I'm observing starting next week

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Poodle15, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    Sep 22, 2012

    I posted before about having trouble finding a school that would let anyone from the area colleges come and observe in their classrooms. I visited two schools yesterday and at the second one, the secretary called up a 3rd grade class and asked the teacher if she wanted an observer. The teacher was happy! I'm so excited! And she was very flexible, haha. She said whenever I wanted to come was fine with her.

    I'm so nervous! And EXCITED! Now I really feel like I'm on the road to becoming a teacher!
    :2up:
     
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  3. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Sep 22, 2012

    yaaaaaaaay! take good notes!
     
  4. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    Sep 22, 2012

    Thank you!!!
    I hope I do! It's going to be such a new experience... I haven't been in an elementary classroom since I *was* in elementary school! The first is a drawing of the class layout, so there's that. That should be easy enough!
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 22, 2012

    Congratulations!!!!

    A suggestion-- take plenty of notes. Note everything from the teacher's wardrobe, to the classroom decor, to how she gets them to line up and how she gets their attention. See how she transitions from one activity to the next, and how she draws in that quiet kid or settles down the hyper one.

    And write it all down. When you get home, type up the notes in different pages of a Word document-- you can eventually file them under different categories.

    Keep a copy of everything you hand in as well--those assingments are given to help you become a better teacher.

    But time observing a good professional at work is how you're going to become the teacher you will one day be. Even when things go wrong, take notes. You can learn from her mistakes and possibly avoid making the same ones. And if you do find yourself in the same situation,you'll have an idea of how to handle it.
     
  6. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    Sep 22, 2012

    Aliceacc, I am copy/pasting your advice to print and take with me on Tuesday! Our observations are broken in 7 parts, each with its own assignment. One of them is a teacher/student interaction and how we might have done it differently.

    I will absolutely take your advice to heart. I have always loved to teach and I especially love the "ah ha!" moment when the room is brightened by the light bulb going off over their head. I've been blessed with an ability to explain things in simple terms and differently for different people. I am dead serious about my education because I know it the difference between being ready and being totally unprepared; it's the difference between becoming an exceptional teacher who lasts and a bad or mediocre one who will wash out in less than 3 years.

    Thank you!!
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Sep 22, 2012

    That's awesome! I would also bring a little thank you for the teacher for being so willing to have an observer. Even if it's just a nice card thanking her for her time.
     
  8. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    Sep 22, 2012

    Mopar, you're absolutely right! Since I can't come until Tuesday, and I don't know when school starts, I'd planned on arriving around 9am. (I know school is out at 2pm.) I thought I'd hand her my letter from my instructor with a post-it on that said, "Hi, my name is Poodle from [college], your student observer." That way I don't need to interrupt her for longer than it takes to hand it to her and sit down somewhere. Also, it'll give her a quick reference for my name :) I can definitely give her a thank you card. I think I'll save a little present until my last observation, though.

    I'm so excited! :lol:
     
  9. MsG

    MsG Companion

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    Sep 22, 2012

    Alice's advice is wonderful. Write down EVERYTHING! Also, think about taking pictures of the classroom. That is something I wish I would have done. My student teacher I have right now took pictures of my room and I thought "Why didn't I think about that?" It would have helped to have ideas when I set up my own classroom.

    Also, ask to make a set of copies of things you like for yourself. Gather resources for yourself for the future.

    Don't be afraid to jump in there. Good luck!!!
     
  10. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    Sep 22, 2012

    One student got a copy of the new CC ELA requirements. Her master teacher had it as a bookmark. How cool, right?! So I'm hoping mine has something similar. I've already looked up the 3rd grade ELA and math CC so I'm somewhat informed. I'm also signed up at Teachers Pay Teachers as well as a few other sites. I've already gotten some great preschool stuff for my son. Before I even started school, I got my butt in gear and I've been preparing like I'm going to student teach next week! :whistle:

    MsG, pictures are a great idea!

