My Time at MJ Coldwell Comes to a Close – week 7

Week seven in the Pre-K classroom at MJ Coldwell wrapped up my first teaching experience in my pre-service teacher education journey. From my very first day, the staff at MJ Coldwell welcomed me in their school and were excited to help introduce the teaching profession to me. They encouraged me to get involved with the students and fully participate in the classroom to gain the most from my experience. I enjoyed the opportunity to lead activities such as crafts, tower building with blocks, sculpting with playdough and baking treats. It was a privilege to watch the students embrace new opportunities, play and work together, and help out with clean up and daily classroom tasks. Every week I was impressed with how independent the students strived to be and their social and academic progress that I was able to observe through the course of my time in their classroom. It was an honour to work alongside Miss Kerster who challenges her students to be self-sufficient and try new things. Miss K demonstrated genuine care for her students and was continually adapting her classroom to meet the interests of her students which was inspiring for me to witness.

Today, the pre-K classroom acknowledged appreciation for my help in their classroom which reminded me of how rewarding the teaching profession can be. Over the past seven weeks, I was able to make a difference in the lives of many students which was my initial motivation for becoming a teacher. Although I am still interested in pursuing secondary education, my time spent in the pre-K classroom was extremely fulfilling and beneficial. I truly enjoyed interacting with the students and finding fun ways to incorporate educational lessons into everyday play. I already miss my 16 pre-K students and the learning environment at MJ Coldwell and I will be forever grateful for the experiences I gained through my field placement in my first year of education studies.

Sincerely a fulfilled and grateful Miss S.

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Learning for Everyone in Pre-K – week 6

I have officially spent six weeks in the pre-K classroom at MJ Coldwell elementary school. As the weeks progress, I continue to strengthen my relationships with my students and discover more about each individual and how they learn. Learning through play is highly encouraged in the classroom and although there isn’t an abundance of structured lessons being taught, every day I see the kids exploring new things and learning through their imaginations. The alphabet is a main focus at the pre-K level as the students learn to recognize letters and the sounds they make and how to print their names. Miss K incorporates the student’s printed names all around the classroom to encourage them to recognize their names and students are prompted to call each other by their names to ensure they are practicing sounding out different letters. Values such as teamwork, kindness, sharing, and respect are taught in the classroom by making sure that everyone is included during play time and that the students are taking turns at the different stations. There is always something new to try which permits the students to challenge their brains and accept that change can be a good thing. The freedom of choice and the variety of options available to the students permits them to learn more about themselves as they gravitate towards different activities and use their own creative minds to discover new things.

The pre-K classroom lacks the traditional structure of a classroom but the students are still being prepared for their future schooling experiences. They are being introduced to daily schedules and routines, student-teacher cooperation and appropriate mannerism in the classroom on a daily basis. Concepts such as raising your hand if you have something to say, asking to go to the washroom or to get a drink, and sharing the supplies that belong to the classroom are incorporated into the daily learning of the students. Miss K continues to impress me by the way she encourages students to be independent and take responsibility for their decisions to ensure that they learn from their mistakes.

As part of the Regina Public School division, MJ Coldwell focuses on 7 “Big Rocks” to help increases the probability of their students being successful. They acknowledge the importance of attendance which plays a significant role in the learning process especially in the younger grades where the majority of the learning takes place through daily interactions and experiences in the classroom setting. Another “Big Rock” is the idea of having high expectations for all the students which allows the kids to be viewed as equals and know that someone believes in them to encourage them to believe in themselves. The school also values the importance of creating welcoming environments and assuring that every student feels safe and a sense of belonging when at school.

The pre-K classroom creates an atmosphere where everyone can learn from one another. As I teach students about mannerism and acceptable behaviour, they teach me to challenge my imagination and show me how everyone learns in unique fashions. I am truly enjoying my time at MJ Coldwell and I am honoured to have the opportunity to help students while experiencing the classroom setting from a teacher perspective. It amazes me to see how much my students learn each week, how much I can learn from them and how my assistance is appreciated by both the students and my fellow teaching staff.

