I went to my winter placement at the end of the term to meet my new teacher, and I noticed there were a lot of Christmas trees and decorations up in the school. I love Christmas as much as the next person who celebrates it, but this made me think about whether or not schools should have solely Christmas decor up on the walls. Not every child celebrates Christmas and there are many controversial, religious issues that come with having the holiday in educational institutions. I found an interesting article on Christmas in Texas schools: have a look!
We talk about involving all students’ cultures in the classroom, but it might be hard to connect all the Winter holidays – and what if a family doesn’t celebrate anything? How can you fit that student into the discussion? I remember when schools used to say “Christmas Break” instead of “Winter Break,” so there are accommodations like that setup already. However, many children like the excitement of talking about their holidays during December. It would be effective to have a morning meeting(s) in which all the students go around and discuss the holidays they celebrate. This will help the children understand other cultures and share some of their own family values. It is important to build a classroom community and helps if the teacher as well as students share personal pieces of their lives. There are many innovative ideas that make me think about all the worries to come with effectively teaching in a multicultural mindset. I love the values of my undergraduate and graduate school programs, but I can see the difficulty in this style while trying to follow the curriculum. Teaching is meant to be a fun, but challenging career choice – I am still wary to take over the class in Winter term while still excited to be a teacher when this program is done! 🙂
As the fall term is coming to an end, I am reminiscing on my time at Howard in the second grade class. The students and memories I have had since September really show me that teaching is the job for me 🙂 I was welcomed pretty quickly by the children and my cooperating teacher (CT), which helped me feel comfortable stepping in to help answer questions and assess students with reading. I love the connections that I have made with the children, and how excited they got when I showed up during the week! I will miss them and hopefully will be able to work with them again in the Spring.
This school is equipped with lots of technology from a grant they received, and it has changed my views on the downfalls of using technology in class – there were still times when the internet wouldn’t work correctly so the work on the Ipads took longer than anticipated, but the Smartboard and the apps the children are using really will help them in the future. They are were creating their own writing books, taking pictures of their work to show family, making 100s chart to reference on their own, and practicing spelling words. I originally wasn’t so sure about having technology in class because it could be distracting if it doesn’t work or could make the students feel like they can’t do work without it. However, the way that my CT has incorporated it showed me that it can be effective! She inspired me to get a tablet because it is easier to bring around and would help my future teaching career.
Here is an interesting TedTalk about technology in education:
We received our placements for Winter term, when we will be part-time teaching (which means we will co-teach for the first half of the term and then teach two subjects for the rest of the term). I was overwhelmed with all the assignments that we have to accomplish by the end of term, but meeting my supervisor and finding out that I will be in a fifth grade classroom at Ridgeview helped calm me down. I am ready to take on a grade that I have never experienced and work with the retired 30-year teacher!