Reflections

Goal Setting and Reflections Assignment

Upon beginning my first placement I was outwardly confident, but very unsure. I began with three goals in mind. Teach grade nine art. Be clear with instruction. Begin to evaluate achievements and give feedback. As I developed some confidence, and experience my goals changed to include: Be clear with instruction and expectations at the very onset of learning. I added a new goal: Provide appropriate responses to behavior. Then that goal expanded: Provide appropriate responses to behavior and have strategies in place to try to prevent and foresee behavior issues. At the end of placement I was disappointed that I did not get more involved in the school community. I really was accommodating for all this new learning and that was challenging.

Teach grade nine visual art. A fine goal yet, there is so much more. I wished I taught more of the other classes and developed more units and lessons. I found that when I was teaching I was a whole different person and I did reflect everyday but it was too fresh to really respond. I am still processing everything that went on in that teaching block. In the next block I hope to teach well enough to surpass expectations and teach a full load part of the time. I would also like to get more involved with the school play (be there that to do). Another goal is to incorporate 21st century tools where they fit. I will need to prepare some different scenarios of how that could play out.

When I was not teaching I was watching Ms. Dywan with the more senior students. I taught an introduction to the grade 10/11 paper mache unit. She was careful to explain sensitively that she was going model an approach to a more senior class.

There are teachers who share openly and there are those who share less, and then there is Ms.Dywan. I would argue that she was even and strategic in her treatment of me and her other students. Being so eager I feel compelled to share a lot of ideas, pathways, and approaches. Her approach was more consistent with a strategy that would serve to prevent your influence from too greatly colouring a students own initiative. She was extremely clear with expectations but the resources and materials were more open for interpretation, like a treasure that you cannot really find unless you seek it. It is interesting to compare to her method to other skillful teachers I meet. If I can manage to separate what they have taught from the method I witness.

During the first two weeks I knew that I wanted to work on being clear. At first I would show my lesson to Ms.Dywan and go through the sequence. She would already see where the problems would be. I gained some skills as I went along. The clay unit was so fundamental to me that I had a really good experience being clear with that unit. The students had such a good response. It is different with grade nine you need to be pretty specific. I also found that when I shared the list of qualities of an L4 pot they all responded. I learned to format lessons directly from expectations and share those expectations.

Some of the things from grade nine art I really don’t recall. I have those skills, but how they got there I just don’t know. This gives a poor impression but I’ll recover. I learned almost everything about grade nine art as it has been. I carried out things mostly as I was told with my own resources mixed in with what was provided. My big idea angle for paper mache was sketching and planning. The paper mache unit alone contained at least four prescribed drawing opportunities. I am passionate about teaching kids to plan a project. They can gain so much from it. There are huge consequences of failing to fully accommodate those skills early in life.

Begin to assess and evaluate achievements and provide feedback. More than anything I am still learning about assessment and evaluation. I am passionate about being a positive influence and advocate for the arts. I experimented with some assessment tools like self assessment and goal-setting. In the paper mache unit I asked the students to answer on paper how they will use there mask. “Are you a maker or a player?” I marked the answers and provided some information for them to think about. Next they had to come in groups and tell me about their mask and where it is going? I made notes and provided/ demonstrated different ways of adding a bonus feature (required). Then they had to draw there mask with their bonus feature. This structured more complexity in their masks and was taken up with a varied response.

If I failed at anything it was that I did not share the expectations for evaluation at the onset of learning. I won’t do that again, the response was so positive when I did share. My goal for the next opportunity is to more fully understand how A&E function in an art environment. I have been thinking seriously about being objective and maintaining a real positive influence.

Employ classroom management, provide appropriate responses to behavior issues. I ended up getting a student suspended for three days. I participated in a restorative justice session. I could go into all the gory details but I feel like I was pretty successful at managing a class. It all really does start with building those relationships, providing genuine praise, having clear sequence and expectations, and an informed authentic approach to the material and its application. Even then, with preventive strategies in place you will face many challenges. It is a serious responsibility to provide appropriate responses to behavior.

One thing I will try to remember, is that even though I show up like an extrovert I am really not. I imagine it is like that for others. So when you need to redirect a student it is important to isolate them, to give respect to them and the challenges they face.

Finally I feel privileged to have met Ms.Dywan and her students. I hate to be to emotive but there is something poetic about how they are there each day, working away. Good kids who want to learn. This is my lot, and you will see me with a class at a school, even if I have to start one.

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