Sunday, December 14, 2014

Final Field Blog

Through my field experiences I have learned a lot. I was able to experience all different types of schools. I have had some experiences that were beneficial in finding my own style of teaching and other experiences that have showed me that there are some schools a lot different than what I am used to. All of my experiences have helped me learn and taught me things to do or not to do in the classroom.

My first observation was at Beachwood Middle School. The teachers at Beachwood were very helpful and made a good place to start my observations. They gave me great advice on possibly getting my health certificate on top of my physical education major. I have looked into this and found out that it would only take a few more classes at John Carroll and then a semester at another college that John Carroll has a partnership with. I am hoping to be able to do this. It will be much easier to get a teaching job as a physical education teacher with the health certification while working on getting my masters to become a guidance counselor.  The two physical education teachers at Beachwood were very involved with their students and what was going on in class that day. This is the way I feel physical education teachers should be. After being at Beachwood I started to really think of what age group I would be interested in teaching. I sort of knew that I didn’t want to teach in a high school. Most students in high school don’t like participating in physical education and I wouldn’t want to face that struggle every day. I could see myself teaching middle school students though but most likely in an elementary school.

After being at Beachwood I then went to observe at Cleveland Heights High School. This was an eye opener for me. Going into Cleveland Heights I had high expectations because of the way their principal explained their early college program to us and the types of students they had at the school. What I didn’t realize was this was only for the students enrolled in this program. To start my observation I was first lead on a ten minute walk to the far back of the school where the gym was. The building was huge and did not have the small community feel like I was used to. I then stood in the gym for ten minutes with all the students until the teacher got there. The student were running around and jumping off walls. When the teacher finally came in she had a hard time getting the students to settle down and this continued most of the class as the students had no respect for her at all. It was much different being in this school compared to the school I had grown up in. My experience at Cleveland Heights made me realize that there are many different types of schools out there and I could possibly end up teaching in a more difficult school than I am used to. Teaching has it is ups in downs and there are extremes on both ends.

My third field visit was to Agnon Elementary School. I ended up observing a 7th grade gym class with only six students in. This gave me a chance to talk with the teacher a lot more than in my previous observations. Because of the small class size the activates that day had to be altered for the day and the class didn’t go as a traditional class would have with the regular number of students. I really enjoyed my experience here. It was the first time I was able to see what a physical education lesson plan may look like. The teacher, Seth, gave me a lesson plan to look at on what he would do with a typical class. Seth also gave me some insight on what the negatives and positives are between teaching in a public school and private school. Many of the things such as whether you receive paid benefits or not are not things I have thought of before. Obviously when it comes time I will be happy with any job I can get but it is good to know the differences to look out for. I still am unsure whether I would want to be in a public or private schools. I think there are advantages to both and I am always up for a new experience so I don’t think I would really have a preference.

After the three experiences as a class I went home on Thanksgiving and did my observation hours with my high school assistant volleyball and basketball coach, Mr. Gainey, who teaches elementary physical education. During my observations with Mr. Gainey I was able to ask many questions and Mr. Gainey along with his co-teacher Mr. Shelley would give me the best answers they could from their experiences. This was my first experience in an elementary school. It reconfirmed my feelings that I would want to teach elementary students the most. This experience was also very good because many of the kids in the classes were kids who attended the Boys and Girls Club that I worked at during the summer. I got to see that with the right discipline these kids could be much different then what they were during the summer. Mr. Gainey and I talked about this and he gave me some pointers on how I can get the kids to behave during the summer the way they do during physical education in school. This was a great experience for me. I was debating on whether to go back to my high school to do some of my observations but I am glad I decided not to because being with Mr. Gainey for all ten hours gave me a chance to see different age groups. It also allowed me to pick up on things that I hadn’t noticed at first but by the end of my hours I was picking up on them. I really enjoyed being in a elementary school and could see myself teaching in one down the road.

