My Experience of Volunteering in Elementary School

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Due to the fact that am yet to have a teaching placement, thus, my reflection paper will be based primarily on my roles, duties, and responsibilities as a volunteer at Ms. Young’s third-grade class at Burt elementary school.

1- What were the rules of this classroom? Were they effective? Were they observed? Will you incorporate these rules into your classroom when you teach?

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The rules and regulations at the school were based on ethics and upright behavioral traits of both teachers and pupils and they included good friendship, kindness, politeness, truthfulness, and respect. As well, the rules extended further to advocated for cleanliness, sharing, time management, effective listening and communication and hard work among each and every pupil in the classroom. Nonetheless, I observed that majority of students were able to follow school rules to the letter because their academic performance and behavior had improved significantly over the short period that I had interacted with them.

Additionally, students were very active in not only class works, but also on other extra co-curricular activities with the school. While I was there, I noticed high levels of integrity among students. For instance, one girl openly confessed to having sought assistance from a friend to help her work on her independent assignment. This was a demonstration of honesty and truthfulness, which is one of the key rules within the school.

In my future teaching profession, I would strongly advocate for acceptable ethics and upright morals among my students, particularly in classrooms. This is because I would want to create awareness and knowledge with regards to the code of conduct in schools so as they get to understand and know what is expected of them. Moreover, I would like to add more rules that make students more engaged and interactive with each other. For instance, to be positive, creative and ready to learn new topics. This will be geared towards encouraging them to learn more academic performance, as well as social skills.

What were the procedures that have been developed for this classroom? What additional procedures were needed? How could they have been improved?

The processes, principles and policies implemented at Ms. Young's class are very effective and efficient. For instance, after the students are done with their assignments, they are at liberty to use a laptop to either play games or read a book. This system is very important as it not only makes the classroom quiet for other students who still wish to work but as well as creates a platform whereby the idle students get more engaged.

Additionally, the other procedure which I found intriguing is ensuring cleanliness of the classroom such as tables, chairs, and the floor before the students leave to the restroom or lunch break. Also, when the students leave or enter the classroom, they must quietly sign their first name on the worksheet to confirm attendance. Nonetheless, I think there is a need for classroom timers to facilitate management of time among students particularly when they are working on various worksheets. This is will make them recognize the time and finish their work on a specified period of time.

Did your teacher exhibit wittiness? Give an example of when wittiness was or wasn’t demonstrated Evaluate the importance of wittiness for effective management.

Yes, I have observed a few instances of wittiness exhibited by a teacher while teaching the students. For instance, one of my demonstration of wittiness exhibited by the teacher is when she gave an explanation on how an appropriate reading assessment should be and the relevant steps followed when doing the test. However, during the explanation, one of the students tries to kick his classmate's feet under the table as a joke. Although both students were seated in the furthest corner of the classroom, the teacher was able to notice the misbehavior of the other boy and told him to stop. Regardless of the teacher’s attempts to stop the misbehavior of the other boy who would keep doing it repeatedly, he is later called in her office and guided on how to change his behavior evaluation on the behavior management board.

Did your teacher use proximity control to manage the classroom? How effective was this technique for good management?

Yes, the teacher adopted proximity control to effectively manage the classroom. She would stand close to some students to control them from making noise or misbehaving while in the classroom. This technique was very effective for good management because it enhances the behavior and expressions of the students in the learning process. Moreover, students tend to correct their misbehavior by themselves and try to focus more on the tasks and activities assigned to them by their teachers. As well, proximity control enhances students positive thinking particularly in class work because the physical presence of the teacher helps students to focus more on their work, and hence boosting their thinking and intellectual capacity. For instance, during the reading test, the attention and focus of students were distracted when the teacher was not close to them. Students didn’t pay attention to their test until the teacher moved close to them

What were the consequences for misbehavior? Did you think these consequences were appropriate? What would you change if it were your classroom?

There was no clear policy with regards to the consequences misbehavior from students. However, in some instances, the teacher would give warnings the misbehaving students to stop from the vice. When the misbehavior gets overwhelming, the teacher would move closer to the student and remind him/her to stop misbehaving. However, if the student does not stop the vice of misbehaving, then the teacher will talk with the student's parents over the same. sometimes, the misbehaving student is sent to school counseling board to help him/her rectify the behavior.

