Be all that you can be. Find your future--as a teacher.

Musings of a second-year teacher.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summer Camp = Summer Fun

Just some quick thoughts tonight...

After skimming some other blogs tonight, I realize how inadequate I feel when typing in this blog. Some people are so eloquent with their words, where as I feel that mine just spew and spill out without even making sense. So, bear with me if my blogs seem confusing, tangential, or just plain juvenille.

I wanted to post some quick reflections on my summer job thus far. I'm spending the summer working at summer camp (essentially a daycare kind of program) for the second summer in a row. With the completion of my student teaching last semester, I'm coming back with a slightly different perspective from last year. I think I always assumed that working with children, regardless of the setting, required the same set of skills. I've realized that summer camp and teaching require two completely different personas from me.

Until student teaching, most of the time I spent with kids was probably 80% friend role and 20% adult/authoritarian/disciplinarian role. I love goofing off with kids, playing games with them, talking to them about their likes and dislikes, and just hanging out with them in general. Between Bible School, Sunday School, Church Nursery, Babysitting, and summer camp, I thought that I was pretty well prepared to handle a classroom of students. As a leader in each of these roles, I had to maintain authority over the children, but in retrospect it was a very different kind of authority and relationship in general then the relationship I built with each of my students.

When student teaching finished up last semester, I realized that I didn't know my students that well. Sure, I knew a lot about each of my students because I spent all day discussing them with my cooperating teacher, but I was shocked at how little I really knew about each of their lives. I rarely had time to listen to students share their little ramblings about what their sibling said last night, where they lost their shoe, or how much they liked "Flushed Away." With my camp kids, I hear things like this all the time.

In a way, it makes me sad because I feel like, as a teacher, you don't get to know your students as well as you would like. In a classroom setting, you are one teacher with at least 15 kids. Your main goal is to help each student grow academically, and in order to do this, you have to sacrifice some of this personal time with students. I guess this is one thing I'll have to get used to as a teacher.

Another difference I noticed was my "classroom management" style. It makes me sad how picky you have to be about children's behavior in a classroom to keep that many students in order. I've come to understand how important classroom management is when trying to run a classroom efficiently, but it's so different from all the other "management styles" I'm used to. It seems unnatural sometimes to have students constantly following so many detailed directions...

Hopefully I'll be able to find my stride once I have my own classroom. I really hope that I can find time to "get to know my students" without sacrificing academic time. I also know that I will strive to have classroom management without constantly dictating every movement my students make. Until then, I supposs I'll continue enjoying my summer of essentially playing at camp!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

VRA and Praxis Preparation

Since I figured summer would be slower-paced than the school year, I've signed up to take the VRA and Praxis this summer. From what I've heard, the tests aren't too rigorous, but I still want to prepare. Any suggestions for studying/etc for these tests?