Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Experiences with Elementary, Middle School, and High School: What I prefered

I just started my observations for EDU 355 two weeks ago and absolutely love it!!!  When I first came to Cortland I was positive that I wanted to work with High School students and pretty sure that I wanted to also work with Elementary students.  I was also positive that I wanted nothing to do with Middle School Students.  Well- I must say that after my EDU 256 observation and beginning my 355 observations my views have completely changed.  I was turned off of High School altogether and absolutely loved helping teach the Middle School.  I would like to observe in another school district at some point and compare schools to get a better feel for the High School.  I think that I just happened to have a very bad experience and it might not be so at a different school.  I loved working with the Middle School students because they were open to new things and full of energy.  I still don’t quite understand how these students go from this to becoming very lazy and disinterested in PE at the High School level.  As a future PE teacher, it is very important to me to think of ways that I can help run the PE program so that this doesn’t happen and children remain interested in physical activity/sports.  The one thing I did see and like from my High School Experience is that children were given the choice of choosing one activity out of four or five choices that they could participate in every five weeks.   For example, when during the five weeks that I was there, they could choose between ultimate Frisbee, team sports, tennis/kan jam, football, or track.  Having choices seemed to motivate the High School students more than just being forced to do the same, boring unit year after year.  I also decided that I absolutely LOVE working with elementary children.  During my 355 observation this semester, I have been able to observe two different classes, one being first graders and the other third graders.  Don’t get me wrong- you do get those students who test your patience- but I just love how they are all so eager to learn and participate.  I love seeing the excitement on their faces when they do something well and we compliment (positive feedback) them on it.  I love the experience that I am getting from observing two different age levels and seeing the differences in developmental levels of the children.  Some of the first graders are already at a mature stage in various skill themes, while other are still at the elementary stage.  It is the same with the third graders.  I’ve also noticed that many of the children are getting tired very quickly.  They may be able to run around really fast in short bursts, but their endurance is lacking.  Some thoughts I had on this would be to try and come up with ways to motivate children into running for longer periods of time (running club).   Another thing I noticed that the children struggle with is spatial awareness.  Both first and third graders are constantly running into each other.  I really like the way that the teacher deals with this problem.  As a student, if you run into another one of your classmates you are out of the game until the teacher tells you they can come back in.  This helped the problem a lot because none of the children ever like having to sit out from a game; thus they try harder to be aware of where they are in relation to their classmates.  A big thing that I noticed on the first day of observing in the elementary level was that there were vocabulary words written all over the gym walls.  I noticed that these words were included in the daily warm-ups that the teacher had written for each class.  When I asked the teacher about this he said that the school did very poorly last year on their ELA (English, Language, Arts) tests.  As a result, PE was being required to incorporate ELA into their daily lessons.  I was thrilled to hear this because I cannot tell you the amount of children today who cannot spell or struggle with vocabulary.  If we want our children to well- rounded and educated, that is definitely a good place to start- incorporating this words/vocabulary into their daily lives in as many ways as possible.  I look forward to the rest of this semester with all of my remaining observations in the elementary school.  I love that I learn something new every day there.  I am so grateful to have the opportunity to observe in different school settings over my time here at SUNY Cortland and cannot wait for my semester of student teaching!  Even more-so, I cannot wait to have my own classroom!

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