I can’t believe that my time here is already coming to an end! It feels like just yesterday I was packing up my bags in Oshkosh and now I’m starting to pack up my bags here.
One of the biggest challenges for me was to make the switch from my early childhood special education placement, to working with Year 4 (Grade 3) students that are overall above average academically. Overall, getting used to the fast pace of the general education environment was a bit of a challenge at first. It was also a challenge to get used to the little differences between American English and British English. For example, using connected handwriting (which is not the same thing as cursive) and the spelling of words like colour and favourtie.
This was my first placement in a general education classroom, as my other placements have all been in special education or an integrated setting. So, I would say that my biggest achievement was finding my confidence as the classroom teacher. The students I had the opportunity to work with were absolutely amazing! They were all motivated learners and wanted to be successful in and out of the classroom. Having only 9 students in my class, I got to know them quite well over my 10 weeks. I spent time with them in the classroom and outside of the classroom on our camping and residential trips. I will definitely miss seeing their smiling faces in the morning!
Throughout my time I was able to figure out what works best for me as a teacher and how to meet a variety of students’ needs within one lesson. One of the moments I will remember the most was during a Maths lesson. I was teaching multiplication with double-digit numbers and we were using the grid method. One of my students had one of those aha moments as I explained something to her and it was one of those moments that verified I had chosen the right career path! As cliché as it sounds, I found out how strong I could be when challenges came my way. I feel like I have grown immensely not only on a professional level and as a teacher but on a personal level as well.
Overall, it was a great learning experience but I am definitely looking forward to going back home and spending time with my family and friends for the summer!