Smith 1Stephanie SmithMrs. Corbett9 April 2012AP Literature Senior Project Speech I have always heard people say that pursuing a teaching job is not worth itbecause theannual salary does not involve large amounts of cash. But I have learned that teaching is notabout making tons of money. Teaching is about taking a passion that you have and turning it intoa life changing experience. It is about molding young minds and shaping the lives of the childrenwho will be leading our country in the future. Teaching is about doing something that you loveand making a difference in the world. Since the eighth grade I have had an interest in a career in the field of education. That iswhy I used my senior project as an opportunity to further explore the teaching field by acting asan assistant teacher to my project facilitator. One of the first things I did for my senior project was write my research paper. For myresearch paper, I examined one of the central problems that education suffers from. That is, whatexactly should education be focused on in order to help children reach their full potential? Ifound that several theories have been proposed by philosophers and other figures in an effort tomake learning more efficient for students. But no matter the approach, all of these propositionshave been put down or criticized by others. The No Child Left Behind Act, which was the topicof my research paper, was one ofmany attempts to pinpoint the focuses of education. The Act,signed by former President George W. Bush in 2002, used tactics such as standardized testingand “adequate yearly progress”to make sure students were receiving the education they need to
Smith 6be successful in the real world. However, many believe the act only made matters in educationworse and has had a negative effect on America’s students. This is relative to my project becausebefore I could get started, I had to establish what information I should and should not teach tomy students. I had to find a focal point that would not only allow me to catch their interest, butalso help them to learn a thing or two. I realized that I could find a focal point by creating a lesson plan that would present onlythe most important information about my topic to the students. The lesson plan that I createdserves as the final product for my senior project. I designed my lesson plan so that it wouldclosely follow Georgia’s standards for a high school Honors World History class. The topic thatmy lesson plan deals with is the French Revolution, which can be found within the MountingGlobal Tensions Unit on Cherokee County’s year-long course map. My lesson plan includes fourlectures and activities that were taught to and completed by Creekview High School sophomoresin the span of one week. I used lesson essential questions in the form of multiple choice reviewquestions in all four of my lectures, but the topics addressed in each lecture ranged vastly. Forexample, in my first lecture I discussed the events leading up to, during, and after the FrenchRevolution, but in my last lecture I talked about how the Revolution resulted in the break out ofseveral revolutions around the globe. In an attempt to catch the student eye, I incorporated visualimages on each slide and used quotes that I found in their textbook or video clips from YouTube.As for my activities, I created two puzzle activities and two chronology activities. The purposeof these activities was to help the students recall important events and historical figures that I hadmentioned in my lectures. The activities add creative elements to my lesson plan and allow thestudents to learn and have fun at the same time. Overall, my lesson plan holds educational value
Smith 3in that it teaches key facts and vocabulary from the French Revolution unit in instructive andcreative ways. I chose the lesson plan as my product for two reasons: (1) I wanted to make sure that thesophomores learned something during my time as their assistant teacher and (2) I wanted to seewhat teaching was like behind the scenes. Before my senior project, I did not know anythingabout what it takes to be a teacher. Even to this day I cannot fully understand how much time andeffort teachers have to put into their job so that they are able to teach a class effectively. It is hardto get an idea because as a student you only get the teacher’s finished product; whether it is acouple of assignments or tests that you must complete, or even a lecture. I chose my lesson planbecause I wanted to put myself in a teacher’s shoes and see what it really takes to be a successfulteacher. Through creating and presenting my lesson plan, I was able to get a little taste of what itis like to be a teacher. I found that teachers have to dedicate large amounts of time to preparingfor each lesson they teach. I also realized that having a teaching career is definitely not as easy asit seems. The process of creating my product was not entirely simple either. There were severalsteps that went into creating a lesson plan that would specifically follow Georgia’s standards andteach my students. The first stage was to do some research and find important events that led upto and took place during and after the French Revolution. My main sources for this research werean Honors World History text book, my French III textbook, and lecture notes from myfacilitator. With these materials, I was able to move on to the next stage andwrite my lectures.Since I was not responsible for teaching everything to the students, I limited my lectures to tenslides. This way they would only last fifteen to twenty minutes and act as an introduction for myfacilitator’s more detailed lectures. I used PowerPoint to create my lectures and each lecture took
