Week 8: 4/23- 4/28
This week, although busy with the extra event of a job fair and school wide focus on screen free week activities, proved to be relatively “normal”. I felt a new comfort being in front of the students teaching more fully throughout the day. However, the pressure of the TPA and other graduate school requirements has begun to take its toll and I find myself unbalanced. Trying to teach well and trying to be a successful student are not always cohesive and I wonder if the pressure from graduate school requirements and TPA expectations is counterproductive to the benefit of focusing on actual student teaching in the classroom.
This week I was involved in another job fair and, although, the prospects of employment are somewhat bleak the experience of talking to and with educational employment professionals is a skill that improves with practice. Job fairs provide opportunities to talk and seek out different school districts. I have enjoyed the experience of learning about what different districts have to offer equally as much as I have enjoyed sharing what I have to offer that is unique. The reality for me is that my choices for job opportunities are limited as I do not have the luxury of relocating. However, I was able to speak with a few districts nearby and hear what they have to offer, what is available, and what will possibly open up in the future. I additionally sought out opportunities for getting on my local substitute list and began the process required for that. I feel that continued participation in job fairs and possible employment experiences only strengthens my comfort and understanding of teaching opportunities that are available.
In school this week, a focus on supporting a “screen free’ week offered students that extra challenges, activities and opportunities to participate in community events. This “screen free week” program hosted a slew of after school activities and multiple assemblies within the school. Although, these assemblies cut in to some instructional time, students seemed to really enjoy seeing and participating in different educational experiences and having fun! Friday offered the last assembly of the week. This assembly focused on the “safe and caring school” campaign that our school has been implementing all year. Students from different classes performed skits and sang songs with the shared theme supporting a safe and caring school environment. Teachers, administrators, students, and community members were honored for their individual participation and the role that they play in supporting a safe and caring environment.
Lastly, I have been struggling with the splendor of feeling more comfortable and effective in the classroom versus the pressure and overwhelming expectations for graduate requirements and the requirements of the TPA. Time and involvement in the classroom, working with my mentor teacher and the students, provides a foundation that supports improvement of my personal leadership and teaching skills. Through a constant development and practice of applicable skills and experience I feel as if I am becoming a better teacher, each day. However, the tasks that are required for completion of the TPA and my current graduate course seem to be contradictory to the benefits of actual classroom experience. The pressure and extensive time commitment to each of these latter requirements seem to support time away from the classroom both mentally and physically. Planning for in class lessons, mental acuity, and reflection on actual current teaching is lessened with the extreme amounts of time and planning required for TPA and graduate requirements. This is not to say that I am not completing each assignment, but my observation is that completion of these requirements comes with a cost, and that cost might just be contradictory to the benefits of actual in class experience. I have to question are these overwhelming requirements really helping to support better teaching when actual teaching time and focus is diminished? Needless to say, I am looking forward to completing these tasks as I feel that the real and true experience of teaching and participating in a classroom provide me with better tools to adapt and create lessons. I look forward to full involvement in the learning environment where I am able to support students, encourage learning through multiple modalities, and participate in effective best practices, rather than just write about it.