Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 4 Photojournal

I'm a little late posting this week's photojournals because I totally thought I was dying and I had malaria yesterday. No worries - it was a false alarm... I'm still alive and kickin'.


           For the second student teaching placement at Geneseo, all teacher candidates are required to
My 8G class listens in on my unique example
of poetry.
complete a technology lesson – one based around technology or that allows students to use technology throughout. For the candidates in Ghana, this term was used very loosely. Above, you can see part of my “technology lesson.” Students are huddled around my computer, straining to hear the rap song I created and was showing them as an example of a lyric poem. I did not have any speakers to enhance the sound, and even huddled around it as close as the students are, not everyone was able to hear. Luckily for them, after I had them listen, I performed the rap myself, and received a standing ovation. This picture is truly indicative of the lack of technology present in these classrooms, and how necessary it is for students growing up in the technological age (even in Ghana) to have access to working with technology as often as possible.
            What saddens me the most is that this is not just apparent to me, and all of the visiting teachers, but it is also apparent to the students. They know that technology exists in classrooms elsewhere, and they know they do not have the access to it. When I read speeches students wrote about what they felt their school needs, almost all of them said Internet access, and many more said more access to computers in general. When I pulled out my laptop this day in class, students’ eyes widened, and they were so anxious to see what I would do with it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much I could do with it other than walk around with pictures and examples and try to play the song. Even though I was disappointed in the way that lesson panned out (the technology aspect at least), the students still loved it.
            Another difficulty I ran into while teaching that could possibly be aided by technology in the classroom came while the students were writing the aforementioned speeches. The teacher asked them to bring their notebooks home and write the speeches in the notebooks instead of typing on a computer, which I completely take for granted. When the students arrived to class the next day, they were asked to copy the speeches they wrote over into another notebook so that it was all neatly written. I was amazed that that seemed like a fairly normal act to the students. The copying took them nearly forty-five minutes and took away from learning time in the classroom.
            I wish I could walk in and fix these issues, but I do not have the money or the power. Instead, I had to give in to their ways. I write all my notes on the board, and even wrote a full test on the board for students to take. It is now a lot easier for me to understand the stress of learning the ways to use technology properly as an educator in the United States; it is not just something that could be helpful for the kids, it is something that they need.

"The Right Classroom Environment"
           I believe that one of the most important, if not the most important quality I bring to the classroom is one that I have not been taught by the Geneseo School of Education and one that I have not read in any textbooks. I have not taught for very long, but I believe it is plain to see that in order to be a successful teacher, I must have an positive attitude in the classroom and provide an environment where students feel comfortable learning.
The students love my positive attitude and fresh Ghanaian
fashion sense.
            When I arrived in the classroom, I noticed that a lot of the students in the classroom seemed intimidated by the teacher and did not want to participate or answer questions in front of the class (I would probably be the same too, if there was a possibility of being caned if I answered the question wrong). Because students were not participating, sharing, and asking questions, they were not learning to their fullest potential. I knew from the start that one of my goals would have to be getting the students to feel comfortable enough with me that they would become eager to participate and ask questions.
            Much to my surprise, helping students understand that I want them getting involved, being creative, and taking risks was not as easy as I expected it to be. I gave them the “think outside the box” box, did my best to learn some of their native Twi language, discussed football (their football), wore my new Ghana style shirt, and even had to literally sing and dance at times. Finally, the students have become very comfortable with me in front of the classroom, and I am grateful and proud that I was able to do so. The only issue? Now the students have to transition back to their teacher and her ways of teaching, which are VERY different from mine. All I can hope is that from my few weeks in the classroom, and about a week and a half of direct instruction, the students will be able to take some of the things I have taught them and implement them through the rest of this year and throughout their schooling.

1 comment:

  1. Having a positive attitude goes back to what I said earlier regarding positive reinforcement. If you have a positive attitude, then you'll give your students one too, which will condition them positively to do well. I can definitely relate to your students given that I was one myself. It sounds like you're doing a spectacular job teaching. You should be proud of yourself.