The final days were completed in my middle school placement. I learned a lot during the past few weeks, especially with having only one full complete week of school. One thing I felt I learned, which I had discovered during my last few days, was that implementing a variety of instructional methods helped support my students in ways that benefited them academically. This week, for example, I implemented a March Madness lesson that continued fractions and began to instruct students on how to complete probability problems while recognizing patterns. I thought that the simple fact the students could relate to the basketball tournament real-life situation, they were motivated to discover the probability of their teams succeeding.
One struggle I had with some students was to discover ways to keep them motivated and engaged to learn. One student tested this struggle significantly, occasionally stating he would not continue with the work, and would make remarks that would be hurtful to others, including myself. I dealt with this in best way possible by explaining that he needed to treat others the way he would want to be treated or he would not participate in any activity that was fun (which that day was the iPad and he loved using the iPad). I felt defeated this day because I didn't feel I was making a difference to help this student overcome a barrier for learning. However, I learned through communicating with his parent that he had really learned a lot since I had been placed in the classroom, and that I really did make a difference. This truly made my day, and helped me understand my purpose of being in the classroom. Even if I feel I am not making a difference, I actually am. Supporting the students in the classroom is more than just teaching, but to motivate the students in ways that is relevant to them. Sure- homework is not what students want to do, especially if he or she feels it is above their capability. Coming from a student and a teacher perspective, I dislike giving homework as well. However, to help support the students inside and out, they must do the work to practice. I helped the students understand this as I handed their homework out each day. I also felt that sometimes in the classroom, students did not want my help (in the inclusion setting). I felt that the students wanted to ignore my presence especially when I volunteered my time. However, as I walked in the hallways, I had an older student, who exhibited this behavior in the classroom, stop me and tell me that they understood the work well now. These last few days really helped show me that the bad days are not always so bad, and that is why I'm passionate about teaching to all students. I am excited to have reached these students in one way or another, and I will miss being with these students a lot. They will always have a special place in my teaching heart- and will constantly remind me that I am making a difference no matter what.