As my final strictly reflective post, I have decided to write a brief overview about what I have taken away from my most recent practicum block. Compared to my other experiences, I personally feel as though this placement provided me with the greatest amount of self-knowledge and overall development as a new teacher. That is not to say that my other placements have not been wonderful, rich learning experiences. I have taken a variety of resources and experiences away from each and every one of my host classrooms over my five years in this Con-Ed program, and words cannot express how grateful I am for this. However, this past placement was different, mainly for one important reason.
Before entering my Associate Teachers’ classroom in February, “nervous” was not a sufficient word to describe how I was feeling. Prior to this, I never had any intention of teaching at a Grade 6/7 level, and I was unsure of how these older children would respond to me. Will they think my kindness is over-the-top? What if I try to make a joke and they groan? What if I get verbally attacked in the middle of a lesson?! I was very apprehensive, but also entered the room with as much positivity and optimism as I could muster up.
As a whole, I am pleased to say that these students and this placement exceeded my expectations, ten-fold. The first two weeks allowed me to establish individual bonds and a strong positive rapport with the children, and once I was able to teach in the most traditional front-of-the-classroom way, I was communicating the material with a kind of ease and confidence that I did not even know I possessed. I felt more and more comfortable with the Grade 6s and 7s as time went on, and I loved being able to dive into a great deal of meaningful content with them. Having the opportunity to teach children who understood my sarcasm and awful puns definitely didn’t hurt either! After reflecting upon everything that I experienced in this placement, I can honestly say that the Junior grades are a great fit for me as a teacher, and I would be thrilled to teach my own Grade 6 class some day. This statement alone is completely life-changing, because I would not have been able to say it even a year or two ago. For this reason, I am so incredibly thankful to have spent the past few weeks in a school and classroom environment that was so supportive, welcoming, and eye-opening. It is near impossible to accurately convey how excited I am to see what my future as a teacher holds.