EDU 107 Reflection

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 1.16.13 PMMelinda Pellerin-Duck once said that “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else but teaching; it is my vocation. It is part of my life, my soul, and my heart.” Going into my first semester as an undergraduate student, I was beyond ecstatic to be taking my first education class. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to become a teacher. Once I stepped into EDU 107, I felt like my dream of becoming an educator was actually becoming a reality. Introduction to Teaching has furthered my perception of teachers’ roles both inside and outside of the classroom, helped me view myself and others with a more open mindset, demonstrated how to create a welcoming classroom environment, and reinstilled my love and passion for teaching.

While I have had previous experience working in a middle school classroom as a teacher aide, I’m grateful that EDU 107 has continued to further my perceptions about teaching. One of the most beneficial aspects of this course was that it made me start to think from an educator’s point of view. The more we listened to speakers, talked about different aspects of being a teacher, and actually did field observations, the more I could really see myself having my own classroom. I found this to be especially when I was back at my high school doing my observation hours with one of my favorite teachers. Everything about being in a classroom helping students, grading papers, and facilitating discussion felt so right. It was through these experiences during Introduction to Teaching that helped me start to really think like a teacher.

Additionally, EDU 107 has allowed me to view myself and others with a more open mindset. We spent a significant amount of time in this course discussing student diversity and inclusion. I am an advocate for promoting diversity and I feel that this course has furthered my understanding of diversity really means. Contrary to popular belief, diversity isn’t just about skin color. Diversity is about every person we come in contact with having a different background, different beliefs, and different perspectives. During class, we did an activity that really helped me redefine diversity; we had to answer a few questions about ourselves, our background and then share our answers with others. Although our class is not very racially diverse, we all differed within the answers to our questions. EDU 107 has truly helped me broaden what diversity means.

Walking into Introduction to Teaching every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday was a breath of fresh air. I absolutely loved coming to this class because teaching is something that I’m very passionate about, but I also really loved the classroom environment. Unlike most college classes, the atmosphere in this room was always warm, welcoming, and friendly. I think that part of what created this warm environment was the interactive component of the course. If this course was set up in lecture format, the environment would’ve been more formal and professional. However, since the content was very hands-on and interactive, I felt that it created an environment where students felt comfortable to share their experiences and collaborate with other students. In my future classroom, I will definitely arrange the furniture so students can sit in groups because I feel that groups allow for discussion and collaboration that traditional rows do not.

Even though EDU 107 has come to a close, my heart is still set on becoming a teacher. I know in my heart that being in front of a classroom of students and helping them succeed, both academically and personally, is my purpose. My teachers have been some of the most inspirational and influential people in my life; they have challenged me, changed me, and empowered me to be the best me I can possibly be. I want to be that person for my students. Education is one of the most powerful tools in the world and I want to make learning fun. I want to help my students to enjoy learning and help them understand the immense value and purpose that education serves in our society.

After much pondering and doing field experience in both middle and high school level classrooms, I have decided to pursue a Secondary Level Certification from the state of Michigan. I believe that being a high school teacher is really the place for me to be. As a high school student, my teachers did an exemplary job developing meaningful relationships with me and showing me that there is more to learning than simply taking a test. My characteristics of being empathetic, kind, compassionate, and dedicated would allow me to fulfill the role of being an excellent high school level educator. Becoming a high school teacher would allow me to develop my own relationships with students and help them find value in learning as well. One area that I plan to further develop myself to becoming a phenomenal high school educator is finding how to motivate students who simply don’t value their education. I plan to develop myself in this area by gaining experience working directly with these types of students during my field experiences and find out what motivates them.

EDU 107 has been a very rewarding, eye-opening, and intriguing course. Throughout this class, I was able to gain new perspectives about teaching, broaden my definition of diversity, and gain insight on my future teaching style and objectives. Through this course, I have reconfirmed that teaching my passion, love, and purpose. The meaningful discussions, readings, and experiences have truly impacted me as a future educator and I know that I will carry the content learned in this course throughout my journey to becoming an educator.

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Dreams do Come True: Observation Hours @ HHS Part 2

It was a blessing spending an entire school day observing one of my favorite high Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 2.08.51 PMschool 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.

HHS Administrators, Mrs. Street, a few leaderships students and I after the Pink Game Pep assembly!

HHS Administrators, Mrs. Street, a few leaderships students and I after the Pink Game Pep assembly!

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.

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Mrs. Street’s Pinterest-y classroom

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.