I began my experience in the local middle school in a science classroom working with sixth, seventh and eighth graders. My observing was just that- observations- until a girl asked for help with object displacement and her eyes lit up when the connection was made. While I was excited to continue helping, Deborah and I agreed that a more hands-on experience in an elementary school would be more appropriate for my investigation. So this morning, I found myself in a first-grade classroom, helping 20 little ones with their numbers. Never have I heard a group of children so excited to learn: cheers were heard upon the announcement that it was time for math. Math. Although I've only spent a day in this environment, I can already tell that this is where I need to be and I'm so excited to experience, over the next two weeks, the passion and determination these children have to grow and develop.
I've spent the past week rotating between the three kindergarten classrooms of the elementary school, which has provided an interesting look at different classroom dynamics and teaching styles. The classrooms are almost on a spectrum in terms of behavior and of teacher experience, and I've fully enjoyed having this opportunity to get a total observational experience. The kindergarten kids have been unbelievably sweet and they truly want to learn. They've so easily connected to me and I get excited everytime the "lightbulb" goes off in their heads. There's something about walking into a classroom in the morning to a chorus of "Ms. B!!". I honestly feel like I'm providing significant help in terms of classroom management and just giving kids the attention they need. So far it's been wonderful and I can't wait to spend more time connecting with the kindergarteners and observing.
Today was the fourth day I've spent in a 2nd grade classroom and it's been a great experience so far! I've enjoyed getting to know and working with the 18 sweet, loud, bright and rambunctious kids. Judging by the amount of high fives I'm asked for, I think they're enjoying having me here as well! Between helping the teacher out with Math and Literacy lessons, taking them to Navajo Language and Culture class, and passing out stones for completing work on time, I haven't had a ton of time to reflect so far. With the weekend finally being here, I'll have an opportunity to do some thinking. One thing I do know so far, however, is this: it is a joyful thing to watch a child's face light up when they not only fully understand a concept, but are proud and happy to have done so. It's a great feeling for them as well as for the teacher, and it's moments like these that fuel my enthusiasm for education.
Mollie (aka Miss Tamale)
After spending my first week in an elementary music classroom, it is clear that I can't wait to teach music in the future. The teacher I have been placed with has filled me with knowledge of music education. Being a professional musician himself, my teacher is spot on when it comes to the fundamentals of music and how to educate others about all music has to offer. After observing and helping him, I can't wait to try to teach a lesson of my own next week. My teacher excels in drumming and percussion. He gave me a lesson on African drumming during our free time today and even had me lead part his band/drumming class! Every day I have spent a free hour helping in a kindergarten classroom. Whenever I walk into the classroom the children greet me with hugs and huge smiles. As seen above by my name, my students have now taken my teaching name of "Miss Mollie" to a new level... luckily, the kindergarten students are understanding rhyming words! Helping the kindergarten students achieve new knowledge of letters and numbers is such a rewarding feeling. I can't wait to see their growth and to bring my own instruction into the music classroom!
Stay tuned for "In the Thick of Things: Part 2" for Jen, Laura and Nate's takes on teaching in high school!