    I'm making a list with all this great advice! I can pack my school bag with stuff just for observation since I don't have classes those days. I'm still going to be nervous (when I went to ask about getting placed, I felt like I was at a job interview! :blush:), but at least I'll feel prepared. :D
     
  11. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Sep 22, 2012

    Ask to take pics of the charts too. That's what I always wanted to take away from my visit. I have a whole album on my phone of anchor charts that I liked and refer to it often!
     
  12. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    FourSquare, you're definitely right. One of the biggest things I've been thinking about is what my charts/boards will/should look like. I've perused Clutterfree Classroom and I like her stuff, but there's always room for personalizing, at least when I'm new. :p Maybe when I've got some years under my belt, it either won't matter as much, or I'll have them down pat.

    One thing I'm looking forward to seeing is her discipline style. I think that's what terrifies me most of all. How on earth do I control up to 30 7-8 year olds?! I'm very interested in getting some examples.
     
  13. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Sep 23, 2012

    Yay!!!! I loved doing my practicum. It was the first time I actually saw another teacher in action! (You know, without being the student.)

    Like everyone else said, take lots of notes, make a list of questions as she's going through the lesson so you remember what you want to ask her afterwards, and don't be nervous when you walk in!
     
  14. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Sep 23, 2012

    I'll start observing next week in a high school classroom and this list was VERY helpful! Thank you!
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2012

    I'm glad I could help.

    You'll also want to make note of the way the topics are introduced, and how topics are explained.

    I'll never forget the time I observed a colleague of my husband's, as he taught logarithms. He wrote, in big letters on the board "A log is an EXPONENT." And every time his kids got stuck, he went back to that sentence.

    And I've done the same thing every time I've taught it since then.
     
  16. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Sep 23, 2012

    Good for you! Don't be surprised if she puts you to work! The best learning is by DOING.
     
  17. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Sep 23, 2012

    Before you take pics of any children, make sure to get a signed authorization from their parents. Other than that, I'd say take pics, make notes, even record if you have a digital recorder! The more you can preserve for later days, the better off you will be - I know I was an older teaching candidate, but there was no way I could have absorbed everything I was exposed to when observing!
     
  18. Poodle15

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    Sep 24, 2012

    Oh, I don't plan on taking ANY pictures of the kids. I don't need them and I don't want to put anyone into any difficult situations. If for some reason (because they'll love me by then, duh! ;)) by the end of the semester they want a picture with me, I'll be happy to oblige and will only accept a copy if it's approved by all the necessary parties. While I personally don't subscribe to Worst First thinking, I know a lot of parents do.
     
  19. Poodle15

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    Sep 24, 2012

    Thank you so much for all the tips and suggestions! And Vida, good luck in your observations! I'm just now printing up a cheat sheet all of the great ideas y'all have given me. Thank you!!
     
  20. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Sep 25, 2012

    Likewise! Have fun! :)
     
  21. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    Sep 25, 2012

    It went so well! The teacher I'm observing is so sweet and happy to share everything! I took pictures, took notes on the room, drew a little layout of the room (it's pitiful :lol:), and talked to her about everything I could think of: differentiation, classroom management, rules, her past teaching history, the decorations in her room, the fact that every classroom in that school has a bathroom in it (!!!)...

    I had a blast, the kids are *so small* and sweet, and my master teacher is the best. I'm so happy!

    *happy dance*
     
  22. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Sep 29, 2012

    So excited it went well for you! I start on Monday and hope to have a similar experience. :) I'm both excited and nervous for what is to come....and I'm not even a student teacher yet! :p
     
  23. Poodle15

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    Sep 29, 2012

    I'm not student teaching, either! This is my very first observation for a first year education class (I'm in my 2nd semester). I'll find out soon how I did on the assignment and I'm coming to observe her class after their morning special. I think on Tuesdays it's music. I'll be there between music and lunch lol It'll be nice to see the difference between how they act first thing in the morning and how they act right before lunch.

