First Experiences: Best & Worst
Research demonstrates that regardless of how many methods classes a preservice teacher takes, the thing that will most influence how a teacher teaches is how they were taught. Your experiences as a student will, for much of your career, outweigh your experiences as a teacher. And that's not a bad thing. It's something to hold on too.
WHAT TO POST
Thus, to begin our time together, we should start at the very beginning, with a brief reflection on your student experiences. In roughly 200-300 words, post a story about either a best or worst class experience. Rather than just report the experience, make sure to try to identify what about it made it a best or worst experience.
AFTER YOU POST
Take some time to read what your classmates have to say. Don't skip this step.
IN YOUR SMALL GROUP
Discuss what you've read from your colleagues in small break out groups and develop a short summary of the qualities of an excellent classroom experience and, of course, the opposite of that, what seems to be the qualities of a bad classroom experience.
Over the course of the summer, we will develop our ideas, see how they fit into a wider discussion of theory and literacy pedagogy. This is a first step towards completing one of the major assignments of the semester: The Assignment Design.
I look forward to reading and responding to your work here.
HOW TO POST
Click on the "comment" button located at either the top right or bottom left of this post. Fill in the form as required and post in the dialogue box. You might want to compose in another program so nothing gets lost. Once you've finished, click submit.
5/25/2021 11:43:59 am
If we could go back in time (high school ). I would say one of my high teacher was my best . She’s was an amazing teacher , very helpful, lovely , and really care about her student. Well I would say that she was my speech teacher who push me to do better in class especially after my freshman year where she changed my life forever. Since then I know she was the best. Because she push me everyday even though sometimes I feel that I don’t want to do anything . But I do look up to her as my school mother . Which I ever had before until I meet her. Even today she still my favorite teacher and would always be.
5/25/2021 11:49:27 am
The worst experience I had in a classroom had to have been in middle school science class. The teacher that I had at the time took no interest in their students and how well they retained the information. We learned mostly from slides that she had made what felt like several years ago and read directly from them. The teacher did not engage us or make us do any critical thinking. I felt like we were just going through the motions. At the time I loved the class because we never really accomplished or learned much of anything useful, but now that I look back on it I feel quite sad. The teacher was a nice person, but I got the sense that they did not love being there teaching us. They did not care so why should the students. I do not remember anything about the class itself other than it was a decent place to slack off in. I felt like I had no drive to be there.
5/25/2021 11:50:40 am
I always tell the same story. And it's about a worst experience. When I was in first grade, I had a teacher whose name I no longer remember. And that's saying something because I remember all of my teachers. We were learning handwriting--printing--and she would put sentences on the board for us to copy. I always wanted my letters to be absolutely perfect--like they looked in the book. So I was the slowest, slowest kid ever.I would never finish and instead of turning it in half done, I would shove it in my desk. Now, this teacher would often say to the class "don't be a stasher." And she was referring to exactly the kind of thing I was doing. At 5, I though I was the only one who was doing this, and how could she know, but of course if she had a catchprhase I was obviously not the only one nor was the first one that year. I felt so much crazy guilt over this. It kept me up at night. So I finally decided to tell her. I still feel how scared I was. And so when I told her that I was, in fact, as stasher. You know what she diid? punished me in front of the whole class. Made me clean out my desk, unfurl each wrinkled sheet and create a pile of undone work. It was awful and I remember it to this day. For a very long time I thought I was a terrible stupid--and a dumb kid. And I was neither, but I didn't know this until many many many years later. Even now I have some imposter syndrome. What gets me now, as a teacher, is that I think about how that woman taught with shame. I hope to god I never, ever, ever do that--shame teaches you nothing. It has no place in the classroom. Not doing homework is not a moral failing. I'm not saying anything goes. I'm not saying no consequences;, but I'm saying don't teach with shame. Because here is the other thing: if she knew that students stashed, why didn't she have some safe guard against it for a first grader? Why just have that dumb saying? And how did she NOT KNOW until I told her that I wasn't turning things in. There are days I wish I could go find this woman and ask her what was going on. But I remember that story to this day and it affects how I teach in two ways: 1) don't teach with shame and 2) create classes where it is really hard for a student NOT to do the work.
5/25/2021 11:56:11 am
So, I just want to add, if I were to pick a great experience I would have to say it was graduate school--the second semester of my Masters degree. That's a long time to wait for a really great learning experience for someone who now makes a living at it, but there it is. I was in an intro to grad studies class and I wrote a paper on Daisy Miller. And I used old etiquette manuals to talk about mixed messages in the lived experience of real life Daisy Millers. and how that novel could be read that way. It was the frist time I had an idea that felt fresh and all my own (though it wasn't entirely) and I worked so, so hard on it. Harder than I worked on any other paper that year. And I had crippling anxiety about not being a good scholar or a good writer. But after that, I felt like I had found my voice, found my forte as a scholar, found my process as a writer. Nothing was ever the same after that. I felt powerful as a thinker. I took more intellectual risks and that was how I started to understand what I cared about as a scholar but also as a teacher. I want all of my student to have that kind of experience--though it is hard in a classroom. That's why I do so much with undergraduate research now.
5/25/2021 11:52:42 am
My best experiences were with teachers who handed out a piece of paper on the first day of school that read, "what is something I should know about you?". From the start, my teacher knew that I was shy and would have more patience with me when it came to participating in class. I remember in sixth grade I wrote on my paper that I needed the teacher to randomly call on me in class because I did not like to raise my hand. This experience allowed me to not only share my ideas more, but also gain a sense of confidence that I never realized I had. That short sentence helped to shape my academic career and made me a stronger student.
