I have had the opportunity to coach in my community and school. I was able to coach U3 soccer for my community team. This was a great opportunity to make connections to my community and learn a certain skill set to coach such a young age. This taught me to always teach with enthusiasm and to have patience as a teacher and coach is key. I also was able to coach Grade 8 girl’s volleyball in my grade 12 year of high school. This coaching experience gave me a different skill set that has added to my coaching style. I believe that a good foundation of skills, positivity and being patient are just a few things that are key for coaching any age.
Through my experiences travelling I have been able to learn more than I ever imagined. Having the opportunity to see first hand different cultures, religions and histories has broaden my learning experiences and gave me opportunities to use this information in continuing my studies. Learning about history through old European cities, learning about different cultures in South America and learning about different religions throughout Asia are all experiences I find will add to my teaching career. Being able to understand history through monuments and speaking to locals who experienced some major events will add to my teaching when I am discussing social studies or literacy. Understanding different cultures allows me to ensure my class is a safe space for all different cultural backgrounds.
One aspect that guides my lesson planning is ensuring that my classroom is a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. Over the past year I have been able to learn how to provide a safe space for everyone regardless of gender or culture. When creating a safe space it allows our students to be able to learn without feeling judgement when presenting or asking questions. This also allows children from a young age learn to be accepting of everyone’s differences. If we are able to create a space where everyone feels their opinions and feelings matter, students will learn that their voice matters and this will give our classroom many different perspectives that we may have not heard before. I find this is a key aspect to keep in mind when lesson planning because many of our students will suffer from anxiety or another mental illness so we need to be cautious of this and implement a safe environment from day one.
One aspect that is very important to me when creating lessons is allowing my students to become problem solvers. This means to allow students to think and explore ideas and come to the answer through using their previous knowledge rather than memorizing a formula or information. I find this is a key aspect to create life long learners and using this mindset will transfer into all aspects of their lives. This will allow students to fully understand and comprehend the information and be able to express their knowledge rather than just memorization.
Another aspect I keep in mind when planning lessons is inquiry. After meeting Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt who is the co-author of “Inquiry Mindset” showed me just how important and how exciting learning can become when leading with an inquiry mindset. This allows students to learn about topics they are interested in and seeing that topic from all different subjects. Leading your lesson planning with inquiry might be intimidating at first but it allows us as educators to give students an authentic and real learning experience. Inquiry can also provide more excitement in school because students will be learning what they want to learn. At the beginning of the year, when planning you must have structured inquiry then as the school year progresses reach the goal of free inquiry to allow students to understand the structure and how to use their time affectively.
Travelling is something that has allowed me to learn about different cultures, histories and religions first-hand so having the opportunity to teach internationally for my first practicum was an opportunity I was unwilling to pass up. For my three-week practicum I will be teaching in Nacka, Sweden. Sweden has one of the highest regarded education systems in the world. Being able to have an opportunity to learn, observe and teach in this system makes me extremely excited for what aspects I can bring back to Canada and implement into my own teaching philosophy.
Reflection #9: My greatest professional strength as an educator who will teach music is having many resources from my years as a student in music. I can use this strength to give to create lessons off of some of the material I have accumulated over the years. I find it will be beneficial to add songs and music into all aspects of teaching because it can help calm students and help them remember things. Much of the materials I have is used for ages 3-12 which is about the same age range I will be teaching. Music for Young Children is a great program I took and kept all the books from which I would love to use in my classroom. I remember the books having stories about Mrs. Treble Clef and Mr. Bass Clef which made music make more sense for young children.
I find another strength I can bring is being able to play the piano and now the ukulele. Just like when Maeve, Julia and Liv used the instrument to just play a welcome song made it really fun and engaging, especially for young students. Being able to play the piano quite well allows me to spend less time learning how to read music or how to play because I already know how to, so I can focus more time on making engaging lessons that incorporate music.
Finally, I think another one of my professional strengths is realizing how crucial music is in the classroom. I always loved in French class, singing songs or when music was playing during PE. I always found it made school more enjoyable when there was an aspect of music involved. I hope that when I have my own classroom I can incorporate music into as much as possible.
Reflection #10: When I think about myself as a future educator teaching music, I want to incorporate music into every subject. Adding music into different subjects allows room for cross-curricular learning by adding music into other subjects. Singing songs or playing instruments to learn about math, science or reading, makes learning engaging and fun for all students and all types of learners. Music can help some student remember concepts and ideas better because it is rhythming with a catchy tune rather than just memorizing words. I listened to a song in grade 7 about circles and their surface area, diameter and circumference that I still use today!
When learning a different a language as well, music can really help. When I teach French, using songs and rhyme help students remember better. I also want to constantly be playing music in the background of my class (except during instructions). I was in a classroom last semester, observing and the teacher had relaxing music playing in the background when the students were working. I asked her why she did this and she said it calms the students after lunch or recess and the classical music actually helps them focus better. I do realize that this will be dependant on the class each year as some students need total silence to work, but I think it’s important to teach children how to work in an environment with some noise and having it be music I think would be great.
Incorporating music into an everyday routine I find is important and I want to allow my students to sing and have fun!
Reflection #11: My greatest area of growth during the year/ course has been in the area of actually learning how to play the ukulele. I have never been strong at playing string instruments as I tried to learn the guitar years ago but never seemed to get the hang of it. But this as a project forced me not to give up and to practice until it became something I loved doing every single day. When I first started to play I found it really different than my other experiences with playing instruments as I played the saxophone and piano. This instrument had strings and I had to learn how to tune it, etc. which made me feel at first way in over my head. But as I continued to practice each day, I became better at switching between chords, keeping the pace right and strumming with only my hand not my whole arm. The most challenging part of it all is singing while playing. As I am still working on this and haven’t perfected it yet, I found it difficult to keep my strumming proper while trying to time my voice to my strumming. I am a little disappointed because I thought by the end of the semester I was going to have this mastered but unfortunately I did not. I don’t feel confident enough to say I reached my goal but I am going to continue to work at it over the summer because watching Maeve play the ukulele while we sang a song was so fun and so much better than using a CD so for my students I want to continue to work on this.
Technology in today’s world is a new staple to life and I believe that we need to implement technology in the classroom so students can learn how to use it properly and use it safely. While in the class, Technology Innovations in the Classroom, I learned the importance of technology in the classroom and how it allows our learners to extend their learning. Using different tools like Minecraft, iMovie, Google Classrooms for projects, understand math or to post homework makes learning unique and easy to access when not at school while ensuring students know how to use technology responsibly and safely. Teaching students from a young age the advantages that technology has for our learning while showing students how to have a safe practice is key for a successful learning experience.