Summer Learning Place

Practicum Experiences

Final Observations

on July 31, 2012

I’ve had a great experience at the Summer Learning Place! Not only did I get to work with a fantastic co-teacher, Nicole, I learned so much about meeting the needs of various students during the same class period.

Our class was made up of “those kids.” The students in every teacher’s classroom that need alternative assessments or constant one-on-one time but always tend to act up in whole-class activities. Many of these students simply crave attention. Whether it’s negative or positive doesn’t matter to them; they need it. Since each of our students desperately clamors for attention during the school year, a smaller classroom provided a more advantageous opportunity. I learned very quickly that if the students needed to talk or tell you something, you better let them get it out or they will be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. With students displaying every emotion from angry to overly emotional, Nicole and I had a lot of consoling and disciplinary discussions with the students.

After the first week, I was upset that the students were not better behaved when we provided them with such engaging and cool activities. Nicole and I were both perplexed as to why the students responded positively with so little effort to worksheets over the hands-on activities we had implemented. The combination of math and reading centers and a project-based writing curriculum seemed like a great idea for kids who didn’t want to be in school during the summer.

During an activity one day, I wondered how their classroom teachers responded to this problem. I realized that maybe their classroom teacher only used worksheets or very structured activities and that our unconventional teaching must be very confusing for these students who are probably constantly “redirected” by teachers where Nicole and I felt that the students were responsible enough to follow the rules they made for themselves. 

With that being said, and despite the behavioral problems, I think the students have really enjoyed the centers and ecosphere-based writing lessons. I have really benefitted from testing these teaching methods and discovering that for students coming from conventional classrooms, four weeks is not enough time for the students to become acclimated to a new set of classroom procedures and activities.

Without my fabulous co-teacher, the behavioral problems would have been overwhelming and testing out new methods would not have been possible. I am so grateful for this experience and I will take these lessons to heart when I begin creating activities for my own classroom full of students! 

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5 responses to “Final Observations

  1. Pat says:

    What a fabulous reflection! I enjoyed watching you try different strategies to reach your students. It was thrilling to watch you both get excited when you found something that worked! I’m glad that you found this to be a meaningful experience too

  2. Cathy Self says:

    It is hard to work with students who are unappreciative or just misbehave to misbehave. I agree that they really are trying to get attention. We had a student once in my school who wanted to see the principal, because there was not a good male role model in his life. So we had to ask the principal to come by the classroom and to see are sweet friend when he was being good. Some students are hard to figure out. But if you find the thing that works for them, you feel great!

    You are an awesome teacher!! Good luck in NC!

  3. Melissa says:

    You did a fantastic job this summer! I know NC will hire you in a jiffy! 🙂

  4. Lauren Taylor says:

    I love that you and Nicole were trying to make the process of being in school for the summer something fun for them. I’m sure you will be doing amazing things in your own classroom!

  5. nicole says:

    Leane,

    I am so greatful we went through this experience together. Our students were kind of rough around the edges, but I think we learned a lot by trying out so many different behavior strategies. You are a wonderful teacher, and you are going to be successful wherever you end up!

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