It was a blessing spending an entire school day observing one of my favorite high school teachers. In high school, Mrs. Street was my World History teacher, Economics teacher, and my Student Leadership/Student Council Advisor. As one of her students, Mrs. Street was always someone I thought was a phenomenal teacher. After my day of observation, I’ve learned that what makes her such an incredible educator is her genuine care for her students, her interactive, meaningful lessons, and her inviting, warm, and welcoming classroom culture.
During my day at Holly High School, I observed two classes of 11th grade Economics and two classes of 9th-12th grade Student Leadership. Although I graduated from Holly High School and have already completed a full day of observation there, I did notice some new differences in the students. Observing predominantly upperclassmen students was very different than observing freshmen. These more mature upperclassmen almost found it hard to stay on task and complete the assigned task because they “simply didn’t want to” whereas when I observed freshmen, they just seemed to be confused about the expectations of them, still trying to adapt to high school level courses. Additionally, it was the day of HHS’ Annual Pink Football Game and the students were very lively, especially the leadership students who planned the event, and were excited to get through the day and experience the Pink Game Pep Assembly and the football game later on that night.
One aspect that makes Mrs. Street such a phenomenal educator is her adaptability to different learning styles and her ability to engage students. In economics, Mrs. Street utilized independent work time, turn and talk to a partner, and class discussion to ensure she was meeting the needs of all her students. In leadership class, the instruction was completely individual work time so students were able to complete various tasks such as spirit day counting, selling t-shirts, and painting posters. The hands-off teaching in leadership allows students to take control of their learning and leadership experience while Mrs. Street is there to support her students and help when necessary.
If you look up a picture of the perfect classroom, a photo of Mrs. Street’s classroom would most likely appear. Her classroom is one of the warmest, inviting, welcoming classrooms I’ve ever been in. I really loved how all the inspirational quotes and decorations made students feel so at home in her room. Additionally, although you’d expect a classroom with many decorations and even four large comfy chairs to feel cluttered, there was plenty of space to move around and the classroom did not even give off a cluttered vibe. As I saw students become so at home in her room when they entered, I came to the realization that I want to decorate my classroom so it has a warm, welcoming climate where students feel at peace.
My day of observation at Holly High School was a true learning experience. I discovered the difference between freshmen students and upperclassmen students within the classroom and the effect that a large event, such as the Pink Game, can have on students’ learning throughout the day. Additionally, I was reminded that it is essential for students to have lessons that encompass all learning styles and is both relevant and meaningful to them. Also, Mrs. Street’s picture-perfect classroom gave me ideas to make my future classroom as homey and welcoming as hers. I’m grateful for all the lessons I learned throughout my experience observing Mrs. Street and I’m excited to translate these learning experiences into my career as an educator.