December 11, 2009
The first three hours of my field experience was completed at P.S.167, which is located at 1025 Eastern Parkway. At my arrival I felt more at ease when I saw that my fellow teacher candidates from Education 102 were there to observe classrooms as well. Primarily, I was introduced to the principle Ms. Mardy. At first I thought she seemed a bit young to be a principle; however, her extensive knowledge of the education system changed my opinion. Ms. Marc spoke of the numerous programs within the school, such as reading, writing, and math workshops that assist students in their subjects.
Since there were about fifteen teacher candidates in total, we were separated into two groups. Group one began observing fifth grade classrooms, while group two began with kindergarten. Being in group two was rather lovely, for it gave me the opportunity to observe classrooms in a consecutive sequence of grades ranging from kindergarten to fifth. Although I enjoyed observing all grades, my specific interest was in grades K-2. One particular classroom that caught my attention most was a second grade music class taught by a teacher named Mr. Koran. It was a little exciting to see a male teacher with such commitment, enthusiasm, and overall passion for teaching. His teaching style was highly effective, for the students were motivated to try their very best at anything new and challenging.
The next three hours of my field experience was completed at P.S. 157 (The Benjamin Franklin School) located at 850 Kent Ave. At my arrival to this particular school, I was welcomed by Principle Maribel Torres. Mrs. Torres seemed very excited to have a teacher candidate observe the classrooms within her school. Prior to entering a classroom, Mrs. Torres asked my questions in reference to my reasons for wanting to become a teacher, my greatest influences, and my teaching philosophy. I felt a bit nervous due to the amount of questions I was asked, but I managed to hide the feeling by answering each question thoughtfully. Afterwards, I was given a schedule that consisted of three hours of observation in three different classrooms.
The first classroom I observed was a first grade class that was doing a Language Arts lesson. When I entered the classroom, I noticed how creative the environment was in terms of decorations and bulletin boards. The teacher, Ms. Helmich, was doing a lesson on being culturally responsive. The book that she used was “Mrs. Greenburg’s messy Hanukkah” by Linda Glaser. Ms. Helmich used a method called Read Aloud—Thinks Aloud in order to demonstrate how to construct meaning from a text, make predictions, visualize, and summarize the book. The high amount of enthusiasm portrayed by Ms. Helmich led me to believe that her teaching philosophy is somewhat progressive, or rather child centered. Afterwards the students engaged in an arts and craft activity that required them to make paper dreidels.
Afterwards I went to observe a second grade Mathematics lesson review taught by Ms. Kachar. This classroom seemed very warm and welcoming for the students, due to the large amount of student activities displayed around the classroom. Ms. Kachar’s teaching style seemed a bit authoritative in the sense that there was little opportunity given for student to teacher discussions or questioning. Whenever a student answered a question wrong, the instructor would solely ignore their response without explaining why their answer is wrong.
One student figured a way to obtain an answer to a math problem in a creative manner; however, the instructor became bothered due to the manner being completely different from how she normally taught. Thus, I believe Ms. Kachar to be an Essentialist when it comes to educating her students. Lastly, I went to observe a second grade Science lesson taught by Ms. Petraglia. Her classroom environment was very organized and creative. I must admit that I enjoyed observing this lesson most, because it gave students the opportunity to learn through the use of exploration. The class was divided into four groups, each group was sent to one particular station. For example, one group was sent to a station that required them to experiment with dissolving by testing sugar, salt, vinegar, and oil to see if it would dissolve in water. Based on the high amount of motivation, enthusiasm, and energy shown by Ms. Petraglia, I would say that her teaching philosophy is very child centered. The end of the lesson gave students a chance to openly express their opinions and thoughts on the experiments, as well as suggest other activities that would be both educational and fun.