Self analyzing

After another week of my community field experience I feel that I am in a better position to analyze my actions and reactions in the classrooms and within the school community at Vancouver College.  More particularly I feel confident in talking about what seems to be happening naturally for me as I move into the third week.  The most important area of growth for me is my communicative relationships with the students themselves.  I am humbled by the fact that in just two weeks the students have accepted me into their learning environment as well as their social activities in and outside of school.  I have heard many senior students talk personally to me about their plans for the summer and for the next steps in their education.  During my extended practicum I received feedback that suggested I modify the way I listen to students, with the useful objective of making my one on one dialogues more of a “teacher to student” dialogue.  When I reflected on that feedback three months ago I processed it as giving more “student useful” advice to the inquiring student as apposed to less “teacher listening” when the student was communicating to me.  I kept in mind that my role as student teacher was still to teach the students within social and personal dialogues that always benefited the students’ learning.  When given the opportunity now I always try and listen in with a little extra effort when I am around other teachers involved in these kind of student teacher interactions to see how the teachers are naturally balancing these incredibly important and interesting moments in learning.

My comfort as a student teacher is definitely linked to how the students are doing in their lives at school.  I often think about how I might be able to construct a comfortable and strong social learning unit in my first classroom when it happens and these thoughts usually lead to questioning how am I able to balance the dialogues that showcase the excitement or other decided emotions of the students.  This will always be an area of growth for me as I know myself to be a person that loves listening and building students up with this listening.  The (best) teachers I have observed somehow listen and teach with this incredible balance 100% of the time.  I did an activity in French class on the multiple intelligences and while not thinking too much about it at the time, I have realized that my talents and skills at thirty five years of age are kind of a work in progress.  My weaknesses are in progress too, and I am dealing with them or embracing them as the situations arise.  As long as I am open to keep improving and analyzing myself on the way to becoming a teacher I will make it and enjoy the dialogues on the way too.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Self analyzing

  1. Jim McLeod

    Paul: Thanks for letting me read your thoughts. A couple of things resonated with me. 1) You speak of building relationships with the students and the acceptance that you are feeling from the students. Creating relationships with students is so important and it is something that we can apply a skill-based formula to . It comes from who we are and how we portray ourselves. It requires a certain authenticity in showing them that we care about them as people and that our focus is on them as individuals. I think that the students will not openly accept and care about you as a new adult/teacher in their lives until they see that you care about them. 2) You made a comment about listening with a little extra effort to conversations that other teachers are having about these student-teacher interactions and how they handle these situations. This is good advice for all of us to take in so many situations. According to Steven Covey, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood”. We don’t have all the answers but our colleagues, both less and more experienced can provide is with ideas that we can choose to implement, adapt or disregard after consideration. We learn so much more when we listen than when we think we have the answers. And every situation has a certain uniqueness so one size doesn’t fit all.

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