5/25/2021 11:54:55 am
In 9th grade English class with my all-time favorite teacher (who is a BSU alumni) we acted out the Romeo and Juliet play. Still remember what the classroom looked like and what it felt like to be a member of the classroom. Acting out the play was one of the best experiences in a classroom because the chairs were in a large circle which made me feel like I was included in the activity. We had the opportunity to pick which characters we wanted to be and were able to stand up and walk around to make the play come alive. This aspect of choice and being in a circle created a calming atmosphere that allowed myself and other students to build on our creativity and expression. As a class, we became very silly and some of us acted as trees and used funny voices. I do not remember any “rules” or expectations, as the teacher was just an observer and facilitator when needed. This helped students feel like they could be “free” in expressing their interpretations from the text. All throughout high school, this was the only class I ever felt so included and valued as my own individual person. This was also a great experience because I am a hands-on, visual learner and acting out a story rather than just reading it helped me grasp the meaning of what was happening in the story.
Gabriel El Khoury
5/25/2021 11:55:33 am
Some of my finest experiences in a classroom have been here at Bridgewater State University. Perhaps the best classroom experience for me has been Professor Bruce Machart's Fiction Writing Workshop. Mr. Machart has a way of bringing out the best in his students. In a fiction writing workshop, criticisms and suggestions are offered casually, and the discussion of the workshop evolves rather organically. I have fond memories of bringing my own fiction writing to the class and watching it disassembled, made better with every bit of student input. Rather than following a strict schedule that is dull and constraining, Mr. Machart allows for a great range of motion in the class, a freedom which allows students to express themselves openly and honestly. This freedom for students to express themselves in a casual setting is part of what made the experience so enjoyable for me (and for many others), and I am eager to experience the magic of a fiction writing workshop again this fall. Mr. Machart's classroom management skills are what I would consider to be an exemplary approach to teaching.
5/25/2021 11:56:27 am
I think my best experience in a classroom would have to be my early childhood years, specifically first grade. My teacher, Mrs. Moreria, definitely sparked my love for the classroom. I have an awful memory and forget most of my elementary school teacher's names, but Mrs. Moreria has always stuck. I can remember a time where I felt discouraged about my work and instead of letting me sulk, she presented it to the classroom and gave me that confidence as a student I needed. Since then, I have always had a passion for early childhood education and motivating younger students to succeed even when they don't think their work is worth sharing. I thrived most with one on one work and she always made conscious efforts to bond with her students and build a positive classroom environment. My worst experience in a classroom would have to be one of my high school math courses. Math has never been my strong suit and when I struggled with the material and asked for extra help, I wasn't given it and felt that I was all on my own to fail. I hope as a future educator to never make a student feel afraid to ask questions or feel that they have to take on a tough concept alone. I think this experience made me discouraged as a student and feared asking for academic help, whereas my first grade experience did the complete opposite and gave me motivation as a student.
5/25/2021 11:57:05 am
Throughout being in many different classrooms I have had experiences that I remember, some for the better and some for the worst. There is always this one classroom I remember since it had such a strong impact on my learning experience. Starting college, I was very nervous about the workload and being in a different environment however there was this one teacher I had that made it all worth it. She is a part of the ELED department, my major, and really made the class a welcoming environment. Although she had guidelines and made it clear that this was not going to be easy, she made sure everyone was comfortable and was ready to step out of their shell. During class she would make everyone participate but she did it in a way that made you feel okay. Normally I would have anxiety over speaking and answering questions, but she made it known that it was a part of being in this major and that really stuck with me. You could tell she had a drive and was really invested in the material she was teaching which really reflects on the students in my opinion. I appreciated her hard-core personality while also having fun at the same time. Her workload was heavy, and it should be, but she made it feel like it wasn’t torturous. Her assignments had meaning and made you learn everything that was necessary. I never felt like I was doing busy work but rather working toward the career I wished to have.
5/25/2021 11:57:30 am
The worst classroom experience I have ever had was my first grade teacher. My first grade teacher was one like no other, she was extremely degrading and she called me stupid when I got a question wrong. That stuck with me for a long time. It was really hard to get passed the feeling that you are stupid. It was extremely difficult as I was growing up and happened again my 8th grade year. My 8th grade math teacher called me stupid for getting an equation wrong and even pulled my cousin aside to tell her that I was stupid. I have never felt so degraded in my life and I hated my Elementary and Middle School years. The teacher and the community itself did not feel like home. I left my small town community and I decided I wanted to go to the city for high school. My high school experience was the best experience I have ever had. My high school teachers are the teachers who inspired me to pursue a career in teaching. As a young child I hated school because I hated the way that the teachers made me feel. I never thought that I would be teaching, it would have never crossed my mind in a million years. My 9th grade English teacher told me that I wasn’t stupid and I could do anything that I set my mind to. My high school teacher inspired me and told me that I could do anything even if the rest of the world thought I couldn’t. My 9th grade English teacher made the saying, “I can’t” into “I can.” If it wasn’t for my 9th grade English teacher I don’t think I would be where I am today. I hope to inspire my future students in the same way that my 9th grade English teacher inspired me.
5/25/2021 11:57:31 am
Some of the best experiences I’ve had in school involved activities that were engaging and encouraged the expression of my creativity. My favorite and most memorable experience is from middle school in which I was assigned to write a personal narrative. Before the assignment, we had spent weeks being exposed to many examples of narratives. With each sample, the teacher would spend the lesson showing us as a class how to break down and analyze the components of narrative writing. As we progressed through the unit, we continued practicing analyzing these samples; however, little by little we developed our own individual skills by moving from analyzing together as a class, working with a partner, and finally being able to analyze this writing style on our own. I learned to really appreciate this abundance of exposure to this writing because not only was I able to recognize the growth in my own skills, I also felt more prepared to write my own narrative.
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