Observations on Coteaching

With co-teaching, I feel like I free dived into the deep end. My first co-teaching experiences were “roving” in the classroom of another instructor providing 1 on 1 instruction to students who needed help. I found this to be comfortable and never felt like I was taking on more than I could manage.

I than was tasked with co-teaching, not with an instructor, but with a fellow GTA. The two of us developed a lesson plan between us and then implemented it in the classroom. It initially seemed scary and daunting , and that it was weird I wasn’t slowly building my co-teaching like some of the others. But I reflected on my teaching history.  If I could spend an hour teaching math to fifth graders, and lets be clear here- Im not good at math- I could spend 50 minutes teaching research.

I do not want to say that I went off without a hitch, but I will say that I think it went smoothly. I was never uncomfortable. I feel like I could get up and teach an entire class period with no problem at this point.

Thoughts on Dolamage’s “Universal Design”

Reading this chapter, I found the discussion in  “Posing Problems” to be extremely interesting. I find the idea and implementation of Universal Design to be extremely useful and beneficial, so long as we are constantly critical of the actions we are taking. I think of the class that Dolamage discussion where the teacher was praised for her syllabus that no one felt the need to seek accommodation, and think to my own experiences. At my time at the University I have been constantly told “even if you do not think you will need accommodations, please get them sorted because you never know what will come up.” I feel it was a failure of the teacher in this situation to allow her students to feel like they did not need accommodations- so then when they do they feel pressured and excluded. It is these kinds of oversights that we need to remain hyper critical of.

Continued Observations on Observations

This week I continued in my path of observing, and I got the chance to watch another librarian. Off the bat I noticed that the approaches and styles of the two librarians that I have observed so far were very different. Both librarians were teaching similar material but when about it in very different ways, even the information covered varied. I was interested to see that one librarian glossed quite quickly over one subject while the other spent the majority of the class time on it. It seemed that maybe this was because of the Professor of the class, and that they wanted to focus on different material. I also noticed the librarians using the techniques that we have discussed in class such as “pair and share” which I found interesting.

A critical view of Brookfield’s “Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher”

As I began to read the Brookfield chapter, I will admit that I was extremely skeptical of the article. I felt the language to be very pompous, and failed to see how this would be of any use to me. I felt a very strong disconnect from the writing, and that the author and I felt extremely differently about teaching and that there was no chance we could land on the same page. I felt that all of what he was discussing was great for an educational scholar who has chances to reflect on all of this, but as someone was has been in an elementary school classroom, there is hardly any time for reflection on this level.

I found myself to be quite surprised when the chapter then discussed this exact belief and how it is difficult to get teachers to read educational literature. The review of the teacher he quoted still rings true to me “their research did not speak the truth to me.” I absolutely agree with the authors statement that the language used is usually formal and academic as a means to impress the members of academia rather than those who could use the research. I was happy to see this discussion being had, but I felt that he discussed it for a second before falling back on uppity vocabulary and creating that disconnect again. I still feel that a lot of what he was discussing is in the abstract and theoretical and doesn’t do a much for teachers in their day to day lives.

Observations on Observations.

This week I began my observation process within the assistantship program. I had the fortune of observing a librarian who seemed very welcoming to the idea of having GTAs in his classroom. I must not of been alone in that feeling because when I arrived there were actually four of us observing an 8 am class. The librarian was very captivating in the way that he taught. I was pleasantly surprised to see that new techniques in the classroom that I had not seen previously, including the Padlet. He used it as a method to teach keywords and this has changed my life forever.

Keywords Are Here to Stay.

Keywords are one of those building block learning tools that when you are initially learning it it is difficult, but once you move on from it, you never mention it again or give it second thought. At least for me at least. Although I still use the phrase “keyword,” I no longer take the time to actually stop and think about keywords. I no longer sit and actively analyze what I am doing in regards to keywords.

It has become a second nature task that I do. I use the things that I have been taught, but I do so without thought. I try alternative words, look at the words in the populated responses, and look at subjects- but I never think “I am using Keywords to their advantage.”The assignment this week to lesson plan a “Keyword Activity” was initially difficult because I was removed from that process. I had to think “oh yeah, thats what that is.” Once it all came flooding back to me, I was back to business.

Beginning with Anxieties

Hello there! My name is Emily and I am a new Graduate Teaching Assistant at Gorgas Information Services. I have to admit,  as I begin this “adventure” I have a lot of anxieties about delving into the unknown. While I have experience in instruction, it was one that was very “teach by numbers.” The classroom was governed by very strict guidelines that indicated not only what needed to be taught, but also the methods to reach those goals. On the other hand, this program seems to be focused on developing us as instructors in a way that allows us freedom in the classroom, which is new to me. This aspect of the program seems to be extremely beneficial as I look towards a career that is focused, in part, on instruction. Saying that I am eager to begin this process and to start getting my hands dirty is an understatement, but it is not untainted by a twinge of hesitancy at the unknown.