I dreaded the day summer school began. The thought of working full time and going to class four nights a week was unbearable. I literally thought I would die from exhaustion. However, my co-workers were very supportive and encouraged me to continue. Now, I can say that I made it through summer school and I am still alive. My brain is full of knowledge and I am more confident about entering the classroom for my student teaching internship.
A quote by famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass has been my guiding principle throughout this summer session. He states, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” My first class in Summer Session 1 was Power Tools. I learned so much about web 2.0 tools that I was speechless at the end of the class. I was speechless because all these tools are available for teachers to use, but yet I have seen very few of them used in the classroom. I question why teachers aren’t taking advantage of these free tools to allow their students an opportunity to compete in this technology rich world. I know it will take time to learn how to use these tools in the classroom, but it is a great way to keep kids engaged in the lesson. Global projects are a great way to work collaboratively with classes in other parts of the world. I would have not know that I could have my class do a project with another class in Argentina. What an awesome opportunity for students to learn and interact with students in another country.
Teaching and integrating science was an interesting class because I learned how to make science fun. Long gone are the days of reading the textbook and doing a science experiment once or twice a year. Science must be relevant and engaging. Students need to understand why they are doing what they are doing and how it relates to their everyday life. Science came alive in that classroom each class meeting.
In Summer Session 2, In Behavior and Classroom Management, I was taught effective practices to manage the classroom. This class also challenged me to analyze and make plans for difficult student behaviors. Learning cannot take place if there are distractions in the classroom. A teacher needs to make sure that the classroom is well managed so that maximum learning can take place.
In Integrating Social Studies and the Arts, I learned about a concept called Understanding by Design. In this model the teacher plans the lesson backwards. The teachers purposefully think about curriculum planning. The goal of UbD is to focus the curriculum and teaching on deepening student understanding so that they can effectively use the concept knowledge and skills learned. Although I struggled many nights with the unit plan, I have gained a new sense of confidence in lesson planning than I had before.
Through the struggle of summer school, I must say that I made tremendous progress. I have learned that everything must have a purpose. The purpose, or the reason why something is done, must be present in the management of our classroom and the engaging lessons that we develop. If students are not engaged and learning, then what is the purpose? When teachers think about the purpose for designing their lesson plans, the learning outcome for students, the planned activities, the classroom management plan, they do it with the intention on what is the most beneficial for student learning.
My purpose is to allow my students to learn to be critical thinker who can think and learn in a global economy that utilize many of the 21st century skills that I am responsible for teaching them. If I am intentional about making my lessons relevant and engaging and ensuring that despite the struggles that I may have or my students may have, we will make PROGRESS!