Today was another successful day of teaching for me at the elementary school. Again, I feel like I handled the classes well, delivered quality instruction, improved my management skills, and became more confident as an elementary art teacher.
I feel like I improved even more today because my cooperating teacher spent some time out of the classroom in order to hang up artwork for the upcoming Specials Showcase. She told me that they normally have a gym week in order to allow her to hang up the artwork, similar to how we had a gym week in order to allow the music teacher to practice for the Talent Show, but because I’m here, classes can continue as usual. I can conduct the art classes while she prepares for the showcase. My cooperating teacher said that she’s been going home much earlier than she normally does, with me here and that she feels every teacher should have an assistant. I’m glad that I can help.
While my teacher was out of the room, I felt more comfortable and confident when completely taking over. I found that it was easier for me to manage the classroom because I didn’t feel like I was overstepping my cooperating teacher. She has a strong, in-charge personality, which can be a little intimidating and I know how much she doesn’t appreciate others taking over her classes and schedules, so I try my best to follow how she’d like things to be done. It wasn’t that I acted much differently when she wasn’t in the room, but when a student was misbehaving, I didn’t have a slight hesitation to question whether my cooperating teacher would want me to handle the situation or if she would like to handle it herself.
Today, I also bonded and talked more with my cooperating teacher during lunch when we lesson planned and discussed school in general. She was telling me about her past job experiences and the hiring and interviewing process. She explained that it’s a lot easier to get a job when you’re first starting out than it is when you are already in a position. She explained that it’s harder to switch jobs or transfer around due to limited openings and contracts. It’s been difficult for her to land art positions and she even had to resort to being an 8th grade history teacher for a year.
One thing that completely stunned me today happened in Kindergarten.
My cooperating teacher and I generally have our lunch period before the Kindergarten class and because we didn’t have lunch duty today, I used that time to create more teacher-made examples for the 5th grade optical illusion lesson. I really like this lesson as I find it incredibly fun and easy to make. This time, I was trying different shapes and colors than the ones I used in my last illusion.
When the P.R.I.D.E. Leader Kindergarten students entered the room earlier than class started, a perk they get for being a P.R.I.D.E. Leader but honestly just an annoyance for my cooperating teacher as it cuts down on her preparation time in-between classes, they noticed what I had been working on. They were completely enthralled with the example I had made and begged me to show them how to make it. Since today was an experimental day for kindergarten in which they could draw/make whatever they would like and we had a few minutes before class, I decided to show them how to make the illusion. I wasn’t sure if they would be able to create it successfully, but since they were so interested, I figured I’d play with their interests.
My kindergarten students blew me away by being able to successfully create the illusion.
I was seriously impressed. Like I said, my 5th grade students were struggling to create this illusion and somehow I had several kindergarten students master the lesson. There was one girl in particular who’s complete piece looked like a teacher-made example. The other students’ works weren’t as successful, but they weren’t bad at all. When my cooperating teacher came back from hanging up artwork in the hallways, I told her to look at the kindergartener’s works. When she did, she was just as impressed as I was.
“We have 5th grade students that can’t do this!” she exclaimed.
“What?!” the kindergarten students giggled. “But it’s so easy!”
My teacher immediately pulled out a camera and began taking pictures of the students’ work.
“I’m going to show my 5th graders,” she said. “I’m going to tell them that kindergarteners can do this.”
I have to admit that I was pleased with my performance today. Things are going well and it’s making me feel happier and better about everything. I’m still completely stressed about completing my thesis by the Wednesday deadline, but at least things are going well with Student Teaching.