Thursday, November 26, 2009

How Prepared Are We to Teach?

Another interesting part of the presentation today was the questionnaire we filled out concerning how prepared we felt from the information we received in our on-campus education courses and how important these factors were in practicum.

To be honest, aside from a handful of skills that could have been taught more in depth, I felt fairly prepared for my practicums – as prepared as you can be with little actual field experience. There are definitely some things that need to be learned out in the field; however, having the information given to us in class was very helpful. I might not have felt completely confident in all of these areas entering the school but I knew that I would learn what I needed to through experience.

It seems as though a lot of people in the class felt underprepared in areas such as establishing rapport with students, developing interpersonal human relationships with peers and superiors, and working with parents. Touching on these issues in class is helpful, however, I don’t know if these skills can necessarily be taught. It has a lot to do with personality and life experience. As we progress with our careers, we will become increasingly confident in these important skills.

One skill that I had not really considered was number 16 – Understanding the changing nature of pupils’ families. This is something that is becoming very prominent. Many children are living in single parent homes or have parents who are divorced. There can be some very touchy issues there and this seems important to talk about before actually experiencing it. In my PSI experience, I had twins in my Grade 2 class whose parents were divorced. The parents did not get along at all, tried to turn their children against the other parent, blamed the other parent when the children came to school unprepared, and demanded separate parent/teacher interviews because they could not be in the same room. My TA was awesome when dealing with this situation but it really scared me because I would not know how to deal with this at all. It was helpful that I got to experience this. Maybe I will feel a little more prepared if I encounter this in my career.

I learn through experience. I don’t necessarily need all of the theories and strategies. A lot are VERY helpful don't get me wrong but putting them into practice is the most important. I think that this is why the U of L is often held above other Universities - because we get a lot of great field experience. All of our work here will be worth it!


  1. Very true! Sometimes, with material such as this, it is easiest to learn in a hands-on environment. How could we possibly go through every situation that might occurr in our careers? Whether this may be about divorce, working with parents, discipline, etc, there is only so much that we can learn in our classes before the practicum. I also felt fairly prepared. I don't think that we would leave with as much experience as we do if we didn't have so much hands-on learning.

    For me, I found that issues such as technology is something that should be addressed more because this is an area that doesn't have to be in a school setting. We can practice and work with technology before we even get there. Honestly, I have only worked with a smartboard twice. It's very sad because we will have to use it so often.

    Another issue that I have is working with parents, as well as an area that you mentioned which was working with students whose families are changing. I also had an experience in my PS1 where I had a girl come up to me and tell me that her parents didn't live together. It completely caught me off guard. How can we help these students through their circumstances that occurr outside of school? And, to what point is it our business?

    I completely agree that U of L is well designed because of the practicums. That is one extra practicum that we will be able to grow from!

  2. I completely agree with you about the technology thing! Although we took a course concerning technology in PSI (and I took a summer course about using technology to solve problems) I would have liked more practice actually physically using it and learning how to use it effectively - not just using it for the sake of using technology. We are always encouraged to use technology in the classroom but I think there are times when other strategies would be just as useful. Using technology too much might decrease its effectiveness.

    I think it's difficult to have a course about technology as a required course (such as the one we took in PSI) because everyone is at different levels. We kind of had to start at the beginning and only scrape the surface of the possibilities of technology. It's sort of similar to the classes we had about researching - it is hard to tailor a course so that it will benefit everyone when we all have different skill and knowledge levels. Some people are SO good with technology and others don't have a lot of experience with it. I understand and can usually figure out technology but I do not have a lot of experience using it in the classroom.

    One of my professional growth plan goals for PSIII is to become more proficient with using the SMARTboard so that it enhances the learning of my students. I know the basics of the SMARTboard and Notebook software but I am very eager to put it into practice more and use it as a tool to enhance my teaching. I suggest taking a seminar about using the SMARTboard if you would like to learn more. I think it can be a really powerful tool to master!

  3. I remain very skeptical of smartboard -- its a nice toy, and its slightly more convenient than either overhead projectors or powerpoint, but is it some kind of magic bullet to improve your teaching? I attended an all day workshop on Smartboard last week and while I can see some potential, when it came right down to it, it can't really do anything a chalk board can't....


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