The biggest negative experience that I have had is with a previous employer, and it was my first day as a preschool teacher in a facility nearby. On my first day, I walked into a situation that made a huge impact on the way I viewed this facility. When I started that day, I was told that I would not be in “my classroom” that I would be filling in for a teacher that was out that day. I didn’t have an issue with that fact and was actually up for the challenge. But when I entered the classroom I noticed there were no rules, no structure, no lesson plans and the classroom was complete chaos. I managed to create some spur of the moment lessons and engaged in music as much as possible. Then when it was time for lunch, and I went to serve it, it was pure sugar and very unhealthy. I left for the day feeling defeated, tired, frustrated and stressed and nowhere to turn. I expressed my concerns throughout the day along with a lot of severe health issues to the owner and was brushed off. I care a lot about the children’s safety and their learning environment, and I felt like I was drowning. Needless to say, I ended up moving on from that position because I felt helpless and without a direction to improve anything.
I have had several positive experiences throughout my educational background. The classrooms were always welcoming, warm and inviting and it showed that the teachers cared about their classrooms and their students. Those classrooms made me excited about becoming a teacher and gave me something to work towards in the future.
“The foundation for successful learning and a safe and secure classroom climate is the relationship that teachers develop with their students (Sousa, Tomlinson, 2011)”. The teacher-student relationship is something that should be built on from day one. If the students do not trust or know you, they will feel uneasy and unsafe in the classroom environment. It is so important to form the relationship with your students to ensure communication and safety of your students. Another way to provide a positive learning environment is with your attitude. If you have a positive and fun attitude, it will show through your lessons and your students will enjoy being in your class every day which will affect how they learn. Lastly, the organization is a big key to a positive and stimulating learning environment. If your classroom is packed full of stuff or the students, do not know where materials are it can cause frustrations for you and your students.
I firmly believe there are no stupid questions! I want to ensure my students know that they should be free to ask questions and try to answer questions even if they are not sure if it’s the right answer. A lot of students think they have the wrong answer but are right all along. If a student gives a wrong answer, I want them to learn from it instead of being embarrassed. Helping them work through the question and asking the student questions on how they got their answer while ensuring there is only positive feedback is important.
Bullying is a topic that is so important in schools nowadays. Bullying and ridicule will not be tolerated in my classroom at all. I will ensure that students know that rule at the beginning of the year and throughout. I want to make sure students feel comfortable and safe in my classroom and that they should treat their peers nicely and how they would want to be treated.
Sousa, D. A. & Tomlinson, C. A. (2011). Differentiation and the Brain: How neuroscience supports the learner-friendly classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Describe a positive and negative classroom experience you have had in your educational experience and the mindset of the teacher in both those situations.
As I reflect on my grade school years, I can think of one teacher specifically who had the greatest impact on me. Her name was Ms. Joanne,she was my band instructor for 4 years. The reason why she had the greatest influence on me is because she was very passionate about band and also, she cared about her students beyond just our instruments. She taught us what it means to work hard and stay dedicated to something. Being in band in high school was the best experience of my high school years. I met a lot of people and built a lot of relationships. Most of these people I would have otherwise never engaged with. She challenged us to conquer our fears playing solos in front of large audiences. She was just a great teacher, leader,2nd mother. She loved her students and in return we loved her as well. I will never forget my band experience. If I could give advice to any high school students, I would advise them to cherish those moments in high school and get active within their schools. Rewards for me were important, but not always in a physical sense. The experience in itself was the rewards. Being able to march in parades, perform during high time shows, being able to raise money for uniforms were all of my rewards. I was also section leader of the flute section which was a reward of leadership and hard work. Being section leader was also hard work as well. I loved every moment, even though we had to endure being in the heat every day for practice. If I could relive those moments.Her attitude most definately impacted her students.I believe that if she wasn’t as enthusiastic or passionate about teaching us ,we would not have strived for excellence.The attitude of the teacher has a direct impact on the students and sets the tone for the classroom environment.
I was subbing for a kindergarten class. The teacher leaves a note that says watch out for these nine kids( that’s a third of the class). Their activity was to cut and paste words that began with k in one section and word that did not in another. I am walking around helping students out and the aide(who was also a sub) notices that one kid is not cutting paper but cutting his shirt. Two of the kids on the list use language I didn’t know five year olds knew. During centers the kids started throwing beans out of the tub and on to the floor. I told them to pick it up. They didn’t. Then half the kids didn’t want to sit down and listen to the story. So I go after one of the kids who is at the sink and get splashed. The classroom was a mess after they left and I was to tired to pick it up. I had told the teacher that I could sub for her the next day if she still didn’t feel well. I had to sub the class the next day. One student who was not there the day before was. While I was trying to take role he yells across the room to someone with obsenitys and the teacher across the hall came over to talk to him. Later in the day the students start throwing pencils across the room. I had it told one of the good kids to take Alex (not real name) across the hall to the next teacher with a note telling why I sent him over. The class at the end of that day cleaned up the entire room so it ended ok . This was amongst my first classes that I subbed. So,my attitude was a little more lax and not as confident as I should have presented myself. This communicated to the students that they could get over on me.Moving forward,I have learned how to set the tone of the classroom from the moment students enter the classroom.What a difference I have seen.
“A positive emotional state in essential to sustain successful learning and performance” (Willis,Mitchell 2014). This simply means that when students are in a good mood or state of mind, it is easier for them to enjoy themselves while learning. Thus, helping them to be more successful.So.how do we build a positive emotional climate in the classroom? We can do this by incorporating an atmosphere of a supportive community. The idea behind this is that it gives students the notion that the student and teachers all respect one another and can openly express themselves and feel supported while doing so. In this instance, students do not perceive their teachers or classmates as a threat. One way to encourage the community aspect within the classroom could be incorporating open class discussion with clear boundaries that disrespect or being unkind in anyway is not and will not be tolerated. Students will then be able to dig deep and talk openly about subjects without the fear of feeling they will be rejected or judged. Another method that can be used to create a positive climate in the classroom is peer interviews. The text suggests that such a task is generally done in the beginning of the school year. This is a good tactic to use simply because it allows for students to get to know one another and build a sense of connectedness through shared feelings, talents, likes, dislikes. In personal experience, I have incorporated this in my group counseling sessions. My clients were instructed to pick a partner, talk among themselves and do a 2-minute introduction of their partner. Most of my client’s discovered that they had more things in common with each other. I could tell that this had a positive impact on the quality of therapy sessions and also the responsiveness gained from each session. They would bounce ideas off of each other and openly discuss barriers, fears,etc without fear of being judged. One particular client expressed that he loved coming to counseling more because he could engage with children that had the same problems as he did. These are just a few things you can do to incorporate in the goal of having a positive climate within the classroom.
Willis, J., & Mitchell, G. (2014). The neuroscience of learning: Principles and
applications for educators. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education
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