Wow, the end of the semester has definitely crept up on me! I cannot believe it is almost time for graduation. Although we technically have until December 4th in our classrooms, my last day has changed and is now Tuesday, November 20. I have a job that I will be starting after Thanksgiving break because that is the start of second trimester.
As I start to think about leaving this classroom I have so many different emotions. I have come to know these students really well and I’m certainly sad to leave them. I am excited and happy at the same time though because it means I have completed my undergraduate degree! Three and a half years ago the though of finishing my degree seemed so very distant, I could hardly fathom it. I am also feeling a bit uneasy and perhaps slightly scared as the end of college means I have to venture out into the “real world” where jobs are certainly not a guarantee. I surely hope I can find a teaching job that I love!
It is my hope that the students I have had the pleasure of teaching this semester have learned as much from me as I have learned from them. I have noticed that the theory of building positive relationships with students is truly the most important part of teaching. Establishing these relationships opens the door to so many different teaching opportunities. Learning happens in our normal classroom lessons, but it is the extra help that so many students need. I have encouraged the students to come see me in the morning and during this time such great things happen!
I am sure that what I have learned this semester will translate into whatever I end up doing in the future. I will never forgot so many of the things that happened.
So a lot has been running through my mind this week. First of all, I have one hour that has several trouble students in it. On their own, these students would not be difficult to handle but when you combine them it’s like dynamite. They just feed off of one another and they can really be a hindrance to other students learning. There is one boy in particular who is the instigator. He is a funny kid always telling jokes and rolling me his “pick up lines” which, I do think is somewhat funny before class starts and such. I have made a point to tell him that when the bell rings, it means it is time to focus on math and not the other things. Yet, I was teaching a lesson on Thursday and smack dab in the middle he shouts out “ms. Petersen, do you think I am disrespectful?” (Backstory I later found out–he got in trouble in the previous hour and was told he was disrespectful) I basically ignored his comment, and said “that was not appropriate, let’s move on. If you have a math related comment or question, please raise your hand.” This seemed to work for now but he does stuff like this almost daily. When do I quit dealing with it in class? Is it better for me to ask him to step out in the hallway so he doesn’t affect other people’s learning? It’s hard to know where to draw the line.
On an unrelated note…I have a lot of thinking about the near future to do this weekend. I have been offered a long term sub job in an English classroom. I have a meeting/interview on Monday morning for a biology long term sub job and I also have an interview on Monday for a math interventionist job. I cannot do them all. I could do the interventionist position or the other two (they don’t overlap). I guess we will see how it all pans out. I hope I get interviews like this for a full time position next fall!!
For our outside dialogue, we discussed the validity and usefulness of multiple learning styles in the classroom. There are different takes on learning styles. It seems that the validity of a person having one primary learning styles has not been scientifically proven. Yet, we all can identify the ways we typically learn things the best. The issue is that the learning style we prefer very much depends on the situation and what is being learned. In school, I prefer to learn by writing things down. I do not do well retaining information if I just listen to someone. Yet, when I am leaning dance I am a more visual and kinesthetic learner.
It seems that people are wired to be able to learn in many ways. Depending on the topic, one learning style might be more beneficial but more likely seeing things done in many different learning styles helps because it is repetition. In the classroom , it is important to model using different learning styles because it helps drill the topic but in multiples way. One student might remember a certain method better, but seeing it different ways is advantageous to all.
In my classroom, I plan to address topics in several ways including visually, orally, and written. I also want to bring in differentiation to help my students learn. At times, I may differentiate by ability but I could also differentiate by giving choices that cover different interests of my students. This seems like an overwhelming task at times, yet it is important in order to help my students grow as learners.