Grad School Chronicles: Week 14

Well, having three weeks off between semesters was lovely.  Back to reality I go.  Week 14 of grad school kick started the first of three phases of practicum experience.  The last time I participated in a practicum experience was...ahem...twenty plus years ago.  I have actually been dreading this phase of the program because I am a control freak an experienced teacher, and I wasn't at all sure how stepping into a classroom would be if I couldn't be the one running the show.  Guess what?  IT IS SO AWESOME!!!!

My cooperating kindergarten teacher has been very welcoming, and we seem to be working well together.  I have only been there a week, which means I am still learning the ins and outs of the school and the daily routine.  (It is always stressful for me to be "the new person".)  The twisted part of it is, I know I am not the one in charge or responsible for report cards, assessments, deadlines, etc., but the teacher in me can't let go of that feeling of responsibility.  It's an illness, I swear.

Throughout my practicum experience, I have a goal of harvesting at least one idea per week that I would like to add to my "will be doing this in my next classroom" list.  One idea I am walking away with from my cooperating teacher is this simple little name card / paper stand, which is a simple 4 1/2" to 5" long wooden block with a partial slit cut on top.  There is one block for each student.  Each block is clearly marked with a printed mailing label name tag that can be yanked off at the end of the year in order for the block to be reused the next school year.  (Placing a name on each one prevents kiddos from fighting over the blocks.)  As children come through the classroom door each morning, the first thing they do is A) grab their name tag from the pocket chart that sits near the door and B) place it in the wooden block on their table.  Their name tag resides in the block throughout the day.  This helps support them with writing their first name at the beginning of the school year, their last name mid-year, and also acts as a name plate to designate each student's spot at the table.  I also noticed students propping up laminated alphabet charts and sight word lists in them.  It is such a cool idea that will become one of my next cheap and easy DIY classroom summer projects.  Check it out...

Name card holder (that also holds a number various laminated signs for student support).

What are my thoughts for the week?

  • I am exhausted!  It has been months since I have worked in a classroom as a pre-k teacher -- every part of my body is telling me so.  
  • It has been wonderful to NOT sit all day long typing assignment after assignment for grad school.  My FitBit is showing numbers I have not seen in many moons.  :)
  • This entire week has served as a reminder as to why I need to hustle and wrap up this degree.  It is also making me question why I chose an unlicensed early childhood education degree program twenty plus years ago.  I really thought that was the way to go back then, and I learned a great deal about teaching pre-k and kindergarten.  As a matter of fact, I can't say I have learned any new information pertaining to early childhood education since entering this graduate program.  That tells me what I did learn the first time around was solid information.  However, not having a teaching license severely limited my opportunities over the years.  With the license I will gain from this program, as more and more pre-k classrooms open in public schools, I will be able to teach in those classrooms.  What a great opportunity ahead of me! 


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