Sincerely Miss S: a pre-K lead learner at MJ Coldwell

Embracing Educators – week 5

As teachers, we have the ability to plan and arrange our daily schedules however some things are out of our control. This week the pre-K students were learning all about the four seasons as we transitioned into spring and Miss. Kerster had fun outdoor activities planned that required puddles and grass. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and the playground was once again covered in a blanket of snow ruining the possibility of executing the planned activities. With little time to think, Miss K changed her weekly plans and was able to come up with fun ideas that still incorporated the weather outside.

The story So Much Snow by Robert Munsch was the perfect reflection of our recent snow storm and the inspiration for the craft while I was there. By mixing shaving cream and glue, we made a textured paint that allowed the students to design pictures of winter blizzards and snow piles using a medium that they hadn’t seen before. At the end of the day, we embraced the snow and went outside to make snow angels and trails through the snow with the mindset that “wintertime is fun” which was the key phrase in the story. Miss K.’s adaptability to turn the unfortunate winter conditions into a fun and educational day for the students was impressive. It was fun to see the kids be excited about the snow and the activities that were planned in the spur of the moment. It was inspiring to witness the kids appreciating the tasks that were prepared for them and the power that imagination and creative minds can have in the classroom.  

Sincerely cold, influenced, and motivated Miss S.

 

 

Inclusive Education: Inclusive Environment – week 4

Week four of my field placement challenged me to focus on the inclusive practices that were honoured both in the Pre-K classroom and through the entire school community at M.J. Coldwell. This week I read Oh Canada: Bridges and Barriers to Inclusion which put into perspective the importance of inclusive education to not only ensure that people with disabilities receive fair opportunities to be academically and socially successful but more significantly in order to create a society that is accepting and understanding of difference. In the Pre-K classroom, diversity can be seen visually through a variation in race but the true disparity can only be recognized by getting to know each student. The class is comprised of kids ages three to five and they are all at unique stages of learning. Some students can rapidly say the alphabet, count to twenty, and clearly print their names while other students are still confused by their colours.

At the pre-Kindergarten level, it is crucial that the teachers honour inclusive practices and design a classroom atmosphere that is accommodating to various learning levels. The MJ Coldwell pre-K classroom is visually educational by including picture labels at student eye level rather than simply written labels that allow the students to connect words to objects. Numbers, letters, colours, and shapes can be found everywhere in the classroom as a way of exposing the students to objects that will continue to play a crucial factor in their educational journeys. Miss Kerster adapts her classroom to every holiday including those of cultural significance such as the Chinese New Year which impressed me to see her introducing her students to history and a vast variety of beliefs despite their young age. Miss K also ensures that everything the students do is turned into a learning experience for the entire class and rather than simply lecturing individual students when they make mistakes she makes sure to address the issue to the entire class through positive reinforcement. No student is ever individually singled out but rather the whole class functions together on the value of teamwork.

I immediately noticed the aspects of Indigenous culture that are embraced in the school. In the pre-K classroom, the medicine wheel is featured on one wall, and a tipi is set up as a quiet corner for the students to read and relax. When entering the school through the front doors, a large mural is a  focus which demonstrates the sharing and cooperation that is valued in Indigenous traditions.

This week I felt comfortable taking on leadership roles in the classroom and was able to fully participate in all routine activities. the kids continue to amaze me with their abilities to immediately learn new things during circle and table time and stretch their imaginations during play time. Everyone is included in the classroom making for a positive environment that I am happy to be a part of.

Sincerely impressed and included Miss S.

Currere Essay – Synthetical – Who am I

The Currere Method writing process has helped me to gain deeper understandings of myself and the individual I strive to be. It has allowed me to explore my past and the effects that it has had on who I am in the present day and who I hope to become in my future. I have discovered what truly is important in my life and strengthened my appreciation for the life that I am privileged to call my own. I have learned that all of my life experiences have helped shape the person I am today and although I am in control of my life, my past, present, and future will always impact how I choose to live and the decisions that I will make.

