the kindergarteners library visit the librarian read them two stories that related to snow and winter weather because that was what the weather was like on that day. I was amazed by how engaged and quiet the students were during story time. After their story time ended the students were allowed to check out 1 book to take home for the week and read. I couldn’t believe how excited they all were to take out books from the library! Next, the kindergarteners were off to physical education where they were able to release some pent up energy by running around the gym. Most of the activities were fun and easy for the students to understand which I found to be a good way to introduce sportsmanship and teamwork. After spending only a few hours in Mrs. Parasi’s classroom I could see that she was a great teacher who was a big advocate for teaching her students about responsibility, self-control, and ownership of actions and behavior.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
I absolutely loved my experience at The Agnon School because it offered me an excellent glimpse of the level of education that I am interested in teaching. I was placed in Inez, Michelle, and Beth’s kindergarten class with three of my classmates where we all became mesmerized by everything that we observed. The first thing that I noticed was the form of communication that was conveyed between the teachers and students, which was very conversational and comfortable. The students addressed their teachers by their first names rather than addressing them with a formal title, which made the environment seem super casual. I thought this was so fascinating and challenged the traditional teaching style that you usually see in most schools. Another thing that I found interesting was how the Jewish faith was incorporated into the curriculum. Every student in this kindergarten class was almost completely fluent in the Hebrew language that I thought was so cool because I had never been exposed to this type of learning environment before. I noticed that every child was able to remain focused despite the distraction of guests in their classroom because their teachers knew how to keep them engaged and interested. Another thing that was interesting to me was how the three teachers in the classroom successful collaborated their teaching tasks between each other. I would have thought that having three teachers in a classroom is too confusing and overwhelming for students, but I was wrong. To conclude, I admire the amount of value that this school has for the Jewish faith and the emphasis that is put on the religious traditions and practices. I am also moved by how much passion and dedication all of the teachers and administrators have for the students of the school
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Over the past ten weeks I have learned so much from my experience in this education class. My perspective of teaching has definitely changed because of everything that I have been exposed throughout the semester. Between the readings from Bill Ayers, To Teach and An Education as well as the in-class projects and class field observations I have formulated my own opinion of teaching. The readings have made me develop thought provoking ideas and consider that there are many different ways to teach in an academic setting. I have also benefited from the group projects that we have worked on in class because I enjoy collaborating ideas with people who share the same passion and interest for teaching that I do. The field observation hours that we have completed as a class have also served as an advantage to me because I have bee able to witness firsthand what it is like to be in a classroom as a bystander rather than a student. By being exposed to different levels of education I have realized which kind of setting I would be most comfortable teaching in. By taking this class I have gained a profound appreciation and admiration for teaching because it has offered a strong introduction to the field.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Based on the readings from this week, in-class school design project, and my own lived experiences I have developed a better perspective of the numerous characteristics that make up good schools. I believe schools should be places full of opportunities, not only for students but for teachers too. If you are not learning from your experiences as a student or as a teacher than you do not receive any benefits. A good school requires teachers who are willing to be creative with their teaching style and willing to invest in the future of their students. When my partners and I were discussing the school design project we reflected upon our own personal experiences as students, and the factors that we thought contributed to developing a good school. We talked a lot about whether structure in academic curriculum served as an advantage to students and the influence that a more restricted curriculum can have on students. Ensuring a balanced curriculum among all schools is important because students deserve to have a standard, well-rounded school experience. Another thing that we discussed was the use of discipline and the impact that it can have on students learning. We also talked about our feelings towards Summerhill School and if we could imagine ourselves teaching or attending at a school like Summerhill. Lastly, although I do admire Neill for his passion for his school system, I am not sure if I would consider Summerhill a “good” school because of the type of learning environment that it provides for students.