So this week, in terms of ed placement I've been trying to discover more of Asian culture in relation to America. In my placement I figure out that I knew nothing of the Asian American experience even thought I want to honor everyone's diversity in my classroom someday. I wouldn't have picked up on this if it hadn't been for my suburban placement having only white and asian kids. I was taught to look at majority and minority balances in terms of possible difference and then I thought "Oh no, I want to teach at a suburban school someday, but white culture is easy to adapt to, what do I do with the Asians?" This was really weird for me because I pride myself on being multiculturally sensitive becuase of my backgrounds, and what was even weirder is that my best friend since 3rd grade is Viet, but I still don't feel like I know how her race and culture relate to her experience. For some reason, that racial experience has always been invisible to me, despite my exposure to literature about the Hmong in the US and other groups. I decided to reconsile this dissonace by bugging my asian friends to help me learn more and I hope to take an Asian American history/culture class before I graduate. I can't believe I didn't notice one of the biggest groups in America in my quest to be inclusive. I'm really embarressed about this, but at least now I know and I can work towards making that better.
Share time - S's sister has a stuffed animal eagle. When teacher does not call on R., R smacks her head and rocks back and forth.
- all the other children just seem to ignore it -- seems like something they're used to
At least 4 children are lacking energy today, seem lethargic. With all 4 the main teacher has two methods to solve:
1.) if not ready then take a "vacation" in principal's office
2.) put marbles in jar if work
During reading center, counted how many times one boy lied - 9 times
P. gives M a kiss and while teacher was telling him that kisses "aren't given at school", F. gives Sa. a kiss
G almost lost marbles for entire reading center
This day seemed to be full of children lying about experiences, especially at the reading center. For the center 2/3 groups were reading books about Chipmunks, and the teacher asked the students what they knew about chipmunks. It was clear that they didn't know anything, and when no one would answer, the students started making things up - ie., they're giants, they can swim, I saw one in the forest of Africa, etc etc. The teacher stressed that "teacher choice time" is not the time for telling stories, but rather for being honest. "If you don't know anything about chipmunks, that's fine. We can talk about what we don't know, but no telling tales or stories". A version of this had to be said at least once at each group.
Since my field placement school is currently on spring vacation (and for the next week as well), I'm writing about my French teaching assistant work.
A problem I keep encountering is a disconnect between what the professor (who is my supervisor, the teacher who is in charge of the lesson plans for all the French students at the intermediate level, for which I am a TA) expects students to get out of their TA sessions and what they are ready to do in TA sessions. What I mean by this is: how do you make the most of not being able to control the major lesson plan for students? How do you make their extra (mandatory) sessions meaningful in the context of their class when I don't really know what they are doing in class, and when they are in need of much more review than the professor thinks they are? When we have grammar lessons, (i.e. subjunctive) the professor gives us (the TAs) at least ten activities to do with the students...and when we start the first one, it becomes clear to met that nobody even knows the steps to take to conjugating a verb into the subjunctive. So we go really slowly through the first activity, going through the steps together as a group, and there are nine other activities for the group to do that we haven't gotten to yet.
I suppose the fact that I am attentive to their needs is the answer to these questions. I should really talk to the professor about it...but to be honest, we don't really talk as a group about the TA work we do. Another option could be talking to the other TAs about it to see what they have to say.
At my last visit, I decided to focus on one specific student. Since I have a small class, focusing on one student would not very difficult.
This day, I chose to focus on Carson. He is a very quite student, whim rarely speaks out unless spoken to. The first thing I noticed was his different repetitive actions. These actions vary between students with autism and I always like to see what different students do. Their motions really reflect upon them. For instance, Carson is very quiet and timid. When he is sitting at his desk, he tends to rub his hands together or shake his foot. Sometimes he alternates between the two and he switches often. He also plays with a writing utensil. When Ms. Morrow was doing her morning coverage of the news, every time she would ask a question, his movement would pause. As soon as he would recite the answer, he woiuld go back to his preferred movement. Carson often just mumbles the answer to himself. One of the things he’s working on is communicating and using his voice. Most times, he has the answer, he just needs to be conscious of how he says it. Ms. Morrow often has to remind him to open up his mouth and talk clearly. When she understands his answer, he nods at her and goes back to his movement.
SOMETHING TAKES CONTROL OF ME
colors spin around
pick me up
and take me
down a rabbit hole
During my first visit to the all-girls, private school, Cherrywood ,there was a tremendous pressure that was felt as I entered the school building. The inside of the main foyer was wide and spacious with an aged, yet elegant sofa in the center. Beside the sofa was a fireplace with an aged chimney, displaying a bright fire. A grand set of stairs was near the administrator’s office. Without even meeting my hosting teacher and her students yet, I was incredibly nervous. This environment was abnormal and discomforting for a person of my background. I was raised in a suburban, middle-income township with a wide variety of people; from those who made less than 40,000 dollars to those who made over half a million annually. Although our incomes were varied, our school was modestly built and funded. This prominent school was foreign and almost threatening for me with the way it held itself. There was an obvious sense of pride and elegance that the building and administration promoted. Aside from the environment, the children continued to emphasize the school’s ethos. In the dress code, students are required from a young age (as young as pre-kindergarten) to maintain their clothing in “neat, clean, and in good repair” (Cherrywood, Lower School Dress Code). This kind of responsibility evolves from the parent’s into the student’s responsibility when the students reach sixth grade, where they will be reprimanded for their own dress code issues.
The previous week we had read an article by Marsha Pincus and this week we actually had Marsh come in and speak to our class, which was awesome! Marsha started off our class with a small activity that I first thought nothing much about it but as my peers and I got into it, I realized just how significant it could be. Marsha had placed a chair in the middle of the circle we had formed and wanted us to imagine of a teacher we once had that has made a significant impact in our lives whether positive or negative...
My eighth grade English teacher was Mrs. Barrish... she had asked to stay after class to talk to me. I remember wondering if I was in trouble but instead Mrs. Barrish had been wondering if I had ever considered applying to a private school for high school. I remember thinking she was nuts because I wasn’t smart and I didn’t think she was actually being serious... I decided to give it a try but only because I wanted to do it for her and make her proud. It wouldn’t be until later on that I realized that she didn’t want me to do this for her but for myself...
I didn’t end up going to a private school but I remember feeling like I disappointed a lot of people and then thinking that the only person stopping me from being the best I can be was myself and so I worked hard and with extra help everything paid off because I am now at one of the most respectable institutions in the world. Marsha’s activity reminded me of where my inspiration to get to where I am today started from.
What I really liked from Marsha’s article that I see is an effective way to engage students in the material presented was by allowing them to participate in letting their voices be heard through their intellectual autobiographies as well as generate their own exam questions. I believe that by taking the approach in making it all about the students was effective in that it encouraged students to participate, boost their self-confidence in this particular area and challenged them as students in critical and analytical thinking.
For instance, I remember my junior year in high school, my teacher made a similar approach in that she asked us something about ourselves, which I liked because it showed that she was putting in the effort in trying to get to know me. In addition, I felt like to her we weren’t just students but young adults. For instance, in class we would hold discussions on the text rather than just jotting down notes and being expected to know and understand the material. And when we did not understand something, she had no problem in breaking the passage down for us and going over it while asking for our opinions on what we thought. I enjoyed being in her class because I felt like I was a part of something and that it was my class, my teacher and I all learning the material together which, encouraged me to be more active in class and feel like I actually got something out of it.
silence breaks into pieces
and stabs my ears
MY BRAIN FLIES OUT OF MY HEAD