Through the ECS 100 program, I had the opportunity to visit a classroom on Monday afternoons for 7 weeks. This experience taught me a lot about how different schools function and also about what goes on beyond what the students see. The school that I attended was considered “open concept”. This idea was very different than my elementary school that I attended growing up. The classrooms had garage doors that opened into the hallway and to the classrooms next door. Although these doors were to be used for collaboration, they were not used while I was there. Also, the library was the centre of the school and it had no walls surrounding it, making everything open. Next to the library, were the students lockers. These lockers were more like ‘cubbies’, which meant that they were open to everyone walking by. Immediately when I noticed the lockers, I thought about how they might be a challenge for the teachers, as well as for the privacy of the students. The second last week that I attended the school, the lockers were in fact moved back to the classroom due to issues with students not respecting others space. Also, the school had a unqiue space where older students were able to work in a lunch room where they learned skills about cooking and cleaning as well as their classroom learnings.
Within the classroom that I spent my time, there was a lot of diversity. There were many children who learned English as their second language, there were many who were still learning English, and there were some who were fully speak English . This caused there to be many different dynamics within the classroom as everyone had different abilitites. My partner Sarah and I had the opportunity to work one-on-one with some students to work with them on their writing abilities, as well as working in small groups with students to practice reading. This helped us to create realtionships with the students and to get a different persepective on many things. The students loved sharing stories with us and asking us about our lives.
The last three days that Sarah and I went to the school, we had to opportunity to see their French class. French was taught by a different teacher and therefore we got to see a different side of the students, but also how different teachers handle the class. It is interesting to see how the students react and change when there is either a different teacher present.
The last day that Sarah and I attended our field placement, the students and the cooperating teacher brought us each flowers. They presented us with the flowers in a sharing circle where they all thanked us for coming and being apart of their classroom. Some of them gave us other comments as well. It was very nice to get to know the students and to connect with them. It was also nice to have a really helpful and reliable cooperating teacher who taught us many things and is willing to help us along our journey, even outside of the field placement. These relationships are very important to me and I will keep this experience in my heart as I continue my journey.