Every moment of my life has influenced the person I am today and no matter how minimal an experience may have been, it has had an effect in shaping the person who I have become. The childhood values that I was raised with have taught me what is important in life and how to be appreciative of what I have. Today, I am a grateful young adult who embraces life challenges that are thrown at me. My early school experiences taught me that friends don’t have to look like you or act like you but rather to be a friend one must be kind and supportive. Being the only girl in my class was contrasting to the stereotypical elementary experience of a young girl, however, it taught me how to be accepting of differences and thankful for the opportunity to learn alongside peers no matter our genders.  Today I strive to be a friend to everyone who crosses my path because I have learned that to be a friend one must simply be humble and kind. The support I received from my parents has allowed me to feel loved and taught me about the differences I can make in other people’s lives by having their backs and encouraging them. Today, I continue to look to my parents for support and strive to make them proud. As a pre-service teacher, I am appreciative of the gift of education and honoured to have had positive grade school experiences that inspired me to work towards a profession in education. My life to this day has had ups and downs but ultimately it has helped me become a proud individual who loves to learn and be challenged.

When I look to my future, I see a girl who continues to feel at home when I am in a classroom which must stem from the happiness I have found in my previous schooling experiences. School has always been a place where I excel and feel the sense of belonging which has helped me feel content with my present-day decision to pursue education. In my future, I continue to crave challenges despite their demanding nature which proves to me that although difficult at the moment, challenges have helped me grow and develop strong characteristics that have prepared me to pursue more obstacles later in life. I am exhilarated by the opportunities to learn and discover that challenges permit which makes persevering through hardships worth it. In my future, I hope to participate in societies where everyone has a voice and is valued by others. I recognize that vast opinions have not always been welcomed in my past but I am proud to be a part of a present generation that is striving towards change. In my future, I recognize the good company and the sense of belonging as a home rather than a physical building. This idea motivates me today to feel at home here in Regina as I surround myself with people who I share the common interest of education with despite not living in my house where my childhood memories were made. I am reminded by my future that the memories are in my heart and the people whom I shared them with rather than the material buildings that they were created in. I do not know what my future will bring, but I continue to envision a life that incorporates what I have learned in my past and lived in my present in hopes that my upcoming days will continue to surpass the ones I have lived.

So, who am I? Today, March 23rd, 2018, I am a developing individual with significant influences that has officially been alive for 6,900 days and although that appears to be plenty of time to discover one’s self, I am learning every day that I am consistently changing and growing into the person that I was meant to become. Tomorrow is a new day, and although I haven’t lived it yet, I know my past, present, and future self will be there because together, my memories, existence, and goals make me who I am.

Currere Essay – Analytical – Reflection Staring Back at Me

 

My day begins in a scramble as I rush to get ready. I start by brushing my hair, applying some makeup, and layering myself in clothes that will keep me both warm in the dreadfully cold temperatures outside and comfortable inside the warm University classrooms. Yogurt makes for a convenient breakfast that I scarf down as I prepare a sandwich and grab a bright yellow banana to be packed for lunch. I gather my math books, computer, and pencil case and refill my water bottle with fresh cool water before zipping up my backpack and placing it by my front door.  I brush my teeth and then slip on my boots and mitts before opening the door to face the elements.  As I prepare to leave, I catch myself glancing in the garment closet door mirrors and a dedicated, Canadian student ready to brave the cold and tackle the challenges that a new day of independent living and university life will bring stares back at me.

After trekking across campus through the snow, I settle into my math lecture beside the group of girls who I have recently bonded with. I am honoured to have made friends who support and encourage me as I do for them. Positive energy floods the room as we share several laughs before turning our attention to the professor and diligently center our focus of attention on the new material. At the end of the lecture, we are asked to pick up our midterms and immediately my heart begins to pound, butterflies flutter in my stomach and my palms become sweaty. A sigh of relief floods through my body as I look at my grade and I am comforted to know that my commitment to studious preparation paid off. I walk out of the classroom alongside a group of caring friends feeling fulfilled and assured that I am shaping a quality future for myself. As we walk down the hallway, I catch my reflection in the glass door and see an intelligent and stressed student, but also a proud and considerate friend staring back at me, and a striking smile lights up my face.

