Friday, September 26, 2014

My First Field Experience

It goes without saying that the dynamics of school are different from a teacher perspective, but being on the teacher side of things surprised me more than I thought it would. 

For the past two weeks, I’ve been in my first high school field experience, and I cannot believe how much I’ve learned. I was in the same classroom every day, which meant that I had the chance to get to know my coordinating teacher and some of the students.

Photo my coordinating teacher took of me while I was
teaching my lesson on sonnets.
During my experience, I had opportunities to observe my coordinating teacher, as well as teach a few classes.

Through my observations, I noticed the different ways my coordinating teacher decided to engage students, and I was able to watch how students responded. Additionally, I was able to pinpoint different ideas and concepts I’ve learned about in the lessons, and I had the chance to ask why certain things were done one way instead of another.

Furthermore, my coordinating teacher used me as a resource for the students to ask questions about college. I was surprised by how interested the students were in learning about college lectures and how to take notes when professors talk for an hour and a half straight.

However, my favorite part of field was being able to teach. With how the schedule worked out, I had the chance to teach a reading comprehension lesson to two different classes, I also got to teach a lesson on sonnets to those same two classes.

Being the teacher in a room full of high school students was a new experience for me and it made me sure that teaching is what I want to do. I was really happy with how my lessons went, and my coordinating teacher was happy with them as well. In fact, my coordinating teacher plans to use the lesson I created on sonnets next year.

One of the most valuable aspects of field was being able to talk things over with my coordinating teacher. Before I taught my lessons, we talked about what they should be over, and while this changed several times, it was really nice to be able to talk to someone who has been teaching for years and get their feedback on my ideas.

The past two weeks have been tiring, but I am so happy that I finally had the opportunity to teach in a high school English classroom. I’m looking forward to my next two week field experience in November.

So now there’s no question about it. Not only do I want to teach, but I can teach.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I Say Conference, You Say...Boring?

Last Saturday, I attended a conference at Miami’s Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester. This was a teacher conference that was put on by the Ohio Writing Project, and was titled Practical Strategies for Teaching Literacy.

Several members of my cohort attended the conference with me, in addition to a lot of English teachers from the surrounding area. While going to this conference meant waking up at 7AM on a Saturday morning, losing sleep was well worth the experience I had.

Members of my cohort and I at the conference
last Saturday.
To start off the day, I attended the Keynote Conversation with Tanny McGregor. Her talk was titled “Closer Reading, Deeper Thinking.” During her talk, she made a distinction between the phrases “closer reading” and “deeper thinking,” which is something I’d never really pondered before. She prefers to use the phrase “deeper thinking” because she thinks that a text, plus student thinking, equals real reading, which is something that I agree with.

After the Keynote Conversation, I attended a breakout session titled “Multigenre: a Festival of Voices” which was given by Angela Faulhaber. I really enjoyed this session, particularly because I know that for my EDT 427 class, I will be writing a multigenre paper later on in the semester.

To start off her session, she handed out different genres to each audience member. After we each received our genre, we had to write for approximately five minutes about a specific scene from Cinderella that she put on the board.

The genre I received was “lab notes,” which was a really interesting angle to look at Cinderella with. After the five minutes was up, several audience members read what they had written aloud, and it was really neat to hear the different takes on the same scene. This is what makes a multigenre project so cool, the fact that each component is looking at the same overarching idea, but they each approach it from a different lens.

The last breakout session I attended was given by Mary Gibson, and was called “Harry Wong Got It Wrong!” I was particularly interested in this session since in my EDT 421 class, we are reading Harry Wong’s book, The First Days of School. While the title of her session confused me slightly, as I was not fully able to see the relation with her discussion, she was an extraordinarily enthusiastic speaker which captivated my interest.

As her audience, she had us practice a few of the techniques she was talking about. One of the activities she talked about was a writing activity. During the session, we watched a YouTube video, and then wrote about what it means to have “pure joy,” which is something that was prominent in the video.

I had a very educational and informative experience at this conference, and it was definitely worth the drive. The ideas and perspectives I gained from this conference will be invaluable to me as a future teacher. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Long Time No Post

It’s a new semester, and I’m back on the blogosphere! For those of you who are new to my blog, I am a junior at Miami University where I am majoring in Integrated English and Language Arts Education, and minoring in Rhetoric/Writing.

Currently, I work for the Creative Team in the College of Education, Health, and Society as a Student Reporter. This is my second year with the team, and I couldn’t be happier!

In addition to writing this blog, I also interview students for the “Student to Student” video series on the EHS YouTube channel. I edit these videos and transcribe them before they’re published. I also take photos and post on the EHS social media sites, and, when needed, I complete other projects.

Picture I took in the spring of MacCracken Hall, one of the
most photographed landmarks on Miami's campus.
This fall I started my methods block, which means that I will be completing my field experience. I’m really looking forward to being in a high school English classroom, and I am excited to learn from the experience.My first day in the field will be this coming Monday, which is even more exciting!

As part of my field block, I’m currently taking four classes, EDT 427 (Adolescent Language Arts I), EDT 421A (Classroom Management), EDT 346A (Reading Instruction for Adolescents), and EDP 301A (Assessment and Evaluation in Educational Settings). All four of these classes directly relate to my major, and so far, I feel like I’ve learned a lot from each of them.

The more classes I take that relate to my major, the more sure I am that I made the right decision when I switched my major during my freshman year.

In addition to my field block classes, I’m taking ENG 301 (History of the English Language), and THE 111 (Intro to Ballroom Dance). While very different, I’m enjoying both of these classes as well.

I’m looking forward to continuing my blog this year, as well as the “Student to Student” video series and other projects that come up along the way! Thank you to everyone who kept up with my blog last year, and I hope you continue to do the same this year!

**If you’re interested in following my blog this year, scroll to the top of this page, and on the right side panel, you’ll see a header that reads “Follow by Email.” Type your e-mail into the box and hit “Submit." A box will pop up, and to complete registration, follow the instructions.

Also, if you’d like to see some of the interviews/videos I’ve completed for the “Student to Student” series, click here.