I believe these consequences were appropriate to make they were able to the meditate on what he/she has done and strive to change for the better by improving his/her behavioral traits. For instance, those students who had experienced the consequences of misbehavior changed their behavior and apologized both to their teachers and fellow students and promised to do better in class. As a result, they not only improved on their morals but also on their academic performance.

In my future classroom, I would prefer using simple ways of dealing with misbehavior students. For instance, at the end of every week, I would personally engage with each individual student in terms of his/her behavioral change and academic performance. Also, I would encourage them to increase teacher-student relationships.

What were the rewards or incentives provided to the students? Did you agree with these rewards? What rewards will you use in your classroom?

The rewards and incentives given to the well-performing students were candies such as lollipops. The teacher would call the name of those students who have performed well and give them an option to pick any candy from a treasure box. This was a really nice way of appreciating the efforts of well-performing students.

However, in my opinion, I think there are many interesting ways the efforts of the well-performing students can be recognized and rewarded appropriately. For instance, I would recommend the use of a reward board which has two types of categories such as behavior & academic performance with each category having the names of each student with the number of tokens earned. Thus, when the student performs well both in academic performance and behavior, he/she will get a token. Nonetheless, on the last day of each week, I would the names of those students who have 20 tokens, and those with 15 tokens etc. Then the winning group will choose their favorite activities from the reward board such as playing doll, playing online games, or painting.

What was the classroom policy on homework? Did you think it was appropriate? What will be your policy when you have your own classroom?

There was no clearly defined classroom policy on homework. For instance, when I once asked the teacher about the student’s homework, the teacher said that she does not give her student’s homework. This was attributed to the fact that, giving students lots of homework to do while at home, they will not do it sufficiently and they will feel exhausted and frustrated when they come to the class in the next day. Thus, she prefers them doing all the assignment inside the classroom, and the only homework she gives to them if need be is reading worksheets. I agree with the policy because lots of homework to the students bring about boredom, exhaustion, and frustration. However, should I have my own classroom, I would prefer students to work on their assignments in the classroom or library instead of taking home.

Evaluate the arrangement of the room? Did it provide for visibility and accessibility? What were the distractions in the room? Was the instructional area visible to all students? What would you have changed?

Generally, the classroom was arranged very good since there was enough space to move to and from one point of the room to the other. Also, the size of the classroom was very suitable for accommodating the increasing number of students. Moreover, all other learning tools were visible and accessible for students while they are sitting in their seats. For instance, the whiteboard and projector were located in the center of the class, whereas the teacher’s desk was located in front of the students.

While in the classroom, I didn’t notice any distractive objects that could in one way or the other distract the student’s learning process. In addition, the visibility and accessibility of all instructional area was appropriate, and thus the teacher was able to observe and see all the students easily. Nevertheless, the one thing I would like to make changes on is the reading area. Instead of the traditional reading section usually found in the corner of the classroom, I would make it more fun and attractive to students by building a tent outside the classroom where the students can engage in a wide range of activities apart from reading such as painting. The primary objective is to make the learning process more fun and enjoyable.

What must you do to be successful in student teaching placement I?

Since am yet to have a teaching placement whether I or II, my answer to this question will be based on my voluntary services at Ms. Young third grade class elementary school. I would employ effective strategies geared towards enhancing self-learning skills of each student in the classroom. For instance, I would put students into small groups and give each group a topic to research on so as to enhance teamwork, as well as improve personal growth of each student. In addition, I would prefer using a timer so as for enhancing student's time management skills by encouraging them to finish their work on time.

What must you do to be successful in student teaching placement II?

I would like to create a strong relationship with all students on my first day at school. I believe this way will help the students understand my expectations and what I expect from them and as well as what they are required to perform in their learning process. Additionally, I would like to create an interactive and a conducive learning environment that helps students feel comfortable while they are learning. Ultimately, I intend to create an initiative whereby I encourage students to work in small groups and share the new ideas for the betterment of each student, and to the school as a whole. Therefore, my primary goal would be to make the learning process fun and enjoyable, as well as improve student’s learning, social and communication skills.

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