This week is our last week of classes - starting Monday, we will begin our practice teaching by actually teaching 1 class in our placement schools. I will be teaching Gr. 11 Chemistry at Burlington Central High School. As the week progresses, I am reflecting on all that I have learned in the past 7 weeks.
I have been introduced to brain chemistry and the teenage brain being "under construction". I have discovered student-centred/constructivist learning. I have learned about the Ontario Curriculum Expectations, Instructional Strategies, Educational Psychology theories/research and many aspects of Educational Law. I have been cautioned about Lab Safety and discovered strategies for teaching Chemistry and Biology. I have learned all about Assessment as, for and of Learning and about Evaluation. And of course, I have tried my hand at lesson planning - "Brock University style"!
However, the most surprising of all has been my tech course. This optional course (I/S Technology in the Classroom)is one that I had struggled with due to a variety of reasons - time constraints, completely new material and working outside of my comfort zone. On multiple occasions, I had convinced myself to drop this course. Yet, I stuck with it and what to I have to show for this? A lot more than I thought I would! In the span of 7 short weeks I have managed to accomplish the following:
-join Twitter (@shailjaguelph) and follow/communicate with educators & colleagues via Twitter;
-create and maintain a regular blog;
-partner with a Virtual Associate Teacher (VAT), follow her on Twitter and keep up with her blog from which I learned a whole new perspective to teaching (see earlier post);
-join the class "Ning" and use it for networking
-use the above resources to develop and maintain a PLN (professional learning network);
-understand the importance of being "tech-savvy" in the classroom and learn about 21st Century fluencies;
-use Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Reader and Google Calendar;
-create my own website via Google Sites;
-use LiveBinder and About Me;
-learn about the importance of our personal "Digital Footprint" and how to educate students of the importance of this.
Overall, I feel that what I've accomplished in this course is invaluable to my career as a Teacher. I especially realized this today when I met a friend for coffee and she asked me about school. I told her what I have learned about constructivism and student-centred learning. I proceeded to launch into a long spiel about my blog, website, PLN and digital footprint when she stopped and asked me "what's a blog?" 7 weeks ago, I asked the same question! And here I am now, with my own blog, google site, live-binder etc. I've come a long way in 7 weeks and look forward to using my new-found tech resources in my new-found teaching career!