Monday, 4 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day One

          Today was my first day ever of being a student teacher in a real classroom setting. Sure I've taught classes, but mostly swimming classes my entire life, and that is much different than teaching non-swimmers. I was so nervous the night before that I could barely sleep. So many questions and thoughts were racing through my head, like "what do I do once I get there?" "who's my host teacher?" "will she like me?" "what if the kids don't like me?" "am I going to have to eat with other teachers during lunch?" "is that going to be awkward?" and several other thoughts of paranoia. However upon arriving at the elementary school, it wasn't so bad. When I walked into the office, I was greeted by the most lovely secretary and vice principal who were very accommodating and a grade 3 teacher named Alana (I think) walked me to my host teacher's classroom. My initial thoughts were, "wow this school is predominately white" and "all these teachers are moderately young." My host teacher Miss. Anderson was lovely right from the beginning. She was extremely helpful in showing me the ropes of the classroom and explaining to me about her classroom set up and her expectations of students. She gave me a thorough tour of the small yet cozy classroom and I was already starting to feel comfortable and less anxious.
        The first two periods of the day were prep time for us because the students had drama and pool so Miss. Anderson made me mark a bunch of work and file some of the students' completed work. That passed by really quickly, and it was time for the students to come back. Miss. Anderson introduced me to the students but she kept getting my name wrong haha. She would say Miss. Yang for a while, and then the students even started correcting her. She said that the "Zh-" sound was difficult so I told her the "H" is basically silent and it's the same as "Zang" essentially. Anyway, she was nice enough to play introduction games with the students so I could learn their names as well as provide them with name tags. Then it was recess, and when the students came back we did some math. It was the kind like "If Bonnie has 3 apples and Betty has 2 apples, how many do they have together?" She basically was speaking the whole time when teaching it and I didn't particularly agree with it because it was probably difficult for the children. I don't know I feel like math should be a visual subject because it's easier to envision it that way, but most of the students understood so that was an effective method for her I suppose, and she has a lot of experience so it's all good in the hood.
        Then we had this long lull in time so I made a sign for the CN Tower art work display about foreground, middle ground, and background (or something). And Miss. Anderson was impressed by my craftiness so that was good. Then I can't really remember what happened too much, just some station work that dealt with literacy and art. And while Miss. Anderson was reading with some students I just walked around and looked at what students were doing and tried to encourage them and check out their work. Then it was lunch I think? I ate in the staff room with the other teachers and I was nervous at first but it wasn't so bad. I noticed that teachers swear a lot haha. And one of the teachers offered us Haagen Das ice cream which was really nice.
          But the best part of the day was probably when I got to film the poetry presentations for the students. I made this my little project and had several little helpers that helped me film and recruit students. I'm supposed to edit this video and have it in time for the open house on Wednesday, it should be fun!
          Anyway, I'm looking forward to more craziness tomorrow and we'll see how it goes! I'm going to post a blog post everyday of my placement (hopefully) because I really enjoy the memories, and I might be able to look back and reflect and find ways that might help my teaching in the future.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

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