This practicum has helped me to become a more well-rounded teacher. With my Science 10s I learned how to develop engaging projects for project-based learning, experimented with collaborative learning activities and different graphic organizers, and refined my structure of daily objectives. I practiced writing SMART (specific, meaningful, attainable, realistic, and timely) objectives in my lesson plans. I planned each of my lessons carefully to include a variety of learning modalities, including visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic approaches. I think that my first accomplishment in this practicum was learning how to effectively plan in the quarter system. I learned that brain breaks and transitions cannot be undervalued.
By the end of the first quarter, I had improved my ability to explain complex concepts more clearly. My students had a far better understanding of chemistry, for example, by the end of our review time together. I feel that this is partly because I had developed more resources by this time, and partly because I had acquired more diverse strategies to explain the concepts in different ways.
The positive relationships that I developed with my Science 10 students were obvious by the end of the quarter. Some students would joke about how I would use memes to teach, how I would say, “nailed it!” when students answered correctly or say, “so close!” when they were wrong. I realized that the environment was formed in no small way by my welcoming personality, school-appropriate humour, and encouraging attitude for academic success.
I feel that I effectively integrated FNMI content through prayers and projects. Many of my daily prayers came from different Canadian First Nations tribes. In projects I would include questions about historical First Nations content.
I experimented with a variety of instructional strategies gleaned from observing other teachers, Google searches, and a paper resource of Barrie Bennett’s Beyond Monet. These resources became crucial to my collaborative professional inquiry project with Young Shin. We compiled an online resource of the most efficient instructional strategies and published it at: http://easyteachertoolbox.weebly.com/
Even though I have only taught my Science 24s for a little over a week, I can already see the growth in my flexibility and adaptability as a teacher. My classroom management skills have improved, and I have avoided further behavioral issues because of the positive relationships that I have formed with my students. I have been successful at getting my Science 24 students to “buy in.” This was accomplished by offering them a reward (finishing the course early), and then keeping them engaged. My planning has incorporated multiple hands-on activities to keep the 24s curious, entertained, and learning through their experiences.
From my one-on-one interviews with the 24s, I have discovered that they love the structured logbooks and fun daily labs. They feel organized, know what is expected of them, and enjoy learning about science in my class.
Aside from teaching, my extra-curricular involvement has been very rewarding. I served on the Wellness Committee, volunteered with the Cross Country Running Club, and helped out with the Cougars With Quills Club.
Finally, I am very proud that I have achieved my goals for PS3: to establish meaningful relationships early and maintain them throughout the quarter, and to maximize the potential within my classroom to be an efficient and effective learning environment that sets students up for success and reduces stress.
(For evidence see PS3 Goals and Growth Plan)
In summary, this practicum has helped me to grow as a dynamic and engaging teacher. I am far more confident in my skills and feel that I have contributed to Catholic Central High School in a positive way.