Saturday, January 17, 2015

Celebrate~ this week- working with preservice teachers

Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. invites  us to share weekly celebrations, big or small, on her blog. This week I am jumping in, celebrating my opportunity to work alongside a preservice teacher!   Thanks Ruth for hosting! 

As an educator I see my role in the classroom as a learner and a mentor.  I see it as my responsibility to know the students and to work with the students in establishing a community where we can flourish and make choices that guide us to new learning and new questions that reflect the interest and values of the members.  Knowing the students in our classroom requires us to listen, ask questions and guide in a way that not only allows choice, but in a way that necessities choice. 

I am currently working alongside a preservice teacher, Mary Kay, in our first grade classroom.  The benefits of having another teacher in the classroom are obvious, but the responsibilities aren't often as clear.  I approach this responsibility each day with the knowledge that one day Mary Kay will have a unique classroom of her own, full of diverse learners and a plethora of choices.  Mary Kay will need to be reflective in her practice as a teacher and a learner to guide her students in a way that respects their needs and values.  She will also need to be reflective in how she builds her educational beliefs and establishes a style unique to herself and true to her beliefs about education. 

The challenge to me each day is in explaining those instructional decisions that take us away from our plans and lead us to follow our children and how abandoning the best laid plans makes us better teachers and gives our students more opportunities.  After teaching for over 20 years these moves just seem to be a part of who I am and how I teach, but when I am challenged with explaining this I realize just how much intention is behind these seemingly natural diversions.  

So today I am celebrating the opportunity to work with Mary Kay and help her to find her way into a classroom that respects student's choices and opens the doors to new opportunities for learning for her and her students.  The responsibilities of being a teacher are changing everyday, but if we accept these changes as new opportunities and keep an open mindset our job remains consistent, it's just the how that brings new challenges. 

I would love to hear from others who are working alongside preservice teachers! How you are supporting the journey?  

Mary Kay is on Twitter @MkGrove12  let's get our preservice teachers connected and started on their own PLN! 


Tara Smith said...

I just completed a sic week stint with a student teacher, Deb, and it was quite a wonderful journey. At the end of the day, my main goal was for her to see a real live classroom teacher dealing with real, live students. All the theory she had read, she said, did not prepare her for the types of on the spot decision making and responding that she saw me do. We talked after each class, and she asked tons of questions. You are right, so much has become instinct for me, too. But, it was wonderful for me to have to take a step back and walk through my thought processes, and I think she gained more from this sort of thing than anything else. I did, too.

Mandy said...

Mary Kay is one lucky lady! I also admire you for investing and sharing so much of what you love to hopes of guiding a new educator to be the best they can be. It sounds like you are both receiving things by working together. Enjoy.

Julie Johnson said...

Mary Kay is very fortunate to be in your classroom, Deb. I agree, it's hard to sometimes articulate why we make the moves we do. Teaching is an art, isn't it? Helping Mary Kay be reflective about what she sees and her own practice is probably one of the best things you can do for her.

Cathy said...

I am always inspired by the conversations going on in your classroom. There is so much learning happening on so many levels. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this important journey.


Megan Shoultz said...

Hey Deb,
I love the way your blog is formatted and the theme of this blog. Your experience with Mary Kay has only made me more excited for my own experience in someones classroom. I hope I am as lucky as Mary Kay with who my senior teacher will be!