Reflecting in the field

I have been looking forward to the field experience part of my teacher education program for quite a while now.  Until I started it this past week the anticipation was admittedly that it might be charged with the relief of having finished practicum and the chance of seeing how I came across as a newly practiced teacher candidate.  The feelings changed as I fumbled once again into a new role.  Yes, I had a little more confidence meeting administration, students, and the school community at Vancouver College.  It was not really a confidence that I could fill any role that the community asked of me, which I was excited to do, but more of a confidence that I could recognize aspects of the field that I have been training for.  It was an incredible amount of humility and excitement that I was not expecting when I was introduced to students in classes as the French student teacher visiting from UBC and was there to be part of their school and learning community.  I followed a few of these general introductions with my own remarks about being there to help the students in whatever way I could.  This was probably the wrong thing to say in higher level French classes at this school because some of the students came up to me after and asked if was a tutor / able to help raise some grades that I assumed were very good already.

The week went really quickly and had some pretty incredible moments.  I shouldn’t have been surprised when one of the Christian Brothers, having finished a French unit, had the class up out of their seats singing the “Marseillaise” lyrics to a video, complete with the class marching and gesturing for some of the more violent elements of French national history.  This is the risk-it kind of activity that I have been trying so hard to incorporate in my teaching formation as a language teacher.  In the learning center, I was shown an incredible amount of trust when I was allowed to participate in the student personal check-in from the previous weekend just minutes after entering the door to this beautiful classroom.  I am looking forward to next week as I continue to reflect on where I’m at and what I can do to keep growing as a member of the school community and as a future member of the teaching profession.  Thank you Chelsea for the opportunity to be a guest of your reflective learning project and the motivation to get started.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Reflecting in the field

  1. Jim McLeod

    Paul: I enjoyed reading your post. A couple of quick thoughts/comments on several of your experiences and reactions. 1) Get used to a bit of “fumbling”. Each new experience, i.e. your first day as a TTOC, your first day in a new school, in a new course load, in a new role will bring a some level of trepidation and perhaps even nervousness. It is to be expected and I would worry if it didn’t . It means that you care and it helps us be prepared and on top of our “game”. 2) I smiled when I read the comment about asking you if you were a tutor and the desire to raise their grades. Our students live in a competitive educational world where acceptance into post secondary education is driven by gathering points forcing students to become focused on the percentage and make it difficult that learning extends beyond just accumulating marks. This is the evaluative piece. Remember that there is also a formative piece to learning. 3) The Marsellaise activity. Very creative! A great idea! With excellent and detailed planning, a clearly communicated direction and scaffolding of learning, you could do this!! Maybe not on Day 1 of your practicum but after a few weeks with a group you could do it. 4) I think that whether you are aware or not you may be learning many valuable lessons about adaptation and perhaps even modification from your time in the learning centre. Pay attention to this as you will find that they come in helpful in dealing with a diverse regular classroom.

    Jim

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