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Methods

During my methods placement, at Elkins High School, I had the pleasure of working with Joni Sands, in a freshman Algebra 1 Support class. During my time in Ms. Sands’ classroom, I spent time assisting, observing, and teaching the students for a total of forty hours. During these forty hours, I had to create, teach, and assess an eight to ten lesson unit plan and teacher work sample for my unit. This was a great learning experience for me as a student in the field of education. Unfortunately, during my unit, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast and cause several delays, even in Elkins, WV. Due to the storm, Elkins was hit with several feet of snow which caused delays and school closures for over a week. The storm hit half way through my unit and the students were off of school for 6 school days. Although the students seemed to remember most of the concepts we had gone over, a week was not enough time to finish the unit. After the students took their first post-test, Ms. Sands and I decided it was best to have a review day and retest the students. The review days proved to be a success for most students. Weather, school closures, and delays provided many obstacles for me during this unit; however, it also provided a great learning experience for me. I was able to make accommodations to the weather and events that occurred. I also learned that it is important to be prepared in case something happens that I cannot control; it is impossible to predict the future, so I must be ready for any situation. Overall, my methods placement provided a great experience for me. All of my students accepted me into the classroom and respected me as if I were their teacher. I look forward to working with these students again while I’m student teaching!

Student Teaching- Elkins High School
During my first student teaching placement, I worked with Ms. Sands again at Elkins High School. I worked with the freshman Algebra 1 Support class again, as well as an Algebra 2 class and an Algebra 2 Honors class. Again, all the students welcomed me into the classroom and respected me. I enjoyed this placement just as much as I enjoyed working with Ms. Sands last semester. The biggest challenge of this placement was planning for 3 totally different ninety minute blocks. Writing 3 different lesson plans for a day, 15 for a week, and so on, proved to be a challenge while playing softball, but I prevailed and still provided lessons that my students enjoyed. I was a little nervous having to teach an honors class; however, I quickly realized that as long as I knew my content, I was capable of teaching the content. I overcame several challenges this placement and continued to gain confidence the more experience I received and the more time I spent in the classroom teaching. The biggest surprise and event during this placement was the bomb threat. One morning, during first block, an announcement came over the intercom. Eventually, everyone in the building was evacuated to the fire drill area. Although I was scared and had no idea what needed to be done, my first thought was to keep calm and keep my students safe and get them out of the building. Ms. Sands and I walked out of the high school with our students in front of us and followed all directions that were given to us. Fortunately, the threat proved to be just a threat and no one was injured or affected by this situation at the time I was there. Although I do not want to experience another bomb threat or threat of any sort, I learned that I would be able to react to a threat and handle the situation as needed.

Student Teaching- Elkins Middle School
During my second student teaching placement, I worked with Brenda Burr-Cantley at Elkins Middle School in the 6th grade. With her, I observed and assisted the first two days and then took over

teaching. During this placement, I realized how difficult it can be to switch from high school to middle school in a short period of time. Sixth graders are very needy compared to high school students, so classroom management is even more important. Classroom management was my biggest challenge during this placement because I did not have to worry about it as much at the high school. Several of my students had problems staying on task because they would rather talk than work. There was never a dull moment in the classroom or complete silence. Another thing that was different at the middle school that I did not experience at the high school was having to teach an inclusion class. At the high school, I only had 2 students with a 504 plans and 1 with an IEP. At the middle school, I had 9 students with IEPs/504 Plans, and 2 students who were undergoing observations. I had a great experience working with all of the students in my inclusion class and Mrs. Morris, the Special Education teacher. Although I was busier during this class than my other class, the students were always willing to learn and never afraid of asking questions. Overall, I learned more in this placement than I did in my first placement because of the need for more classroom management and having an inclusion class. I enjoyed all of my students and did not realize the impact I had on them until my very last day. I received so many cards from my students that day and had several students beg me to stay until the end of the school year. I never realized how big of an impact I could have on students until my last day in this placement. It was definitely a rewarding feeling. After having completed both of my student teaching placement, I feel ready to take on my own classroom and become an educator.