Thursday, December 11, 2008

Personal Reflection

Throughout the past months I have been had the opportunity to provide extra help to students in need for educational psychology. There has been a great deal of progress throughout the months that I had spent doing this. I was able to work with students and also work on the effectiveness of my teaching in a more formal setting. This experience was very important to me because I felt that through helping the students I was able to further my own experience as a teacher. Through the prior experiences I have had working with people and learning the skills of becoming an effective teacher this was the perfect opportunity for me to put some of what I had learned to action and see how responsive my students were and how effective my teaching skills were to their knoweledge as well as their abilities to learn. Below is an excerpt from a student who had written a short essay about teacher quality and their feelings on how the quality of a teacher plays a role in student learning.

Teacher quality is important for the success of a child's educational career. Teacher's qualifications both on a personal level and educational level essentially provide a quality learning enviornment. There are many teachers who are prepared to fufil the demands of the occupation, others are not properly equipt for teaching.I feel that the teacher education curriculum should be the same from state to state. There is a significant difference between the requirements for a teaching certificate in each state. I feel that the certifications should be universal.Therefore, teaching content will stay consistant.In order for the nation to regulate the quality of teachers the interview process I feel should change. I as a student staff member of residental services went through a training program that helped me develop. This kind of program included various real life simulations of what teachers may face during their time in the classroom. It really shows how the teachers can apply their knowledge in the classroom.

After sitting and helping this student understand some of the concepts about teacher quality and how important it really is to the over all understanding and comfortability of a professional relationship between teachers and students the student re-wrote the essay and I feel that it was a much more informed opinion and had better justification with more knoweledge and information provided throughout the response. Below is the re-written essay.

Teacher quality is the most primitive issues in the educational system of today. There are many components that contribute to this issue but three main areas that enhance teacher quality. Scientific-based Research, Collaboration, and Reflective Teaching are successful tools that a teacher can use. Scientific Research has very recently become very important in the teaching profession. Methods in which teachers teach must be effective. In order to find out if these methods are valid and reliable, research must be done on their effectiveness in the classroom. The Department of Education addressed that there has not been a major improvement in math and reading scores across the nation. This caused them to question if the teachers educational methods are effective. In order to keep tabs on teachers and their effectiveness of teaching they implemented the No Child left behind policy. This policy forces teachers to use a more science based approach. Teachers must use an evidence-based method and show the validity of it in order for it to be supported by the Department of Education. This allows for standards to be set for teachers so that there is consistency in teaching methods.Consistency allows for a better learning environment for both teachers and students. Along with consistency collaborative teaching is a method used by teachers allows for a more educationally sound school experience. Collaborative teaching is the meshing of teachers in order to cater to each child’s needs. Teachers are trained for specialized subjects and disciplines. This interdisciplinary teaching methodology helps teachers use their specialized skills effectively. Using other professionals that are experts in a certain area can help the growth of the student in all subject areas. Collaboration can also help the teachers themselves grow in knowledge of other branches of learning.The growth and development of teachers also requires the use of Reflective Teaching. It is important for a teacher to evaluate their own work and its effectiveness. Improvement is what teachers strive for. In order for improvement to occur teachers must look back on their successes and downfalls of their instruction. The teachers ability to criticize their own teaching, allows for creativity, and decision making which can assist them in their quest to being an effective teacher.The culmination of Scientific-based research, Collaboration among teachers, and a Reflective teaching style are ways in which an effective teacher can be generated. Great strides are being made to steer teachers towards these using these tools. These schemes can be critical in improving teacher quality throughout the nation.

It brings me a great deal of gratification and satisfaction knowing that I made a difference in a students understanding of a very important topic based on the knoweledge that I had and the way I was able to relay that information to the student based on the techniques that I had learned in the past few months. I can only imagine and strive for more improvement in my teaching skills as time passes and my learning of teaching skills and techniques progresses.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Witness the Progress!

Finally as we were approaching the conclusion of our wrestling unit, I encorporated a lot of modified games into class, inorder to be successful in these types of games you had to use the wrestling techniques that were taught throughout the unit. This particular game was called mat chess where 2 teams are made and each team selects a king. Much like chess the main objective of the game is to eliminate as many players until you get to the king and then eliminate the king. You eliminate or get eliminated by scoring a takedown or getting taken down by someone else using any of the wrestling techniques that were taught throughout the unit.
As we progressed into the wrestling unit we made the transition from offense to defense. This is a picture of me demonstrating what is called a defensive "sprawl" I compared this to a donkey kick. My cues of action were to kick your legs back and bring your hands down in place to where your feet were.

Here we are during the beginning of our wrestling unit. Where I am explaining and demonstrating the proper technique for an offensive stance in wrestling. This being a timed lesson I knew that I had to cover certain aspects and did my best to accomplish that. The cues inwhich I used to help my students understand this easily were to keep your knees bent, and your hands up.

