Monday, January 16, 2017

FieldBlog6: The Last Day

Wednesday and Thursday at OHS are block schedules. That means you only have half of our classes on Wednesday, and the other half on Thursday. The only change is that your classes are 90 minutes instead of 50. This Wednesday, I sat in on a Global Citizen class, an American Century class, and half of a World History class. In Global Citizenship, Mrs. Cirino started the class with a current event asking the students to writing about what they saw in a picture projected on the whiteboard. At first glance it  looks like two girls looking out to a pasture with a barbed wire fence between them. After the students shared what they wrote, Mrs. Cirino revealed that it was two Native American girls looking at what use to be part of their reservation. Because of the Decoda pipeline, land that used to belong to them has been taken away without their consent. As she informs the students about the protest that are happening, Mrs. Cirino keeps her opinions hidden. She gives the student two articles that support both sides of the argument and have an open discussion with the class to hear their opinions. Following the current event, Mrs. Cirino separated the class into their groups. The homework for the day was to bring in a object that represented your identity. Students were told to show their object while the rest of the group play 20 questions to figure out what the object meant to them.  As the room began talking, Mrs. Cirino walked around to each group and made sure she heard what everyone's object was. I notice that her questions to each student where out of her own interest, but at the same time move the groups in the right direction. She genuinely wanted to know what these objects meant to the students, and when she got closer to the answer a smile came to her face.

After reviewing all of my observations, I was overwhelmed with excitement. Seeing what I had been a part of for so many years, but from a new perspective opened my eyes to all the little details it takes to be a good teacher. Having read different pieces of work on education, and then having the opportunity to observe those different ideas filled me with so much joy. I was blessed to of been able to have such wonderful teachers in my life. Now that it is my turn to move on in the world, I see what it takes to be a good teacher. Everything from time management in lessons, to the tone of your voice when talking to a student, to the way the room is organized plays a role in how the material reaches the student. Teaching is more than explaining material, building relationships and the delivery of the lesson are factors that I will be focusing in on in my career.

FieldBlog5: OHS2

On day two, I chose to sit in on two new classes, as well as two Global Citizenship classes. I began my day in Mr. Mangan’s AP United States History class, or APUSH. APUSH is a lecture driven class where Mr. Mangan has notes on an overhead and tells the stories with great detail. The classroom is set up in a classic way with desks arranged in rows and columns with about 20 students facing one direction. There are flags and movie posters around the room of to give the walls some color. A well placed table lamp sits in the back of the room on a bookshelf and gives the room a movie like feel when the notes are being taken. Opposite of Mrs. Cirino’s class with open discussion and videos, this class was all business. The students knew what to expect with pen and paper ready before class started. Mr. Mangan does a great job at telling the stories by using voice inflections, relating historical situations to ones his students face, and a deep arsenal of dad jokes. His deep voice changes in tone frequently, not allowing students to get lost in the ongoing talk. These changes in tone sometimes cause the class to let out a few laughs between note taking. In addition to his voice inflections, Mr. Mangan fires dad jokes at the class. The jokes are not followed by much laughter because they are usually pointed toward the classic movie or history buffs, which fits me perfect. Sitting in on this class made me think of Summer Hill because it was the opposite of what I imagine classes there would be like. Having a open floor plan where students are encouraged to share and allowing chance for conversation would be my thought of a well functioning free will classroom. Yet the classic rows and columns seemed to be doing wonderfully. The students in this class seemed to want the structure of the class. When Mr. Mangan went off topic and tell a joke or two, the students would look at him funny and get right back on topic.
The next class I observed was a freshman World History class. This class was lead by Mr. Saulter, who began the class with the question, “Should you always support a friend?” He repeated this question twice and then followed it with “What could be some long term consequences of helping that friend?” The students needed some corralling to get on task. Being a class clown himself in high school, Mr. Saulter knew how to joke with the class to get them to start writing about the discussion questions. Next came the discussion. Listening to every comment being turned into a joke seemed frustrating to me. For Mr. Saulter, it was perfect. He was able to direct those jokes back into the question of helping a friend. Connecting relationships students brought up between classmates gave Mr. Saulter the chance to lead the questions into World War 1. He jokingly compared the two to Great Britain and Canada's relationship. The difference between trying to get senior to share their thoughts, and trying to stop freshman from talking was major. It truly took patience to be able to work with their minds. After that class, I had the chance to sit and realize that that patience will need to be learned. I don’t think I have the fast come back mind to joke with students like Mr. Saulter did. I will need to find a strategy that works for me when I have classes like this one.

