Reflection #13

I have been reading the book Teach Ye Diligently by President Boyd K. Packer, so that is what I have been thinking about lately. I just read the chapter on discipline and learned a lot. I don’t know much about discipline, but I trust that President Packer’s methods work.

Discipline tips that I want to apply to my own teaching:

  • When kids are talking over me, just stop talking.
  • Try to avoid calling out specific people when they are being disruptive. Everyone knows who the culprit is already.
  • Don’t overreact.
  • Correct at the right time and the right place (not always immediately or in front of a crowd).
  • It is better to prevent disruptions in the first place by building trust and always being consistent.
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Reflection #12

So I taught the sixth graders this week! It was awesome.

Some things that I learned/observed/analyzed:

  • It is hard to get their attention once you have lost it.
  • They will try to bend the rules, but they are still honest (for the most part).
  • They are eager to help.
  • There are ways to make math fun.
  • It is nice to have helpers.

I think the biggest thing I need to work on is my classroom management. I am soft spoken, so that makes class management inherently difficult. I guess I need to get used to using a microphone…

In general, everything went really well. The kids had tons of fun AND they learned about velocity, acceleration, and the engineering design process.

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Reflection #11

I don’t really know what to reflect on this week. I have been preparing a lesson to teach to 6th graders next week. Trent and I are going to teach them the principles of velocity and acceleration by making cars out of food, rolling them down a track, and timing them. I’m pretty excited for it. I think the kids will really enjoy it. The real reflection for this activity will come next week after we teach it.

This has nothing to do with teaching, but I have been thinking about it lately, so it has to do with reflecting.

After weeks of deliberation, I decided to apply to be a designer for Spring 2015 Provo Fashion Week. Who knows if I will get in or not. The point is that I faced my fear of the unknown and applied anyway. Rejection is kinda the story of my life, so if I don’t get in, then that’s okay. But it would be awesome if I did get in. I think it would be very valuable experience for me.

And actually, this does relate to teaching. Part of the reason I didn’t want to apply for the fashion show is because I knew it would be a lot of work. Teaching also requires a lot of work. And half the fun in life is committing yourself to doing hard things and then overcoming them.

So pretty much I’m saying that designing for a fashion show will help me become a better teacher of technology. Yep.

Reflection #10

I taught my 40 minute lesson on Tuesday. It went exactly how I thought it would go. It was not perfect, and I didn’t remember to do everything that I wanted to do, but I knew that I would forget some stuff and that it wouldn’t be perfect, so in that sense, it went how I expected it to.

I really appreciated this assignment because it gave me a good glimpse into what it would be like for me personally to be a teacher.

Some things I observed about myself:

  • I take assignments seriously.
  • I am willing to put in as much time, effort, and money as it takes to do a good job & make my vision become a reality.
  • I care about design.
  • The pacing and timing of my lesson played out almost exactly how I had planned. (Does that mean I am good at judging that kind of thing, or did I get lucky?)
  • I was willing to ask people for feedback and ideas before I gave the lesson. (Normally I do not like to ask for people’s opinions.)
  • If I don’t have the questions I want to ask in notes in front of me/in the PowerPoint, then I will forget to ask them.

Some things I learned in general:

  • It is hard to find good video clips that are appropriate and apply well to your lesson and learning objectives.
  • It is hard to make a good worksheet.
  • It is hard to fit everything that you want to do into one lesson.

What I am going to do about it:

  • Get more practice teaching so that I can plan and prepare for lessons faster.
  • Practice coming up with good questions.
  • Always be on the lookout for good movie clips.
  • Get more comfortable around people.

Reflection #9

This week I have had the opportunity to be a student as my fellow classmates teach me about their respective STLs (Standards for Technological Literacy) that they have been assigned. (I will teach next Tuesday, so for now I am just observing and participating as a student.)

I feel like I have learned A LOT and I hope to be able to apply those things that I have learned into my own teaching. But I know from experience that it is much easier said than done.

