Although my counterpart did not make it to the conference, I was able to meet everyone on the first day of my site visit. My introduction to my new school was such a difference to the practicum school where I spent two months. The Head Mistress (HM, like a principal in the U.S.) greeted me warmly and all of the teachers were friendly. Over the course of the next week, I got to know the teachers, students, and even taught for three days (by myself!). The third/fourth grade teacher had to score the Grade Six Assessments in another Region, so I was put in charge of his classroom. I was so nervous to walk into school on Monday and be in charge of two grades of students. My three days as a solo teacher were challenging, but so rewarding!
I tried to employ some classroom management techniques and even created class jobs. The kids took to them immediately and I think it made me feel more comfortable. I taught them maths, spanish, english, reading, social studies, and science – and had to create lesson plans for each one. Wow. I tried to make reading/writing more interesting by introducing them to mad libs. I would write a story, but always keep in mind places that I could remove nouns, adjectives, places or something else. Then I wrote the parts of speech on the board and let students suggest words that fit each one. They absolutely loved getting to hear the crazy story at the end and I liked reinforcing the parts of speech. It made me feel like I was teaching them something, because they didn’t feel very confident initially when I brought them up. They requested mad libs every day that I was there.
Since I’m here to improve literacy, my favourite part of the day was reading. The first day, I read them the first five chapters of holes. I was so proud the next day when the students kept asking me if they could also read aloud to the class. Not all of the students could read, but those that can were excited to stand up in front of the class and read an entire chapter. Although I only spent a week at the school, I already feel really welcome there and I am excited to spend my next two years there. I was even invited to their graduation ceremony (spoiler, they asked me to speak at it and no I didn’t have notice *gulp* but it went well). The ceremony was very nice, many of the students participated and it seems like the parents are active in their children’s lives. I appreciate when the parents want their children to succeed in school and see the importance of it.