Discuss what you have been learning about yourself as a teacher. What are you learning about yourself as a teacher that is new information to you? For example, you may have learned that you really enjoy engaging with children in physical play and you are surprised about that—discuss what that means to you. Or maybe you’ve found that certain behaviors really push your buttons. What will you do with that information? What does noticing this about yourself mean for your future growth as a teacher?
To be honest, I am still not sure if I will be a good teacher in the future. However, because of this internship where I have the opportunity to interact with the children, parents, and the other teachers, I learned that as a teacher, I extremely enjoy being in the classroom.
One thing that I enjoy being in the classroom is engaging with children in reading books with them. I am now more comfortable reading in small or large groups. I still feel my face getting hot sometimes when I read a story to 15 or 18 children, but my heart beat does not go crazy anymore. I thought that I will never like reading in a large group because it makes me extremely nervous, but I was wrong and found that surprising.
When I had my first experience reading for them, I was really nervous because negative thoughts like “what if they don’t listen to me” started to fill my head. But I was totally wrong, they did listen to me and when I asked questions about the book, they responded. After that experience, I felt relieved and happy, and I learned from this experience that doing something out of my comfort zone is not that bad. It is not bad because it taught me the fun of reading stories for children not just in a small group but in a large group and that I do not have to be as good as the other teachers to get the children’s attention to listen to me.
Another activity that I have always tried to avoid is baking. One thing I do not like about baking is doing the measurements for the ingredients. I am okay doing the measurements if I have the right materials in measuring the right amount of ingredients, but if I do not have the right materials, I am kind of hesitant to do baking. The very first thing I baked with the children is chocolate cupcakes (not sure if that was the name) for our birthday boy in the classroom. I was really embarrassed about not knowing the breakdown of certain measurements for baking/cooking (e.g. 1 C = 8 oz = 16 tbsp = 48 tsp) because I am already in college and I should know this kind of stuff. But being in the classroom with the children, my mentor, and the other staff, have taught me that it is okay to make mistakes and fail, and that there is no shame in asking something I do not know. I even found that doing baking activity with the children is fun and educational.
Being in the classroom has been very helpful to me not just to take observation, but it also been a great place for me to learn about myself as a teacher. Reading and baking are the two things I am not comfortable doing, but after experiencing it, I found it fun and enjoyable. It is fun doing activities with the children and I am starting to step out of my comfort zone. Noticing this about myself means that I am becoming more open to new things that will help my growth as a teacher. I have come to realize for a while now that if I always stay in the safe zone, I am not going to learn new things about myself as a teacher and the things that I am capable to do as a teacher. Another realization I have was that, just because I am going to be a teacher in the future, it does not mean that I have be perfect, always correct, and smart. As we keep on growing, we will continue to learn, see and experience new things that will help us become better a better person and a teacher.
In the future, I want to make learning fun for the children. I want them to enjoy their time in the classroom learning, exploring, and experimenting. According to Copple and Bredekamp, it is a teacher’s priority to develop a warm, positive relationship with the children. I believe that one way to develop a warm, positive relationship with children is by making the learning process fun and enjoyable for them. I am actually jealous of these children because when I started public school, I never considered going to school fun and the relationship I had with my old teachers from where I came from, were not as warm and positive as how I have learned and experienced it here.
When I become a lead teacher, I will keep challenging the children based on the level of their skills, interests, experiences, and what they already know and I will try to send them the message that it is okay to make mistakes and fail because learn trough those mistakes and failures. Also, I would highlight the importance of participation, cooperation, and interaction in the classroom in order to build positive relationships with the children, my co-workers, and the parents/families.
How has your “teaching” developed over the course of the semester?
The first few weeks of my internship, I was learning the routines and the curriculum of the classroom I was assigned to. At first, I was very shy and hesitant, but with my mentor’s encouragement, I slowly felt comfortable to do the things I was not comfortable to do such as reading in a large group of children and taking the role of a lead teacher. His encouragement has helped me to get out my comfort zone and take on the challenges he has given me.
When I had my first lead teaching week, I thought that I would mess it up big time because I was nervous and worried about many things such as the projects failing or the children would end up not listening to my words and instructions. But I was wrong; my first lead teaching went well. It was not great, but I was happy that it went well. Also, I realized that in the future, when I become a lead teacher, I would definitely highlight the importance of the children being fully engaged in our circle times because when I did the hungry caterpillar (w/ props) with the children, I saw how engaging and excited they were. The children were also paying attention as I was mentioning each of the names of the food in the story. And according to Copple & Bredekamp, participation and contribution to one another’s well-being and learning is important in order to create a community of learners.
It felt so different assuming the role of the lead teacher as the lead teacher because I had to lead the whole classroom which included the staff, children, and parents/families. There were just too many things going on that I kind of disengaged to some of my responsibilities such as greeting the parents to make sure that they know that I am aware of the arrival of their child. According to the information I read about parent-teacher positive relationships, it is important for teachers to be aware and to acknowledge the arrival of the parents and the child in order for the parents to see and know that you know that their child has arrived and that you are paying attention and aware of what is going on in the classroom.
There were many more personal challenges that I experienced during my first lead teaching. Because of those challenges, I learned that I still have so many things to learn and to improve such as controlling the excitement of the children during circle times, keeping the children engage after a project, and balancing my time in doing projects with the children, leading the classroom, and interacting with the parents.
After knowing that I still have a lot to learn and to improve to become a better, effective teacher, I have been working on the areas I have a hard time on such as being aware of the parents’ arriving and leaving while doing an activity with the children. I have also been utilizing TS Gold to help me plan my second lead teaching week. I am using TS Gold to plan better activities for the children to keep them engage and also because TS Gold has this section where I can see the progress of each child in certain domain of development.
If I was the same shy person from before having this internship, I would have never believed that I am capable of being a teacher. I still have long ways to go to become an excellent and effective teacher, but I know that my style of teaching will become better by having this internship and more experiences in teaching young children.