 

Here are some of the biggest things I have learned:

-LEARNING OUTCOMES ARE KEY.

-Activities are key, but only if they contribute to the learning outcome.

-It is really important to assess to make sure your students have achieved the learning outcomes.

-Paying attention to little details can really enhance your lesson.

 

The real test to see if I have captured what I have observed is to teach. In the mean time, I am trying to put everything I have learned into my lesson plan. I feel good about my lesson plan so far, but I need to fine tune it and figure out some of the details.

Reflection #8

I taught at the Springville Library these last two Saturdays. It was an interesting experience. I had never really taught to the older demographic before. It was cool because sometimes it can be intimidating to teach older people because you know they have more life experience than you, but in this situation it was nice because I knew that I knew more about the subject than they did.

However, I also learned that it is kind of hard to explain internet related topics. Actually, I think I am just bad at explaining in general. Which is a terrible quality for a teacher to have, but I guess I have to learn to get better at that. I have this thing where once I learn something, it feels as if I have always known it, and it just clicks. So it is very hard to explain things that just make sense in my brain.

Now how can I apply what I learned?

-I can teach more and get more practice.

-I can work on improving my explaining skills by teaching things in their simplest form.

Reflection #7

Typically when I blog, I like to be honest and share what I am really thinking. And this week I was thinking about what teachers do when they get sick. Because I have been sick for the last three weeks and I have a killer headache right now and it sucks. But what do you do when you are a teacher? I feel bad enough skipping class as a student.

I guess you just roll with the punches. Life goes on.

And if you are my sister-in-law, you have the kids write little papers on where they think she went, and you get hilarious responses. (I wish I could remember them now.)

So for the sake of doing a complete “Capture”…

Observation: I was sick.

Analysis: What do teachers do when they are sick?

Act: I will do my best to stay caught up, while also taking time to rest and get better. Which is probably the same thing I would do if I were a teacher.

Reflection #6: Book Review

I just finished reading a 100-page book for class titled Learning and Teaching for Exponential Growth by Susan Peterson Gong.

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Despite the awful design of the cover, this is actually a good book.

Summary (aka Observations):

Basically, it is the research of Mormon psychologist Walter Gong, and the people who have built upon and validated his educational theories. Some of his theories include:

  • Everyone is a teacher and a learner.
  • It takes at least three people to teach and learn effectively (Person 1 hasn’t taught effectively/real learning hasn’t taken place until Person 2 can teach Person 3).
  • Love is essential in the teaching/learning process.
  • If the teaching and learning is done correctly, then it should be a memorable, joyful experience, and foster the desire for life-long learning.
  • This method is not easy, but it is worth the time and effort that is put into it.

My Review (aka Analysis):

Although at the beginning of the book I felt like some of the concepts went over my head/were not explained well/didn’t apply to me as much, I found the overall message of the book to be very inspiring, and the last chapter particularly applicable to me.  Not all the parts made sense as I was reading it, but it all came together in the end. And this might be weird to say about a book on educational philosophy, but I just knew it was right. Probably because I have seen examples of his theories work in my own life.

Here are two examples:

“Teachers learn how to create experience for others. They shape time and space to create environments and moments that help others grow into their possibilities.” (64)

While I have had many good teachers that have helped me “grow into my possibilities,” I had one teacher during my senior year of high school that really made me see my possibility for perfection. He always made me try my hardest. If I got even one question wrong on a test, he would tell me I didn’t try hard enough and that I could do better the next time. Although I could have responded negatively to my failure and just shut down, because I knew that he genuinely cared for me and each of his students, it made me want to improve (even if it was just to spite him).

