Fieldwork 1 Observation

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Fieldwork 1 Observation

  1. 1. <ul><li>Arrived early to meet Ms. W, director of Boys & Girls Club of NewburghMs. W provides me with a program binder. She asks me what grades I hope to teach, I let her know grades 7-12She informs me that their secondary programs are struggling because students never come in; rooms cleared to accommodate them are left empty.She informs me that they want me to be an active participant in the program and to take a lot away.Would like me to observe the first two visits, and then to become increasingly involved in the program, including creating and implementing lesson plans.She informs me that I will be working with Mr. M today; he’s with the 2nd grade students. Just then Mr. M walks in, chewing on a toothpick, and introduces himself to me.Ms. W takes me on a tour of the building. There are four levels. The upper level houses the gym and kitchen, the middle level and lower level houses the classrooms, and basement level houses the cafeteria and lockers The classrooms are small and are painted to match the stained glass in the room, and decorated to match the alma mater of a member of the faculty. She then leaves me to find Mr. M in the 2nd grade room. The room is about 100 square feet with two tables, one that seats four and one that seats 6. In the corner of the room is a large cabinet that holds some supplies.Mr. M tells me the class will begin reading Tomas and the Library Lady. He tapes two large pieces of paper on the wall. One he titles “Challenge Words” and writes down words that may be challenging and their page numbers. The second he titles “Salutations” and writes down different greetings and their language of origin.He informs me that today the children will have activity time, followed by ELA time, and then homework time. Activity time activities change each day, today is Club Tech with Mr. L, who, he says, the kids adore.At 3:20 I follow him to the cafeteria where children are beginning to gather and eat their snack.He goes up to another teacher, Ms. G, and they discuss who will be in his class now that he no longer works with the 1st gradersMr. M indicates his frustration at not being able to work with the 1st graders and states that he was getting very attached to them.The room soon fills with children and the teachers have filtered it. The teachers raise their hands above their heads and hold up the pointer and middle fingers, some children mirror this action.Mr. M gathers the four children who are there so far and we walk up to the gym where Mr. L is waiting. There are two long tables set up with five seats on either side, and one laptop.Mr. L introduces himself to me and has the children greet me and introduce themselves. He hands them all paper and crayons and asks them to draw something. One student shares with me that they have lost their class mascot, an owl they named Mr. Chopstick.When Mr. L cannot locate another box of crayons I suggest that they may be with Mr. Chopstick.He then changes the day’s activity to have the kids draw ‘Missing’ flyers to find Mr. Chopstick.More kids join the group.Mr. M also joins.When the kids are done he lets them run around the room before gathering them up for a game of Simon Says.At 4:10 Mr. M and I gather the eight students in his class and walk them to the 2nd grade classroom.One student, who was at the front of the line, has been asked to walk at the back of the line because of his behaviorMr. M asks the class to lower their voices because they have to walk through another classroom to get to their classroom.Once in the classroom, Mr. M separates student A (who was reprimanded earlier) and student B to two different tables.Mr. M asks the class if they know any salutations besides the ones that are listed on the wall.Student A is lying on two chairs and distracting the other students at the table.Mr. M goes up to a poster with all the students names on green papers, he flips student A’s name around so it is now in red.Student A says “I’m in red, big surprise”Mr. M asks the class to tell him some of the salutations on the wall.Student A raises his hand enthusiastically, Mr. M call on other students.Mr. M tell student A that he is not cooperating and will not be called on.Student A expresses frustration.Mr. M requests that I walk student A up to the Ms. W’s office.When I return the class is working on the challenge words for the story they are about to read.Mr. M hands out photocopies of the book and then begins to read.He allows students to read as well, if a student is unclear or having a difficult time he repeats the passage himself when they are done.The kids start to lose interest; two boys have moved to the floor space between the two tables and are play-wrestling.Mr. M says they will pick up tomorrow, makes both boys return to their seats.Student A returns and is placed at a different table.Mr. M asks all students to take out their homework and requests that I join to help students with homework.Right away student B requests my help for his math homework. I spend the remainder of the time working with student B on his math and writing homework, as well as looking over the completed homework of the other students at the table while Mr. M works with the students at the other table.At 5:45 we stop and students begin to pack