This is a personal and professional reflection written towards the end of my field experience at Citrus Elementary School in Chico, California. Coming into this experience, I was sure that I wanted to teach elementary school. I am still just as sure that early elementary school is for me. Since this placement was in a Resource Specialist Program (RSP) classroom, I have added “Resource Specialist” to the extensive list of professions I am interested in. I continue to be interested in working with students to help them master new challenges while maintaining a positive attitude as they face them.
The most challenging aspect of teaching has been incorporating students’ interests into the coursework. There are many things that we must pass on to our students as they move up, and doing so in a way that engages students has been a challenge and a puzzle. I have seen my growth in this area in how I have taught preschool in the last few years, how I am able to identify student interests, and craft activities that both engage them and challenge them to grow. Constant reflection and relationship-building has proven to be an effective means to overcome this challenge. Although I have less experience doing this with school- age children, I believe that the skills I’ve acquired are transferable and am eager to acquire new skills to do so.
Because my experience has largely been with younger children (ages 3-5), I suspect that my strengths lie in early elementary school, K-2nd grade. However, I have primarily been working with students in 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade. This has been my first exposure to this age group in an academic setting. I am more comfortable with the idea of teaching this age now having had this experience.
My goals are to learn how to craft and implement lessons, while maintaining the big picture of the unit and year-long plan. This goal remains the same, although now I’ve gained exposure to working with students in reading, math, and social studies which has helped give me a framework and some context to how that works. My goal remains the same to pursue a multiple subject credential with the hopes of teaching young children.
Although I treasure my experiences at Citrus Elementary, I would have enjoyed more class discussion related to the challenges of being a teacher and solutions to challenges, including classroom management strategies, differentiation strategies, and individual behavior plans for children.