I have just arrived home from culmination day – a day where all PSI students get together in their seminar family and chat about their experiences over the past five weeks. This allows each of us to bring closure to our experience, share, reflect and determine our next steps.
PSI for me was an experience that re-affirmed my love and passion for teaching. Recently I wrote a post Born to Teach Students, not Subjects which highlighted the fact that prior to PSI, I wanted to teach high school math and science because I love math and science. However, since I have realized that no matter what the subject matter, I am born to teach. This has been extremely comforting to me, I realized that I am in the right career for the right reasons.
I have learned so much over the past five weeks, but here are some highlights.
1. Routines are crucial to a classroom operating efficiently and effectively – students need these routines and they like to have them. This was proven to make classroom management easier, students know immediately if they have stepped outside of the boundaries that have been set out and can begin to self monitor their behaviour.
2. At the grade three level, the students are still passionate to learn – I learned to take this energy and channel it into my teaching. Our energy combined made the learning experience enjoyable for all those involved.
3. Do not assume students have learned what you had intended them to learn – we must constantly assess students for learning. To just assess for learning is not nearly enough, this assessment needs to be effectively used to direct further instruction, learning and assessments.
4. Your major, not your major, your passion as a student, your least favourite subject as a student – it does not matter! For me, Language Arts was my least favourite subject as a student but unbelievably fun to teach this semester.
5. The teacher encourages and facilitates students learning – the students direct it (even as young as grade 3). When students collaborate with one another, are engaged in their learning, feel they are finding success and see their finished product they have learned.
To end off the day, we began to think about various PSII goals. I found it difficult to think of goals for next semester as it will be a completely different experience, one that I have no idea what to expect. For now, I have come up with three goals that will, hopefully, guide me to success in PSII.
1. Incorporate diversity in lessons. I found this extremely easy in science because the nature of the material is to allow students to explore and become engaged in their learning. I struggled most with this in math as I found it extremely easy to make a worksheet to allow the students to practice their understanding of representing numbers. Although students were able to use manipulatives and I incorporated the SMART board (and allowed them to use it from time to time), I think I can do a better job of integrating different activities to help my students learn.
2. To continue differentiating my instruction. During PSI I diligently worked to provide support in my lessons for those students I knew that struggled. In PSII, I strive to further refine this skill to allow all students in my classroom, regardless of their level, achieve their own highest potential.
3. Develop my role as a facilitator. I want to move away from teacher directed learning and allow my students to take more accountability for their learning. I recognize that I will need to provide guidance to my students and that moving away from teacher directed lessons entirely is impractical. This being said, I want to develop routines with my students so that if they have finished their work, they know what to do next so as to not distract their classmates and become disengaged from class. I also want to allow students to collaborate with one another and seek answers to their questions under my guidance. This is my more ambitious goal, but I am excited to see where it leads me.
I am thankful that I feel the way I do about my PSI experience and as my TA told me yesterday, I now need to get excited for the challenges that lie ahead!
Until next time,