FieldBlog4: OHS

I began my field observations at Orange High School with Mrs. Cirino my senior year history teacher, and Mr. Mangan my sophomore year history teacher. I sat in on one American Century class, as well as two Global Citizenship classes, which is a senior course where Mrs. Cirino’s goal is to open the eyes of her students beyond the Orange community. As she repeated to the class, there is an “Orange Bubble” that the students live in. Orange is an affluent area where many of the students are blind to the world outside of the their own. Because this is a senior course, it allows for open conversation to happen that can lead to topics the students want to learn about. Mrs. Cirino planned a class where students would be in groups. These groups were randomly chosen at the beginning of the semester, and are meant to be permanent for the rest of the year. Groups stay the same so students feel comfortable sharing without having to speech in front of the rest of the class. A silent writing activity about ‘What identity means to you?’  kicked off the activity, and a video where students wearing colored masks to represent their cliques followed. Next came the more interesting part. Mrs. Cirino lead the class into a discussion that flowed so naturally and organic, but still touched on all parts of identity that she had outlined in the beginning of class. She asked questions like ‘what makes up your identity?’ When a student would answer, Mrs. Cirino would dig deeper into their response without pressuring them. For example, a student responded with, “What you believe in.” Mrs. Cirino followed up with, “ What, like your religion?” Her follow up question did not ask the student to explain themselves, but it gave them the opportunity to respond if they felt comfortable doing so. I found this captivating because her relaxed, genuine look of interest made the students want to respond. I remember feeling this way when I was sitting in the seats the students were in. This made me realize that wording and body language play a big role in getting students comfortable to share. I believe I would be good at this in my career as a teacher because I have a natural interest in how people think. This is why Mrs. Cirino’s Global Citizenship class is the type of course I would like to teach. I believe giving young minds the opportunity to think outside of their normal alignment is vital, especially when they are about to make a major step from high school to college.

BlogPost 10

Throughout my course blogs, I have found that student teacher relationships are the most important factor when it comes to teaching. I tend to talk about them in a few different ways throughout my blogs. In my first blog, I talk about my high school chinese teacher, and the time she took with her students. Without her working with all of the students and repeating needed lessons, myself and other students would of been left behind. Going back to blogpost 2, I explained why I want to be a teacher. This reason  boils down to the great teachers that have worked with me in the past. Now that I have received their help, it is my turn to provide that help to future students. Furthermore, in blogpost 7, building relationships with students is what I found to make greatness in teaching. I believe that the relationship a student has with a teacher has a direct effect on how the student receives the information provided for them. Without a good relationship, the student tend to hate the course, and focus in on how much the dislike the teacher instead of understanding the material. In all of these blogs, student/teacher relationships have been represented as the focus of my ideals, and will be one of my goals in teaching. I know not all students will enjoy the class, but enjoying the teacher is a factor that I will have control over.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

BlogPost 7

Greatness in teaching is building relationships, as well as sharing knowledge. Being able to provide a child with a person they can confide in is a wonderful feeling for both teacher and student. Especially for the student who doesn't have that figure at home. Nevertheless, not all student/teacher relationships are observed as good. The teachers who assigns a lot of work and is strict about phone use in class are just as needed. Both of the relationships that are built from these kinds of teachers are beneficial to the student. One supports the student, and gives them a good life advice while the other shows them when it is the appropriate time to be work, or be silly. In addition, greatness in teaching is achieved with how well your student understands the material you have challenged them with learning. Having the ability to teaching someone a new idea, and have them be able to implicate that idea themselves is a priceless tool. Keep the attention of students while getting them to understand that idea or historical event is not an easy task either. Be outgoing, patient, and passionate is what it will take to achieve my goal. Greatness in teaching will entail me applying these ideas into my work. Without these traits, holding the attention of a teenager will be nearly out of my control, and the rest of my teaching will be null in void.

BlogPost 3

The first 3 chapter of William Ayers graphic novel To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher made me notice the efforts put into teaching. When I think about what it takes to be a teacher, my first thoughts are the subject matter and how it is delivered to the student. After reading these chapters, it opened my eyes to the small things teachers do to make learning possible for the students. Ayers points out how not all students are going to be eager to learn, and connecting with those students is important. In the first chapter, Ayers tells a story about a student, Jose, who would act out in class. When Ayers discovered Jose’s interest in skateboarding, he asks him to perform a mini-lesson about skateboarding for the class. Connecting with this type of students gives them the chance to get involved with the class. Ayers also addresses the environment around the student. Creating an atmosphere that supports students learning is important. I find this idea critical. When I was in highschool, I always found myself looking around at the walls of classrooms. Some rooms would have posters that would refocus my attention, some walls were blank colorless space, and some would inspire me to be more creative.

BlogPost 2

Why teach has been a question that I have been asked many times. First when I was in highschool,  I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but didn’t have an answer for why. Now that I am on my way to becoming one, I have a better answer. Having working with them all my life, it seem like a good idea to give back what someone had done for me. To others, it was like I chose to go insane. Why would I ever want to deal with the drama of teenagers when it doesn’t pay well? Pay isn’t a major question for me when it came to choosing a career. Trying to help others is my goal. I’m not saying I’m a saint, and helping people is the wind beneath my wings. I’m saying having someone believe in you and work toward your success can have a huge effect on someone. Same as Mr. Gatto fighting for Milagros to be placed in a class of her proper skill level in The Green Monongahela, I had teacher fight for me to make sure I learn the material I struggled with. I use to sit in classrooms and pretend to read because I had a hard time comprehending the material. It took a teacher realizing I was not comprehending class reading for me to be diagnosed with dyslexia. I did not understand why a teacher would taking extra time to make sure I had the support and tools needed to get understand the material when I was one student out of a whole class. Having so many teachers, who were strangers to me every year, work as hard as they did to make sure I have received the proper methods of teaching for my brain inspired me. This is why I have chosen to be a teacher.