Once classes are done for the day, I enjoy my walk back home surrounded by beautiful hoar frosted trees and the hustle and bustle of university crowds. I arrive back at my apartment, prepare myself a snack, and take a well-deserved break from studying prior to cooking supper. I decide to make spaghetti and meat sauce and as I stand over the stove stirring the boiling pasta I catch my reflection in the shiny frying pan lid. I see a sophisticated girl who appreciates what she has accomplished in the past year of living on her own, and I realize how grateful I am for the opportunity to receive an education in a field of study that interests me while being supported by family and friends.  An independent, mature, proficient, humble and thankful young adult beams back at me.

It is a new day and I am privileged to spend my morning in a pre-kindergarten classroom to receive realistic teaching experiences during my first year of studies. As I watch the teacher constantly integrate new and creative ideas into her classroom, I feel challenged to pursue my imagination and be open to trying new things. Her compassion towards her students motivates me to continually prioritize being inclusive and kind to others in my everyday life. The curious students have a desire to explore and learn new things, and I see in them a reflection of myself, an adventurous girl who craves continuous learning, challenges, and new experiences. The classroom environment paints a picture of the ideal place for me that provides testing situations that will encourage me to continually think and play the role of a lead-learner while being committed to nurturing and caring for others. In the classroom, I am able to be myself, a thoughtful, inquisitive, and enthusiastic pre-service teacher.

The weekend arrives and I pack my car for a weekend trip home to see my parents and most importantly my four-legged friend. I stare out into the open fields of Saskatchewan and crank my favourite country songs as I travel north-east along the highway. I catch my reflection in my rear-view mirror and a radiating smile beams across my face. I am one week closer to becoming a teacher. I continue to work hard to be successful in my studies, and I have friends and family supporting me through life’s journey. I am a privileged daughter, student, pre-service teacher, and friend who is continually adapting to new challenges and striving towards becoming a better version of myself. I am Kendall, and I am living a life that I can be proud of.

Reading Response #8 – Learning and Subjectivity: Queering Education

School’s have significant impacts on children’s lives as they help to develop individual’s identities and shape children’s understanding of themselves in relation to others. For most children, schools are the first place where they are integrated into social environments and required to cooperate with a diverse group of kids. Schools are responsible for teaching children how to interact with others and therefore educators must be constantly adapting to social issues to ensure they are equipped with the appropriate knowledge to share with their students regarding acceptable social behaviours.

It is critical that schools prioritize social and academic success in order to provide students with the tools they need to respectfully function in today’s societies. Under the federal and provincial law, all children have the legal right to feel protected and safe in their school. In order for all students to feel secure, schools must create welcoming and inclusive environments that don’t discriminate against race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or cultural views. By creating inclusive atmospheres, children will develop into accepting young adults that embrace diversity and know how to appropriately cooperate with individuals of various backgrounds.

In today’s society, the LGBTQ community continues to grow and unfortunately so do homophobic attacks. The article TV Bullies: How Glee and Anti-Bullying Programs Miss the Mark brought to my attention the importance of recognizing homophobic harassment as a form of social prejudice rather than standard acts of bullying. In the popular tv show Glee, homophobic harassment appears to be minimal in comparison to other forms of bullying and is labeled as an individual issue which is extremely problematic because homophobia has an institutional background. Homophobic harassment reflects stereotypical ideas of masculine and feminine roles and the concept that if children are not meeting the expected labels of their assigned gender then they are subjective to abusive consequences. Due to its nature, homophobic harassment cannot simply be labeled as bullying where only the actions are punished but rather, it must be approached by teaching acceptance and proper understanding of sexual differences. By addressing the wrong behaviour of homophobic persecution but further identifying the problems with homophobia and educating students about appropriate social acceptance, schools will work towards embracing individuality and providing safe learning environments for all students.

As the semester progresses, I continue to see the importance for me, a preservice teacher, to receive sufficient education on equity and social justice as I strive towards obtaining my education degree. In a few short years from now, it will be my responsibility to ensure all my students feel safe and welcomed in the school environment no matter their identity. I will be exposed to a diverse group of students each year, and it is crucial that I am prepared on how to be supportive of individual differences and how to respect all of my students to provide them with fair opportunities to learn. I continue to wonder if simply becoming aware of social issues and being informed about how to appropriately respond to them will be enough for me to create entirely inclusive and welcoming classrooms. My first year in the education program continues to challenge my identity and permit me to think deeper about social issues that will impact my future classrooms.