A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Archive for September, 2013

Good Teaching

It’s official, Chelsea Rakuc has finished her first blog post.  I couldn’t stop reading it!   We can not wait to hear from her more!  Enjoy! -Andromahi

After teaching a plethora of lessons throughout my methods courses, I have always reflected upon the question of, “Am I being the best teacher that I can be?”  I always thought good teaching depended upon the assessment of the students and the self-reflection I did about myself.  While both these concepts are equally important, good teaching is all about how you implement the lesson to and with the students.

I am currently enrolled in a course entitled History and Philosophy of Education.  I entered the course thinking it was going to be centered around popular theorists and their viewpoints on education.  Where as we have touch based on these important figures, we have also expanded into a direction that has caught my interest.  We have dove into article readings, current events, and research of various topics.

One of the first days of class, we received an article to read and reflect upon.  The article was entitled The Source of Good Teaching by Daniel A. Lindley, Jr.  The first time I read the article, I was so engulfed and intrigued that I had to keep reading even after our time was up.  It answered every question I ever had about myself as a teacher.

I think the most important characteristic a teacher should possess is that of devotion to becoming a life-long learner.  This goes beyond keeping up with current events and the newest research.  This extends to learning alongside our students.  Lindley says, “Good teaching is not done to students.  It is done with them.”  There is always something to be learned and if we have the ability to do this with our students, it could be a huge motivating factor for them.  We are working with the students in what they are learning and that has the potential for students to feel as if they have a colleague with them along for the ride.  “The source of the energy that drives good teaching – is the child in the teacher.”  Now this does not mean we have to act like a child.  I interpret it as being interested in what the students are learning, having the feeling of being a student, and joining in on the learning that is happening inside the classroom.

Children surprise us on a daily basis with their knowledge, questions, and realizations.  Just as they learn from us, we learn from them.  Lindley speaks about this in this article by saying, “A good teacher must stimulate the knowing adult in each child.”  Children are capable and absorb more than we could ever imagine.  I think this is something we, as teachers, can use as ‘teachable moments.’  One thing I see often is how the teachers are learning with the students.  If the students proposed a question that you did not know the accurate answer to, be honest with them.  This could be an answer that you and your students could look up together.

I remember one of my first times ever being in a preschool classroom.  I walked in and could not find the teachers.  I thought to myself, “There is no way the children are in here unsupervised.”  To my pleasant surprise, I walked deeper into the room and there were the teachers, fully engaged with what the children were doing.  I specifically remember one teacher who was playing restaurant with a small group of children.  The children offered her a variety of items off their menu, in which she selected chocolate cake.  One child said, “I’m going to put it in here,” while placing the cake in the oven.  The teacher took this as a teachable moment and responded by saying, “Oh. That’s an oven.  You’re going to bake my cake.”  After her cake was finished baking, she ate it and told the students how delicious it tasted.  I felt this was so crucial in the student’s learning because they were actively engaged in what they were learning, the teacher was essentially one of them, and she was providing them with vocabulary that was scaffolding what they were role-playing.

This article is a great reminder to students, teachers, and parents that we must never lose sight of our inner child, for it has the ability to motivate our students in a way that could change the learning environment in a positive way.  This really made me think about how I interact with children in all environments.  Always keep in mind that we must pretend with them, talk with them, and most importantly, learn with them.  “One of the great gifts teaching gives us is the privilege of sharing our own journey with those who are given into our care.”

Stay tuned for more,

~ Chelsea

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Building our family

As we begin to build our new classroom family, we begin by getting to know each other. We share our photo books (each child is given one at a home visit prior to them starting in our classroom), talk about our families, compare our likes and dislikes, and talk about how we can create this bond. Yesterday, we talked about ways to care for each other. The children created a list of ways that showed caring towards each other.

At nap, I heard a voice saying, “We are a Leapfrog family here. So I am saying Good Night. I love you and I will rub your back until the lights go out.”

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A new addition

I am happy to announce that we will have a new addition joining the blog! Chelsea Rakuc came to St. Ambrose University to obtain a degree in Early Childhood.  She came to our lab school to fulfill her field experience hours and from day one she captured our hearts!  Her passion for children and teaching was evident from day one!  We had to ask her to work for us when she was not in class or fulfilling her required practicum hours.  I have seen her grow and flourish into a wonderful young woman.  As I watched her this summer participate and support the University, the trainers, and the trainees in the Summer Institute  (yes, this was with the AMAZING Lilian Katz); I saw her excitement and dream of training, teaching, and supporting others happen.  I approached her and asked if she would be willing to share her insights, reflections, and what she is learning while she is taking her last semester of classes and then continue as she student teach.  As teachers, we always seem to be wanting to learn more (we seem to never want to leave school!) and I can’t wait to learn the information she will be sharing with us!

Below is her Biography.  I will also add it to the About section on our blog.  Begin to look at new posts from her beginning this month!

Hi!  My name is Chelsea Rakuc and I am a senior at St. Ambrose University.  I am studying Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Special Education.  I have been a part of the Children’s Campus family since 2011, working as a student worker in both the Leapfrogs and the Dragonflies.  I am preparing to begin my student teaching in the spring in the North Scott school district in a first grade and early childhood special education preschool classroom.  I feel that teaching is all about creating an environment for children where they feel safe, are engaged in learning, and learn in a way that allows them to express who they are and what they are interested in.  I am so excited that Mahi is giving me the opportunity to share her blog site and I hope that you all follow me on my journey!  I want to share my perspective and my observations in various practicum settings and student teaching.  I cannot wait to share my findings, thoughts, reflections, and passion that I have for young children.

 

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