On how Stephen and Sandra Covey raised their children: “Learning and teaching together became part of their fundamental way of interacting. It’s no wonder that Stephen Covey can point with pride to the shared values, the spiritual commitment, and the emotional well-being of all of his nine children.” (100)

I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in a home similar to that of Stephen Covey’s. My family always had FHE and we always ate dinner together, just like in Stephen Covey’s home. My parents always asked us what we learned in school (Although, I don’t think it was as structured as the Covey’s home). As we got older, our dinner table conversation would often revolve around some mathematical trivia, or science phenomenon, or weird Spanish vocabulary. We are always telling each other “Fun Facts.” It really is our fundamental way of interacting. And I think my parents can also point with pride to the “shared values, spiritual commitment, and emotional well-being” of all of their six children. It’s cool to see how little things like FHE and eating meals together can really make a big difference and turn us into life-long learners.

Act

There are a lot of things I want to do now, but I think I want to start by showing my love to others more often. I like the quote in the book that says we get more love by giving it away. I will try harder to love people more, but also to love learning more. And I will do that by serving others more often and without reservation, and by really caring about my homework and trying to look at the big picture for why I am learning it.

The end.

Reflection #5

I obviously didn’t learn my lesson from last week because I am listening to music again…

Oh well. Next time.

This past Thursday I did my first observation in an actual school (an 8th grade wood shop class). And I get to go again to a different school tomorrow.

I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t life-changing or anything.

It reminded me that school is actually pretty normal, and that you don’t have to be this crazy excellent people-person to be a teacher. (Geoff’s class kind of makes it seems like you have to put on a show and be super prepared and have fun things to do every time you teach. Which I think is great, and I would love to do that every time, but there comes a point where you don’t have enough time, money, or energy to do those kinds of things. But I also understand that those things take practice, and they really do help you become a better teacher. It would be a useless class if Geoff just told us to be normal people teachers.)

Anyways…going to the 8th grade class kinda solidified my desire to teach sixth grade or younger if I could. And I would be kidding myself if I said it wasn’t because of my height. As silly and shallow as that sounds, I’m just being realistic.

But I also have had experiences teaching younger kids, and I have enjoyed that, so that is also why I want to teach sixth grade or younger.

As far as the “Act” part of a reflection, I think the main thing I need to do right now is talk to my guidance counselor lady to see if there are any special things I need to do to be able to teach younger children.

That’s that. Tune in next week for the next installment.

Reflection #4

Recently in our class we talked about Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. The idea is that people can be “smart” in different ways and that people have different talents and inclinations. Then we took a personality-type test to determine our own levels of intelligence within the different areas (You can take it here).

It was no surprise to me that I scored fairly high in the Intrapersonal category… That means I know myself pretty well. And that I like to think and reflect.

Which is kinda funny, because that is what I have been thinking about this past week. The fact that I like to think and reflect. (Thinking about thinking = metacognition)

Really what I was wondering is if that trait is innate or learned.

My theory is that it is innate.

Probably because I have kept a daily journal from the time I was 10 years old. (I don’t think I would have done that if it was not innate…)

However, I think learning yourself is a learned trait. I think I know myself better now because I have been reflecting about myself for a whole decade. (Wow.) And because I have had more life experiences, so I can evaluate how I act in a wider variety of situations and if I act consistently in similar situations.

Another thing I have been pondering: Someone in my class joked about how the weakness of someone who is high in intrapersonal intelligence is that they know what their weaknesses are. In other words, their weakness is that they know their weakness. Which is funny to think about, but it is kind of true.

I think because I know my weaknesses, I am less likely to make them into strengths because I am accepting of them. For example, I know that I am quiet and reserved, so I am less likely to change that even if I am in a situation where it would be better to be more animated and personable (like if I were say, teaching.) I am also less receptive to feedback because I am already self critical (especially when it comes to designing).

Now that I have observed and analyzed how I am very self-aware, what am I going to do?

-I will be more accepting of feedback. (I think I am getting better at this already.)

-I will continue to reflect and ponder because I know that it is beneficial for me. Even if other people think it’s weird.

-I will not listen to music as I write my reflections because it makes the process three times longer…