I have been a long-term substitute for K5 as well as a K5 teacher. I love working with students who are just beginning school because they are very eager to learn and make amazing progress throughout the year. I also like giving them a positive start to their schooling career. Everyday is fun in a kindergarten classroom because you never know what is going to happen!
Throughout college, I have been able to observe, assist, and teach in classrooms ranging from a special needs preschool program to second grade. Each classroom exposed me to different teaching styles and ideas. My sophomore year, I wrote and compiled data into a 34-page case study on the development of an individual kindergarten student. In the same classroom, I made writer and illustrator boxes with blank booklets that the students could use during center time. For details on all my placements, please refer to my resume.
I did my elementary education student teaching in a second grade classroom for a semester. I became familiar with Scott Foresman Reading, Everyday Math, Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop, and parts of The Daily 5 literacy program. In addition to teaching the curriculum, I focused on developing a classroom community where children were responsible for their behavior, were able to work cooperatively together, and solve their own differences. Students were in groups and decided on group names and group rules together as a team. To encourage problem-solving and cooperative behaviors, I started a “Friday Lunch with Miss Brown” program where children could get their names entered into a drawing. I also had the children work together in book clubs and a cooperative spelling game. In language arts, my goal was to teach not only decoding and comprehension skills, but also a positive attitude toward reading. I focused on teaching children to find books at their “just right” reading level that interest them. I also introduced math and science journals and taught a technology and multicultural lesson. I have never learned as much at once as I did during student teaching.
The second semester of my senior year, I had the opportunity to substitute teach three days a week. I worked as a teacher and paraprofessional in classrooms K-12 including special education classrooms. My classroom management skills greatly increased over this time because I was able to try a number of techniques with different ages and groups of children each day. I also learned from experience what needs to be in lesson plans for a substitute teacher and the importance of being prepared for unexpected absenses as a teacher.
I traveled to Argentina for three weeks in the spring of 2008. I spent the mornings taking Spanish lessons and some afternoons I was able to observe and teach in a school in Buenos Aries. I taught fifth grade English to a wonderful group of students. It was fun to share my culture and discuss things like the opposite seasons in our countries. I also had the chance to substitute teach in a sixth grade classroom. I knew limited Spanish and they knew limited English, but we still managed to learn from one another.
On the weekends, I traveled to Iguazu Falls and San Jose. Iguazu Falls is located in the rainforest and contains over 200 waterfalls in the park. In addition to seeing the gorgeous falls, I was also able to see how the local people lived. The next weekend, I traveled to San Jose, which is located in the Pre-Andes mountains. I have been able to share my pictures from my trip during a social studies lesson and have helped kids to connect to ways that other people around the world live.
My freshman year of college, I traveled to Chicago as a part of my Introduction and Clinical Experience in Early Childhood class. I was able to observe diverse preschool settings including Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Afro-centric programs. I spent one day assisting in a bilingual Puerto Rican daycare where I saw the differences between childcare in a small city and childcare in a big city. Seeing the teaching styles gave me a number of ideas I would like to implement into my own classroom. I also saw the beginnings to early childhood education in America when visiting Jane Addams' Hull House.