Last summer I reflected on my own years in school, as a student. It was interesting, amusing, and really helped me think about myself as a teacher. Here are the posts if you're curious: Little Me and Report Card Comments, Summer Reflections/First Drawing, Hopes and Dreams and a Dash of Criticism.
This year, I bring you reflections of Little Me as a preservice teacher. Yes, as I think about my many roles during my elementary and high school years, I find that I probably ought to update my resume. I have, in fact, been a teacher in training since I was a young child. See below for some updates I am considering. I will just have to do some research to get the exact years.
Elementary School Teacher Experience
I think I had a hand in just about every bulletin board that went up for my teachers. I either traced and cut the letters (remember that?), mounted the paper, or attached the items to the board. I distinctly remember one time being on a ladder after school (the big ladder, not a step stool), and putting paper on the bulletin board above the chalkboard. I'm pretty sure teachers of today could not allow young children (I think it was 4th grade) to climb ladders OR just hang out after school without telling their parents. And, I also remember that there was not a teacher in sight. In fact, I'm even wondering if the teachers went home. I really don't know, but I was with another child, and we had a blast.
Enrichment Program Coordinator
In Catholic school, we didn't have a gifted program. But I do remember that several of us would be finished our work early and had to find other things to do. So we would make up games to play. I don't remember them all, but I do know one had something to do with the big classroom dictionary--maybe something to do with spelling the words? I don't know. But I know it was up to us to figure out how to "amuse" ourselves.
Yes, it was the students who were our ELL teachers in elementary school. We were in school at a time when there were refugees coming from Vietnam. There was a girl who came to our class who spoke NO English. There were a few of us children who took turns working with her. Reading and writing I think, maybe math. I don't remember much, but I do remember thinking she was a brat! She didn't want to do any of the work and WE would get in trouble if she didn't do the work. Hmmm, sound familiar teachers?
I have a sister who is a year younger than I. As many young children do, she had trouble with her "er" sounds. During a recent conversation, my mother reminded my sister that she "just grew out of it" without any services. Apparently, according to my sister, when we went to bed at nights I would spend time working with her, helping her with those "er" sounds. I'm sure my parents owe me tons of money for those private lessons!!
High School Tech Support
So, in typing class we got these crazy contraptions that would actually allow you to type digitally and correct errors BEFORE you printed your work. No correction tape, no worries about spacing, margins, etc. It was all done for you. They were called word processors, and we only had a few of them so the students were to rotate on them. The teacher took volunteers to start. I was in! Pick me! This was too good to be true, I thought, almost like cheating. Surprising to me then, just as much as it is now, there weren't that many takers for this innovative technology, and not even enough volunteers to start rotations. I just stayed on the word processor for all the turns. Soon, our teacher was coming to me for advice on how to use the word processors, and she began to ask me to show the others how to use them as well. I would figure out what to do when something went wrong too. So here's the best part: when report cards were given, I was quite surprised that I didn't have a good grade (it was average). I asked the teacher why, especially given that I was pretty much teaching the class. Her response - well, you didn't complete all the assignments for the term. Ugh!
Take some time to reflect on your elementary years. How will it help you to become a better teacher? How will it help you create valuable learning experiences for your students? I learn a lot from Little Me.