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Grace Healey

28 April 2015
Apprentice Seminar Reflection Paper
This past semester I observed three different English teachers at Freeport High
School. All of the classes I observed were senior Regent English classes and consisted of
similar curriculums. Each class had the desks arranged in rows that were facing each
other and split down the middle so the teacher could walk through. The teachers desks
were either in the front of the room or on the far side of the room so she was able to see
the entire class from her seat. Two of the three teachers always had Do Nows on the
board and would prompt the students to complete the task, but I saw that very few
students actually did. Two of the three teachers relied heavily on video clips, movies, and
PowerPoints. During my time observing I watched two movies, two documentaries, five
YouTube clips, and one short film. Additionally, all the teachers utilized the SmartBoard
to show websites and notes to the students. The teachers chose to read different books so
one class had a unit on insanity and the movie they watched was One Flew Over the
Cuckoos Nest. They also watched Guilty Except for Insanity, which is a documentary
about patients in psych wards who would have been in jail had they not claimed insanity
as the reason for why they committed their crimes. Another teacher focused heavily on
Ernest Hemingway so the class read three of his books and watched a documentary about
The Sun Also Rises. These videos helped engage the students who otherwise seemed very
uninterested, which may have been because it was second semester senior year.

Majority of the semester was devoted to writing a research paper, which meant
majority of my observations took place in the library so that the students could use the
computers. The teachers used the SmartBoard in the library to show the students how to
format their paper using MLA, how to block quote, cite their references and format a
heading. Only one of the classes was an inclusion class where an aide was present. She
kept track of the students who would come in late, but otherwise did not do much. Again,
most of the semester was spent in the library and computer lab so there were only a few
chances for her to engage in a lesson. However, the last time I observed she wrote notes
on the chalkboard while the teacher lectured and the students read from their books. The
few classes I saw where work other than their paper was being done was mostly
cooperative learning that involved class discussions and group work. There were classes
where I witnessed students working independently on questions the teacher posed that
were based on previous lessons. The students also rarely had homework given I was
observing on Fridays for the most part, but I rarely saw them hand in any work.
This observation semester was an eye opener for me. I had been under impression
that the level of academics and the high standards students were held to in my high
school, South Side High School in Rockville Centre, were evident in most high schools.
However, Freeport High School was nothing like my high school experience and
observing there showed me that most kids are not exposed to the education that I was
fortunate enough to receive. I also noticed teachers lowering their standards for behavior
within the classroom and not acknowledging the students use of their cell phones, their
language, lateness or lack of interest in the lesson. I know that as a teacher and a person, I
would be annoyed with people clearly disrespecting me in my workplace. As weve

learned in our EDU329 class, respect needs to be demanded the first day of school
because teachers can always lighten up, but they cannot demand respect after it has
already been lost.