up their things. Mr. M leads the line back to the cafeteria and I follow the line. I assist students in putting on their winter wear and backpacks before they get into their respective lines for the bus home, or for their parents.Once I’ve waived to all the students in the class I was with I return the classroom to tidy up and take my things, Mr. M is not there.I go up to Ms. W’s classroom and discuss how much I enjoyed my first day, she signs my log and I leave.After missing fieldwork because of a snow day and a half-day, I finally get to start fieldwork!I finally meet Ms. W, I’ve heard stories about her being strict, but she seems very nice and genuine to me. I’m glad she mentioned the issue with retaining older students, as I was thinking about that myself. It’s hard enough to get kids to stay in school, let alone after school.I hope that I will eventually begin to work with older kids, though I am a bit nervous about the lesson plans.The building looks pretty rundown on the outside, but inside the colors are warm and inviting, except for the 2nd grade classroom, which is situated in the back corner of the lower level adjacent to a hallway that is seemingly being used for storage.Mr. M is quite young, I may even be older than him, and he is at ease with all the students but there is a definite sense of him being jaded by difficult students and inconsistent attendance.The classroom is so incredibly small, but Mr. M has obviously worked hard to make it as inviting as possible, his penmanship on the wall is exemplary.I think he’s approaching the text from a very interesting angle. The various salutations are interesting as well as educational, and the challenge words are also useful.All the kids are so adorable, especially the younger ones!It is obvious to me that Mr. M is very close with the students, I’m not sure exactly what happens but he is evidently not happy about being separated from some of his students who were moved to a different class so that there are smaller groups of students.The raised hands and fingers to quiet the room works surprisingly well, and save for a few students, the room is quiet.Mr. L also is very close to the students, but he seems slightly aloof once work starts. He has them draw missing posters, but, I believe, fails to walk around and provide feedback for the students. Many run up to him to show them their work and he compliments them without looking at the drawing. One student asked me how to spell the word “reward.” I praised her for thinking of putting in a reward, since Mr. L had not mentioned that. When she ran to show him, he patted her head and said it looked great, without noticing her efforts.To an extent I thought it was strange he let them flail around, but at the same time I remember that these kids have been cooped up in class all day and may need a little bit of energy release.Student A is obviously a repeat offender with Mr. M, as there is already rigidity to their interactions.Once we are in the classroom, student A is visibly upset that he cannot sit at his usual table, but Mr. M expresses the need for him and student B to sit at separate tables. Student A’s frustration at the fact that he sat at the other table all last week when student B was not there are left ignored.Right away I see that despite his best efforts, Mr. M has little control over the students, and reprimands some problems while he ignores others. I was watching student A lie across the seat when he jumped up and mumbled “ooh I have one” and raised his hand. I had the sense that he had thought of a salutation that had not been listed on the wall, but the class had already moved on to listing the ones that were on the wall. Still I was surprised that Mr. M would not let him share, particularly because he was now sitting up straight and still.I was surprised to be asked to walk student A up to Ms. W, but I took it as an opportunity to speak to him about why he raised his hand. As soon as we were in the quiet of the staircase I asked him if he had thought of a different way to say hello. He mumbled that he knew how to say hello in Jamaican. I attempted to speak to him more, but he walked straight into Ms. W’s office as though it was a regular procedure.I recognize that the students are losing interest but Mr. M does little to reel them back in. When student A returns he is asked to sit at a different table (the table he originally wanted to sit at) because student B is now sitting at the other table. Student A’s feelings or opinions seem secondary to student B’s.As soon as Mr. M asked me to help, student B requested my help, and I had such a great time helping him out.Working with the students feels like taking a year of chemistry and never being able to test your skills in a single experiment, and all of a sudden here I am, goggles, lab coat and all, and I feel surprisingly comfortable. I didn’t realize how much information I had retained and am able to put to use.I’m sad to see the kids leave, and more sad when I realize I won’t be able to work with them next week, as Ms. W states I will be observing an older class.When I am ready to leave I go to Ms. W’s class to retrieve my coat and see that it is filled with students, parents, and teachers. There is a real sense of community and camaraderie here that is intoxicating.

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