    I was SO nervous. You'd think I was going in for a job interview I was so nervous! But after going the first time I feel MUCH better and my excitement about becoming a teacher is only growing.

    GOOD LUCK, viva! I know it will go better than you think!
     
  24. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I think all K-3 rooms should have a bathroom! I've only seen it in one school though.
     
  25. Poodle15

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    I agree! In the hour and a half I was there, four or five kids went. They don't have to ask permission, they all washed their hands, and a few got up to have a drink (there's a water fountain next to the sink). It cuts down on time out of their seats, there is no hall-wandering and they can still listen to the teacher while walking back and forth. It also helps because they get used to the noise and visual distraction of someone getting up so it's no longer a distraction. AND the teacher doesn't have to stop her lesson to give permission for something unavoidable.
     
  26. Poodle15

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    I will say, though, that this school clearly has more funds than others in my area. Each classroom has a laptop cage with 25+ laptops in it. At the end of the day the kids get to grab one and play on it. This class only has 20 students so 5 sit there unused all year long since each class has more than is needed. Meanwhile, other schools are barely scraping by. To be honest, I wanted to be in a school with less money and more of the "difficult" kids but they weren't allowing observers. Beggars can't be choosers!
     
  27. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Sep 30, 2012

    You can ask to student teach in one. It's real different! :eek: It'd be a great learning experience though.
     
  28. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    I have more observations for other classes before student teaching, so I'll try again next semester and next year. I WANT that experience! I don't want to get spoiled while I'm in college and not in control, and then start student teaching and be TOTALLY unprepared for certain kinds of problems!
     
  29. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sep 30, 2012

    I'm currently doing my Junior Field experience aka preprofessional field experience aka it takes place the first semester of senior year.

    This week will be my fourth week. I will be teaching a lesson on Tuesday (Still need to finish the lesson plan) on social studies, to help the students review for a quiz they are going to have.
     
  30. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    You'll have to let me know how it goes! I'm very interested. My cousin will start student teaching next semester (I think that's right) and I've reminder her countless times to describe her experience to me. :)
     
  31. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    I completely agree! I started observing this week!! (I'm in a high school classroom, however). It is kind of scary but I think it will be a great learning experience. I, too, would like to observe in other schools and classrooms because every teacher has his/her own way of teaching and I think it would be extremely helpful to see as many styles as possible. I'm starting off by just observing but I'm sure before long I'll be helping out more in class - that makes me nervous!
     
  32. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 3, 2012

    Taught my first lesson on Tuesday. It was a Vocabulary review for a social studies quiz they had today (Wednesday).

    They were very excited to learn that I was teaching a lesson. They could tell that I was incredibly anxious when I was first in front of the classroom. My cooperating teacher said most of my issues were with classroom management, which can be rectified over time. One of the issues was with the technology, which can be easily fixed for next time (spacing out the words in the word bank more, it looked rather spaced out on the computer, but it was much less space on the smartboard)
     
  33. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Oct 3, 2012

    Congrats on teaching your first lesson! I'll be relieved when I can actually say that as well.

    I observed a student teacher recently and noticed that classroom management was one of the most difficult things to get down. It's amazing how that plays such an essential role and can either make or break a day in the classroom. My supervising teacher mentioned that many times students that act out will better behave when you show you care about them...she said it's those little things you say that can really impact how they act in your class and respect you. I can't say any of this from personal experience, but it's really interesting to learn these little tidbits from an experienced teacher! :)
     
  34. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Basically I focused almost entirely on the students who were up at the SMART Board and not the entire class all at once.

    Which led to some students to talk.

    Also, I need to learn how to project my voice. I am a very very soft-spoken person.

    Now to email my cooperating teacher to see if I am doing a lesson on Tuesday (We talked about it two weeks ago, need to see if the plans are the same, since I forgot to ask on Tuesday)
     

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