              I have never wanted to be a physical education teacher but for me it is the best path to becoming a guidance counselor. Now that I have been on a few observations I could see myself doing being a physical education teacher for few years while getting my masters in counseling. Many people say that being a physical education teacher doesn’t really take a lot and until recently I would have agreed with them. Through my observations I have seen good physical education teachers and bad physical education teachers. To be a good physical education it takes hard work. A good teacher will come up with lessons that keep the students interested. They will also involve their students other subjects. This is easier to do with the younger students because they have easier concepts to work with. I wanted to be able to do these things in my classroom while teaching physical education. I am glad that we did these observations hours because it showed me what was out there. I also realized that there is more to being a physical education teacher than I thought. I am excited to do more observation and teaching hours during my time at John Carroll.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Field Blog 4

Over the last few days I did 10 observation hours with Mr. Gainey. He was my assistant coach my last three years of high school basketball and therefore we have built a strong relationship. Because of this relationship I was comfortable asking him about different things he and his co-teacher, Mr. Shelley did during their physical education classes. This was my first experience observing in an elementary phys. Ed class because when we went to the elementary school as a class I ended up being there during a seventh grade class. I have been excited to see an elementary class because I feel that is what I would want to teach the most.  Through my experience I have found this to be true.

While doing my observation I saw every grade level from kindergarten to 5th grade. It was interesting to see the huge differences between the age groups. Mr. Gainey started off by telling me how they try to set up every class. The usually start with a  warm up activity and then they will either teach a new skill or review a skill they have previously taught and then have to kids participate in a game that has them practicing the skill they just learned. This is the second time I have seen this format and it seems to work well with the students. Introducing or review the skill and then letting the students’ practice it in a fun activity seems like the best way to get students participate.

What I learned most out of these few days with Mr. Gainey was how to properly address students of that age when a problem occurs. In elementary school the students have issues that seem insignificant to us but are a big deal to them. The students would often complain how their "friend", as Mr. Gainey calls students who choose to partner together, was not doing something or being nice to them. When this occurred Mr. Gainey would have the students step out of the activity when there was an appropriate time and have the student with the complaint explain to the other student how they were feeling. The students would usually just shake it off and want to get right back into the activity. When Mr. Gainey would talk with a student one on one he would bend down so that he was on their level. Having a teacher stand at 6'3 can be a little intimidating to a student but, I feel the students feel much more comfortable talking to him when he is down on their level.

Mr. Gainey and Mr. Shelley both did a great job of keeping the students attention and having control over their classroom. They used a trick that I have seen used many times but in a little different way. They would clap to get the students attention but they wouldn't just do it when got extremely noisy but yet every time they needed the students’ attention and if the students didn't stop talking they would silently wait until the students quieted down. Using the clap every time sent the message to the students that it was something they should respond to all the time not just when they felt it was important.

This experience was different than the ones I had previously had in class because I was very comfortable asking Mr. Gainey any question I had without hesitation. I also knew many of the kids from my summer job at the Boys and Girls Club and that gave me an advantage because I knew how they behaved how they were there and how they were behaving in the classroom. With many of the kids they were completely different because of the structure that was in the classroom. Observing Mr. Gainey has reconfirmed my thoughts on wanting to work with elementary students over any other age group.

Reflection of Clinical Teachin Experience

Through this clinical teach experience I have realized that a lot goes into preparing a lesson for a class. We started preparing our lesson by each reading the chapter and writing down our own thoughts. We then came together and disused our ideas. We found that on some things we had similar ideas where on other things we all had completely different interpretations on the text. We took these different interpretations and came to an agreement on an idea that incorporates what we all think. At first this was a little bit of a challenge because some of our ideas were way off from others but through discussion we eventually got our ideas to be on the same page.

After getting everyone on the same page we started to form our lesson. We decided that we didn't want to do straight lecture or PowerPoint but instead we wanted to mix a PowerPoint in with activities. We started with find three or four main points that we could concentrate on to form our lesson around. From there we worked to come up with activities that could accompany these ideas. This was more challenge than I think we thought it would be.

