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Field Experience Reflection Essay

The coursework and field experience this semester made me realize how important it is to know my students and how to engage them. I experimented with different ways to engage my students over the course of the semester. The experience taught me that the students were more focused and that I grabbed their attention when I actively engaged them in the process of learning. During the first couple of lessons, I read and they answered questions.

After the first two lessons, I started engaging them more by allowing them to read, write, draw pictures, and pretend to be the characters from the books. I started to realize the more that I gave them; the more they wanted. I also realized that knowing my students helped me decide what types of activities I chose. Some activities I chose at first I decided to change because after I thought about my students and their interests I decided that it would not work for my students. The lessons are more meaningful when the students’ interests are taken into consideration.

The three goals that I have for myself moving forward in the teacher preparation program are I will get to know all the students that I interact with in the classroom, my lessons will be student centered, and my lessons will be very well thought out. These are goals that I will implement in the classroom because I believe that forming relationships with my students is crucial to me being a successful teacher as well as being prepared. It will be a chief priority for me to get to know my students.

I believe that establishing a comfortable, safe, and secure environment is vital to a well-functioning classroom. A benefit of getting to know my students is I will be able to integrate culturally relevant material in my lesson plans. I plan on teaching ESL; therefore, the cultural relevancy of my lessons is extremely important to me. Including the interests and lives of students in lesson plans make the lessons more meaningful to students. Students will be more responsive to the lessons if they can relate to them and they are relevant to their lives.

The Aspect of Culture Questionnaire that I read and we talked about in class made me think about the different aspects of culture that everyone has and how differently we can all answer the questions. I will try to know as many of the answers to those questions that I can in order to know my students. All the students in my pod came from different backgrounds. One of the students was in foster care, one lived with her mom only, another lived with his mom and dad, and the other student lived with her mom and grandma.

That example is only one part of culture that has an impact on the students’ daily lives that I need to know. My lessons will be student centered is another of my goals. It is hard at first to give up control in the classroom because when I went to school the classroom was always teacher centered. The teacher was the dispenser of all information and we were little vessels that needed to be filled up with that dispensed knowledge. My goal is to almost have the flip of that model of teaching. I want to serve as a guide for my students.

I want to give them the strategies and tools to be able to think critically and develop an understanding of the material instead of telling them what I want them to know. Authentic learning by students is better than them just memorizing a list of facts. When students are at the center of their learning, they are more engaged and receptive to the material in my experience with students. I learned in Reading Achievers that the students wanted to do more than just answer questions. They asked to write after the first week, and I finally gave them more control after the second lesson; therefore, they were more engaged.

The third goal that I have for myself is to make sure that all my lesson plan are meticulously thought out and deliberate. Well-designed lesson plans flow and interconnect all of the components of the lesson plan. If the components do not align, then a lesson plan can miss the mark and the students will not learn the intended goals. The comments on my lesson plans and talking about the lesson plans in class made me realize that I was not clearly stating my objectives and that they did not align with the assessments all of the time.

The three goals that I have established for myself are attainable and critical for my success. I need to make sure that I am mindful when creating my lesson plans. I need to make sure that the lesson plans flow and that I am not wasting precious time. Knowing my students and creating positive rapports with them are extremely important to me. The class, reading, and my time spent at Reading Achievers with the students and the coaches opened my eyes and made me realize how important it is to have detailed and cohesive lesson plans as well as establishing relationships with students.

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