Another rewarding day at Walker School is now complete! Seeing the students after having last Wednesday off was quite exciting. It was so great that those relationships Mr. Leupold and I have been forming didn’t fade. It is even starting to feel like we have been every day!
The class started the day by working on a current events lesson. The topic that the students focused on was about saving money. Many of the students had a lot to contribute. This included discussing if they save money, why they are saving money, and what they are saving for. Mr. Leupold and I were even invited in to talk a little to the class about the cost of going to University. The students were shocked at how much it costs us to go to school for one semester. Also, in this activity the idea of debt was introduced and from this they could see that you could have less than $0 in your bank account. This was such a smooth segway into my lesson on subtracting integers that if there wasn’t a teacher change, I bet the students would have thought it was planned that way!
As I started to put together my math lesson, I did not feel good about the way I was approaching it. I felt like this lesson would press me towards a more direct instruction way of teaching. Being that teacher who is standing at the board and telling the students the information that they need to memorize, is not necessarily the direction I want to go as a teacher. I really like to have some sort of discovery in my lessons. After sharing this lesson with my Co-op, it turned out my lesson wasn’t framed like direct instruction as I had originally thought. It actually was a way of lesson planning, that I didn’t intentionally use or know about, called I Do, We Do, You Do. This way of teaching is essentially a way to scaffold learning. Although I was a little worried at how this lesson was going to turnout when starting to teach it, I started to see those light bulbs turning on. How exciting is that, right?! Something that was even more exciting to see and hear was when the students found the rule for subtracting integers by themselves. (That’s right, I didn’t them it; they found it THEMSELVES! Yay!) We were working as a class on the board and when they solved the question and saw what they just did, the class literally went “wooooah!” *Minds blown* Once we concluded the lesson, the students asked if they could do more math after recess. When does that ever happen, especially with math?
I think the biggest surprise I had today while teaching came from a student who I wouldn’t expect it to come from. A lot of the time this student is not engaged and is usually drawing something instead of working… no matter who is teaching. However, today during my lesson, he was the complete opposite. As the students were working, I was circulating around the classroom. There he was again, drawing. It turned out this kid was a genius at subtracting integers and whizzed through the questions, finished them correctly, and was already back to drawing. I couldn’t believe it! Later in the lesson, I even heard him helping another student. I was so happy for him!
Later in the afternoon, I was able to join the grade 7 band students who were going over to Martin School for their full band rehearsal. This was not only great because I got to play a musical instrument but also because it gave me the opportunity to reinforce those positive relationships in a less structured space (on the bus). I think it is important for our students to see us as regular people too. I felt that by just visiting with the students on the bus, they really started to open up and share things. They were really excited to have me join them.
Overall, I can’t say how rewarding today was. Having these kinds of days is the reason I decided to become a teacher. Our pay may not be the best and we definitely have to work our butts off, but seeing those “Aha” moments take place is the best!
~ “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats