Classroom Observation Reflective Essay

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"The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as every child should be instilled with the wish to learn."

- John Lubbock

As I reflect on my experiences observing in three different classrooms over the last three months, I cannot express how much I have learned by being in the classroom. I began the Master of Science in Education last fall and previous to the practicum experience I had taken 8 classes. I read books, listened to the experiences of my classmates and instructors, reflected on my own education, and tried to imagine how this information was going to prepare me to face a classroom of elementary school students. While I learned theories and skills that should be known by any educator, these classes could not teach me what I most desired to know: what tangible steps could I take to correctly implement all of the correct ways of teaching.
Over the course of observations, I learned that there is no one way to do anything in teaching. After a few weeks of observing, I was relieved because I thought that I could stop worrying so much about doing the “right” thing with the students. I saw a successful teacher doing, or neglecting to do things that went against what I had been taught. I incorrectly assumed that the choices the teacher made about how to organize the day, approach a lesson, or manage the classroom were mostly a matter of personal preference and that several approaches would produce equally desirable results.
Now that I have seen three different classrooms as part of my practicum observations, I still believe that there are several acceptable approaches and no universally correct teaching methods. However, my thinking has changed because I have seen that everything done ...

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...alance is between teaching content and developing skills and attitudes of my students. How many different ability levels and modalities of learning can I accommodate in a single classroom? These and many more questions linger as I conclude the practicum experience.
There is one question that I had at the beginning of the school year that I feel I have answered. I kept asking myself if I would be ready to lead a class as a student-teacher by January. I do not know if I will make few or many mistakes, if I will find the experience exhilarating or overwhelming, or if the students will cry or cheer when I leave. I do know that I am ready to try and I will welcome whatever comes in the student teaching experience. I am anxious to implement theory, try out my ideas, and move to the next level of teaching where the stakes, and the pay-offs, are so much greater.

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