Climbing the Mountain

It was rather recent when we were asked to teach yet again in class, I taught wrestling. Which to me was not difficult at all because it is an area that I am very familiar with being that I have been wrestling since the 4th grade. (If I didnt know how to teach it after that long of being involved with the sport there would be a problem!) Anyway. I felt very confident with my lesson plan and the selected techniques that I used for my lessons. One thing that I was very suprised about and did not expect to happen was the first minute or so of my first lesson. My plan was to explain a basic stance to the class and have them find their own stances and move around in their stances to understand the concept of always being on the defense. What suprised me was that the students imitated what I was demonstrating without being told to do so. I felt that It was wonderful communication between myself as the teacher and the students taking an interest in what was going on and what I was doing that they wanted to try it themselves and see where the rest of the lesson was headed. Thinking about the first time I had taught in class only a few months ago compared to now, I have made some major progress. I am very pleased with the way I have improved in my teaching areas. I am now able to realize when I did something wrong and how to correct it to make my over all teaching more effective.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ye Olde Voyage

As you can see by analyzing my heart rate from the current graph, I died several times during class. Haha, I think the reason for my many deaths during class is because the strap that I was using for my heart rate monitor was a larger size than I thought, and I didn't know about it until We started our scavenger hunt and it began to fall down around my waist and I had to keep picking it back up. Other than that I actually felt that during class because we were running around so much I was able to get a great cardiovascular work out. I thought that the most interesting part about the entire activity was the fact that there were about 20 kids literally sprinting all over campus, running in and out of buildings and unlike high school. There was no teachers or professors telling us to slow down and stop running. I felt like I was in the Suny Cortland 2008 version of the Breakfast Club. Another part of this lesson that stood out and was very interesting and it made the lesson more complete was the fact that all of us were so interested and concerned with what we were doing that we were completely unaware of the amount of physical activity that we were doing. This lesson forced physical activity in a fun and enjoyable way which is very important when planning for a lesson. Although my heart rate data doesn't show it, I had one of the best cardiovascular workouts that I have had in a while. I felt energized and alert for the rest of the day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Realizing the reality

As the weeks pass I have had more and more experience with teaching. Well, teaching my peers that is. I sometimes feel really awkward when teaching my peers because I get the feeling that the separation between teacher and student is not yet there, and it wont be until the journey is complete. However, it is amazing how quickly I am getting comfortable with teaching. I recently taught a few lessons on the unit of wrestling. I wont lie, I was intimidated at first because each lesson was being taught in groups of 2. Each student was expected to teach 7 minutes each. My partner ended up changing his major and I had to teach a 15 minute lesson by myself. I never really had any experience doing something like this before so it was a big deal at first to me. I remember the first day that I taught this lesson. I was pretty nervous but I figured that since I was here to learn, I would rather make mistakes now than when I was in front of my own class. Anyway it went off rather well. I was surprised at my professors reaction and the reaction of my peers. I couldn't believe how 15 minutes flew by. I had a detailed lesson plan of the things I wanted to cover throughout my lesson and I thought that by working quickly I would be able to get through all of it. I didn't even get close. I got very into my lesson. for some reason, even though it was only a teaching unit for my peers it was really important to me that they learn the lessons I had planned. I guess because it took me a long time to make sure that everything was planned out the right way with the right progressions and the right amount of time spent on each part of the lesson. I really am beginning to think that I am throughly understanding the skills and the techniques and pretty much all of the qualities it takes to be an effective and well appreciated teacher. I only hope that as time goes on I am able to utilize the feedback given by my fellow physical education majors in an effort to further my abilities and increase my teaching skills to their pinnacles. Believe me when I say that history IS in the making and with the right mindset and the work ethic and will power, it is only a matter of time until a dream becomes a reality.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2008 Suny Cortland P.E. Mini Conference

I just recently participated in one of the workshops at the Suny Cortland P.E. mini conference. This conference is held every year and I think its cool. Of course at first I only thought it was cool because all of my classes were canceled for the day, but that was until I actually took part in it and really understood what it was all about. My day began by marching into one of the gymnasiums while stomping and claping and singing to a parody of Queen's we will rock you. Probably again, another very emberassing moment to add to the list. But after that was done and we got the audience involved in the ice-breakers that we chose, I sat through a speech by a man that I thought would put me to sleep, emberassingly enough I cant even remember this man's name . However, little did I know that he was the pennicle of physical educators and everything i hope to be some day. He is a recipient of the Walt Disney teacher of the year award. A prostegious award that thousands upon thousands of teachers are nominated for each year. He shared with us his story of a girl that even though she is not alive anymore, and even though I have never met her, I still will never forget her. Katie Lynch, a girl who was born with connective tissue disorder which left her only about a foot tall, if that. Even still, this man showed here that there wasnt anything she couldnt do. She was an athlete, she was a high school and college graduate, she participated in the boston marathon where she raised thousands of dollars by exceeding her goal of walking 26.2 feet. This man was able to show me in a matter of 40 minutes why I am in this major and why i chose this profession and why it is so important to meand why I want to train and train the hardest I can to be the teacher that this man is. In my eyes this man has everything that I want and I have the strongest respect for everything that he has accomplished, the lives hes touched, the people he made realize that there is no such thing as a disability, there are just different abilities, and the students who have had the honor of having him as their teacher. To some it may not seem like much of anything special, but to me, this man has everything in the world.