Going into the meeting with Dr. Shutkin we thought we had a pretty good idea of what we were doing. Through discussion we found that we needed to incorporate more of how behaviorism plays into a student’s education. This is when we came up with doing the conditioning exercise. I don't think this worked out in class exactly how we planned. We hoped that the tables that weren't getting candy would eventually stop doing the activity; this was not the case though so therefore we were forced to explain the activity. Besides this activity I feel the rest of the lesson went well. I thought the card game at the beginning helped reinforce the idea of how those schools with more resources end up better off than the schools who have very little. Also during the lesson we knew that getting the class involved in discussion would be difficult but, for the most part I thought it went pretty good. The class started to respond more once we got into the lesson.

The lesson went pretty much as we planned except for at the end. We realized that we had a little extra time at the end so we decided to do a recap of what we had covered in the lesson. I thought this was a good idea because it helped reinforce the ideas we had previously discussed. Through this experience I have learned that planning lessons can be a big challenge. I thought it was very helpful to have other people to discuss my ideas of the reading with while planning the lesson. It has showed me that it is important to have other people to discuss lessons with when it comes to having my own classroom.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Field Blog 3

During our field visit at Agnon Elementary School I observed Seth Mansell during at 7th grade physical education gym class. I was excited to see an elementary physical education class that day but it so happened that I was there during a middle school time but, the experience turned out the better than I could have asked for. Seth has only been teaching for two years and he currently teaches grades kindergarten through 8th grade. He spent time talking with me how this can be a challenge because each grade is doing something else different and he only has a minute in-between classes to set up. We also discussed the differences between being in a private and public schools. Seth was telling me how when he was my age he never thought about the things such as benefits or time off or any of those things but, he is now realizing that they do make a difference. Yes, a job is a job but, when you are in a private school and $200 dollars is taken out of your check as Seth has. This is opposed to being in a public school where those things are already figured in and in mot case they aren't taken directly out of the teachers’ pay check. In no way was Seth complaining about this because he is says he is so happy to have the job he has but he did say how it does make a difference. The most beneficial thing I got out of this experience was how Seth incorporated the kids spelling words or science formulas into the physical education class.  Seth explained to me how he went to the third grade teachers and got the students spelling words for the week and then during class he put the letters of the alphabet on the wall and they had to practice their throwing skills by spelling words from their spelling list that week. For another grade he had the kids use science formulas for their team names. Seth said he used a lesson plan similar to these during his job interview and was told by the hiring committee that it was the thing that set him apart from the rest of the candidates who interviewed for the job and ultimately was the thing that got him the job.

While I was observing there was only a class of six because they had other testing and such going on that day. Seth adapted the lesson to the best of his ability based on the group he had. He explained to me what he usually would have done and how he adapted to the small group that was there today. The students were playing volleyball that day. They started with a hitting drill where they tossed the ball to Seth who would then set it to allow the kids hit the ball. He would stop and correct them when needed on their technique. He also pushed those who were able to handle it to try and more difficult hits. The students then went into playing a game of volleyball but, since there were only three kids on each team he allowed them to catch the ball once before returning it to the other team. I didn't think would allow the game to move along very well but it actually helped the students. It allowed them to set up a strategy for the best attack they could get. Seth also got involved and jumped into play as well. He explained to me that he gives the students points when they use the skill that they practiced previously in class so today the students would get points when they used the hitting skill.

At the end of the class Seth wrapped up with having the kids teach the hitting skill back to him. Then he printed an example lesson plan out for me that I could take with me to refer to when I start planning lessons. This field experience has been the best so far. It was easy to talk to Seth about the experiences I am currently going through and he gave me advice on what to look out for and things to help me along my way. I aspire to be as good as a physical education as Seth where I really get the kids involved in the activities and wanting to be there. I am excited to go home and do my field visits in an elementary class.

