So Far in Teaching...

Friday, January 4, 2013
After having experienced two very different student teaching experiences, I have learned so much about myself as a teacher. I student taught in fourth grade and in kindergarten in two very different cities (Salt Lake and San Diego) and in two very different schools at very different times of the year (end of the year and beginning of the year). It was crazy to see in fourth grade how much fun I had. I was very hesitant going into it because I didn't think I would like it. I had so much fun that I was hesitant going into a kindergarten classroom! The kindergarten experience was fun because there were only 11 students in my class. The challenges I faced with a small class seem silly, but in reality, it is just as hard to plan for a small class as it is for a larger class. I had to have more planned since the students were getting work done so fast.

I also realized/recognized the importance of having a lesson plan every day. I kept a plan in fourth grade and it helped me so much! Even if we didn't get to everything, I had it all written out and could easily move things from one day to the next (see my lesson plans in the next post).

It also helped to have center groups pre-arranged so that I could quickly call students to their centers.

One key thing I found in kindergarten was that I needed to continually practice rotations with the students. They needed to hear things multiple times and multiple days/weeks in order for things to stick. After the first few days, they knew exactly how I wanted them to sit on the carpet, line up, etc. It felt so good to see the students catching on so quickly!

In fourth grade, I discovered my love for literature circles/reading groups. The students would get so into a book and loved talking about it with their peers. I needed to have the groups planned out though. I needed to have specific questions I wanted to ask and things I would talk about in the groups - that helped me so much! In kindergarten, I created a reading group log where I tracked what books I was reading with the students and the skills that I wanted to focus on. While some days seemed to be repetitive, it really helped me to focus on specific skills.

I know that these experiences I've had in the classroom have helped me to become a better teacher and I can't wait to have my own classroom!

~ Ms. Longo

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