Tuesday, April 28, 2015

10 Things that I've learned at the Faculty of Ed

I've heard many people make jokes about "Teacher's College."  The general consensus of current Teachers and Teacher Candidates is that it is something to endure--a gate that must be passed through, even if the surrounding fence could easily be stepped over.  After going out on practicum and experiencing teaching, the lecture style classes that we have back on campus seem so... well... they just don't seem as productive.
Queen's University flag on a ship's mast
Because of the negative mentality surrounding the classes, I have spent the last couple of days reflecting on this past year.  Apart from placements, just what I have learned at the Faculty of Ed?
  1. I have learned so many new classroom activities.  At the start of the year, I wasn't really sure where one of my profs was going with the course--and honestly, I think we all are still a little confused at the end now--but she did give us a lot of activity ideas and resources that we could use.
  2. I have learned that there is something to be said for collaboration.  You will never think of everything, but when multiple brains are working toward the same goal, new possibilities will present themselves.  I am so thankful that in one of my courses we had to present different ways to integrate historical thinking into a classroom.  There were so many amazing lessons that I've cataloged away.
  3. I've learned a lot more about law.  I don't know someone who likes reading laws for fun and while we had to for one of our courses, it was useful and more informative than I thought it would be. I never realized how much the law impacts education--from daily structure to anti-bullying programs and technology in the classroom.
  4. I have learned so much about teaching individuals with exceptionalities.  While I am still a long way from an expert, I feel as though my eyes have been opened to an area of teaching that I didn't truly understand before.  Understanding, accepting and accommodating students with exceptionalities was foreign to me at the beginning of the year, but I feel better equipped now.
  5. (Already at five!) I can say that this year I have learned a lot about First Nations from a historical perspective and from a closer examination of negative stereotypes that are still prevalent in society.  We talked a lot about cultural practices and how to make connections to First Nations in the classroom.  Without these lessons, I would have been ignorant of the issues.
  6. I have learned that "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten..."
  7. I have learned the importance of choice and asking learners what they want to learn.  So many of my teachers this year have taken the time to ask us what we wanted to learn and then structured their lessons accordingly.  I want to remember this when I teach because even within the parameters of the school system and within the curriculum guidelines there is always room for student input.  It is so very important.
  8. I have learned that poverty is not about being lazy or being stupid.  Poverty is an illness that can take the highly qualified and lower and has a huge impact on the children it touches.  Once within its grasp, it is very difficult to get out.  As I teacher, I need to be aware of poverty so that I can combat the negative stereotypes and so that I can help those struggling through.
  9. I've learned that redundancy can kill the best of topics.  Don't use too many lessons to teach the same thing because even the best lesson won't be able to resuscitate an exhausted topic.  (This was perhaps an unintentional lesson...)
  10. Lastly, number ten:  I've learned that a large part of learning is reflecting.  I feel like this has really been hammered home in the last few weeks, but as I reflect on past experience and lessons, I am better able to see the path I took from then to now.  It's humbling.

And there you have it: 10 things that I have learned at the Fac of Ed.  Given more time, I think I could come up with a few more, too.  This year has been pretty productive after all.

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