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Student Teaching Comes to an End
After 3 months, I've just finished my student teaching in a rural town. I was super fortunate in getting a great host teacher, a classroom of wonderful fourth grade students, and a couple of willing principals. The sun and moon must have aligned for me because I really came out of the experience feeling positive with lots of questions - always a good thing to have more questions about how does a teacher do this or that when... Or at least it's better than saying that was an awful experience with no questions :)
I had students from out of my homeroom in reading, math, and science. They were all very accepting and polite. I really think it had to do with the host teacher having high expectations and a school that runs a positive behavior supports (PBS) program. I was, to say the least, very impressed with the professional level of the teachers. They would meet together to discuss direction, hash out standards, and ensure a continuum of behavioral strategies for students that went from class to class. The parents of the students are lucky - I'm not convinced all schools are run that well.
I also like how my distance education school, Western Governors University, set up the program and allowed me to write my papers to include Direct Instruction (DI). I had a wealth of books and research before starting their program and it really helped me congeal everything together. They always accepted my papers with a passing score when I used research that showed the effectiveness of DI - and let me tell you, there is a behemoth of research on the effectiveness of DI out there.
People (and students ;) have asked me where I'm headed now. I have a list of schools and people I would like to meet with. I'm especially interested in our local charter school. I wonder if they have room for a research classroom. Also I'd like to visit our local Waldorf school - are they using all their space? Might they have some space available for lease?
The thing is, I'd like to start writing curriculum, develop a pilot, and field test it. The whole time the curriculum would be available for free under GPL or Creative Commons license so that other teachers can use it, tweak it, modify it, add to it, etc. Honestly, for a profession that is over a 100 years old in the US, you'd think teachers wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel when making lesson plans. More on that later.
So I now look forward to 14 more papers and a teacher work sample. Happy, happy, joy, joy.