We have now completed 11 days of school at 95th Street School in Milwaukee. I have 27 students in my K4 classroom, but that number could increase as the year progresses. For these first few weeks, my cooperating teacher and I have been going over procedures and expectations as well as beginning on basic reading, writing, and math skills. The students are really adjusting well, and I can already see improvement in academic activities. For this upcoming week, I will be in charge of the morning activities with all of our students in addition to planning and executing my own station for the math and literacy stations.
The most important thing I have noticed about teaching four year olds is the need to tell them everything you want them to do. You definitely can’t assume that they know what to do unless you explicitly tell them.
For the first few days I failed to do this, and transitions did not go smoothly. After correcting my teaching and telling students how to clean up the station and rotate, transitions were greatly improved.
I am really enjoying my placement, but I am also noticing the struggles that educators in our state are going through. Due to budget cuts, classroom teachers in the Milwaukee Public School District have to teach Music, Physical Education, Health, and Art. This results in a dramatic loss in preparation for grade level teachers. In my classroom, we get things ready during lunch and rest time. Most grades do not have a rest time, so the only time to prepare lessons is during lunch and recess. Large class sizes also challenge even the best teachers. I am having difficulty having meaningful conversations with each student on a daily basis and I have less obligations than my classroom teacher.
I can not stress enough the importance of getting good sleep during a student teaching placement. Being in a school for a full day wears a person out. To be your best every day, a student teacher needs to be well rested.