Blog Post 10

Through ED 100 and my blog post we have discussed many different issues with the education system and different techniques and styles of teaching. There are many things that I find I have frequently discussed in my blog post. These things included, student-teacher relationships, student engagement, a well-rounded school, teacher self-reflection, diversity amongst students including race, sex, and age, connecting students home life with their classroom life and state testing. The biggest thing that has stuck out to me in my post though is the incorporation of many of these ideas to create a classroom community. I feel that a classroom should be a place where kids feel safe. In order for this to be achieved teachers need to not only make trusting relationships with their students in the classroom but, they also need to get to know their students outside the classroom. They can do this through building relationship with the students' parents/guardians, attending the things the students are interested in and bring the students interests into the classroom. In order for teachers to do this it takes a lot of work and extra time out of a teachers life outside the classroom. This is usually not something that comes natural to a teacher. It definitely takes a certain type of person to be a good teacher and once that person is found it takes continual work for them to become the best teacher for their students possible. I hope through my continual learning I will one day be able to be one of those teachers who has a great classroom community for my students.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Blog Post 9

There are many things that go into a good school but I think some of the most important things are having students engaged, good student-teacher relationships, and a well-rounded school. When creating my own school I would choose to have it as a liberal arts school. It is very important for kids to be well rounded especially at younger ages. Once students get into high school I feel they should be able to take most of their classes in the concentration of their choice but should be required to take classes in all subjects so they are able to keep developing their skills to be a well-rounded student. This goes back to keeping students engaged. Not every student is going to be engaged into every subject but, it is the teachers’ job to keep the students engaged. The better relationship a teacher has with their students the better they will be able to do this. In order to keep students engaged the teachers need to create activities that involved the students’ interests. One way to connect to the students interests and get to know them better is to create a feeling of a safe school where they can come and feel open to be completely themselves. There is a lot to keep in mind when creating a school and sometimes it is hard for a teacher or administrators to keep all the different things in balance.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Field Blog 2

            I recently did an observation at Cleveland Heights High School with Mrs. Hansen. Going into the class I posed the question of what would be the difference in the atmosphere of a middle school gym class and a high school gym class. I found high school to be a much harder age group to teach. Before doing any observation I had the idea that the older the kids got the harder it would be to reach them, so far I have found this to be true. The kids in Mrs. Hansen class were very disrespectful. I contribute some of this due to the area the school was in and how the kids are brought up but mostly I contribute it to them being teenage high school students.

When I first walked in I was left standing there with the students for about ten minutes before the teachers even came into the gym. Right as the teacher starting taking attendance one of the girls shouted out, “What the fuck”. The teacher immediately went over to the student and pulled her aside and discussed the situation. No real discipline was put into action though. I feel this gives the students the impression that it is ok to use that language because they will not have to face the consequences of their actions. I also understand that the teacher needs to allow the students to express themselves freely in a classroom but I do not feel this was an appropriate time for this language. The language from the students continued as the class went on. As Mrs. Hansen was giving directions for the day two of the male students were lying down and chatting with each other. When Mrs. Hansen asked them to sit up they refused and kept talking. She then told the students to go sit on the side with the students who were not participating for the day. As the group of students were on the side they started to make comments about their teacher how she is a dyke and racist because she is a white and most of the students are black. The entire time the class was completely out of control. The kids were not participating in the activity.

One of the biggest problems that Mrs. Hansen said she had was with the students being on their cell phones. She said that there was no policy about using phones in class but I asked the principle about this after my observation. She said they do have a no phone rule during class but it isn’t strictly implied because she finds the students are able to use their phones for educational purposes. Most of the students in the gym class either had their phones in their hands or in their pockets and weren’t able to properly do the activity because they were hanging on to their phones. Mrs. Hansen says she tries not to spend too much time of class reprimanding kids for using the phones because if she did she would never be able to do any teaching. I feel the administration should crack down on the students using their phones because from what I saw it took away from the educational learning rather than enhancing it.

Over all my experience at Cleveland Heights High School was very eye opening. This was an atmosphere I was not familiar with. There kids there had different demographics then those in my high school and the classes were conducted in a much different matter. It showed me that not every school as going to be easy breeze and sometimes teachers are thrown into more difficult situations.