Smith 6a minimum of two hours to complete. The third stage of creating my lesson plan involved themaking of my puzzle and chronology activities. For my puzzle activities, I made a list of terms,definitions, and historical figures that posed as vital information in the textbook chapter. I thentook these items and put them on the back of pieces of paper that I had cut to look like puzzlepieces. Therefore, the goal of the activity was to put the puzzle together by matching the termsand historical figures with the correct definition. As for the chronology activity, I foundimportant events from the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte and wrotethem in brief sentences on slips of paper. The goal of this activity was to put the events in orderaccording to the dates I provided. It took me an entire day to create this part of my product. Inaddition to this tedious process, I had to explain and present my lesson plan to my students. I alsoincluded reflections and detailed breakdowns and copies of each part of my lesson plan. The laststep tocreating my lesson plan was to professionalize it by putting everything in a binder. With that being said, I would not have been able to create my lesson plan without thehelp of my project facilitator, Mrs. Brenda Guyer. Mrs. Guyer is a social studies teacher here atCreekview High School. She teaches Honors and College Prep Word History to Creekview’ssophomores. I chose Mrs. Guyer for her firsthand experience and the excellent job she has donethus far in the teaching field. I also chose Mrs. Guyer because I knew her beforehand. I was astudent of Mrs. Guyer’s for two years in a row and she was someone I felt comfortable workingwith. Mrs. Guyer helped me by giving me an insight on what it is like to be a teacher. Morespecifically, she showed me an example of a lesson plan that she had put together herself in pastyears. This helped me immensely because it told me exactly what my lesson plan needed to becomprised of. My facilitator also gave me advice when it came to teaching her students. Shegave me tips on how to interact with her students and keep them interested in the topics I
Smith 5addressed. She even allowed me to observe her class while she was teaching so that I could learnhow she runs her classroom.Although her assistance washelpful, I was not able to avoid theobstacles that arise when it comes to being a teacher. The biggest challenge that I faced during my senior project came about when I had toteach my lectures to Mrs. Guyer’s sophomores. It was very hard for me to keep the studentsengaged in my lessons and listen to what I had to say. At times, I would see students zoning outor laying their head down on the desks. I found out later on what the problem was: there was toomuch information on my slides.But I was able to overcome this issue by using hand motions andsummarizing the information instead of reading it word for word off the slides. I also asked thestudents questions throughout the entire presentation instead of just at the end. The video aboutthe guillotine that I had embedded in my last lecture also helped me to capture the students’attention. All of these techniques allowed me connect better with the students, giving me theresults that I had been looking for since the beginning. I learned several things from the process as a whole. I learned that to be a teacher, youhave to commit to putting lots of time and effort into the job. There is a lot more work andpreparation that goes into being a teacher than I could have ever imagined. My senior projectalso revealed to me the characteristics that a teacher must have if she wishes to be successful.Not only do you have to have people skills, but you have to be a person who is confident andthick skinned. You have to be able to control your emotions so that they do not get in the way ofyou giving your students the best education possible. As for me becoming a teacher in the future,I think it is still a possibility but teaching is not my first career choice anymore. I have learnedthat while it can be enjoyable to watch kids grow through education, it takes a lot of courage toget up in front of students and teach to them every single day. It was not until now that I realized
Smith 6how hard a teacher works and is not appreciated by every student in the room. My senior projecthelped me realize thatteaching might not be my passion after all. In conclusion, my senior project taught me how difficult it can be to be a teacher. Afterexploring the teaching field by acting as an assistant teacher, I learned thata teacher has to makesure to keep the topics interesting and change their techniques every so often so that theirstudents will be engaged and learn the required material. When that has been done, I believe thatteaching can be a very rewarding experience!