Good First Impressions

JeremyJeremy Kautz, from Menasha, is majoring in Mathematics Education with a minor in Spanish (Non-licensable) He wants to become a teacher so he can have an influence on social progress, justice and the creation of a more just and green world. His 18 week placement is taking place at Webster Stanley Middle School in Oshkosh.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” ~Harlan Hogan

I was hopeful when I walked into Webster Stanley Middle School for the first time, arriving 15 minutes early for an interview with the Principal and my would-be cooperating teacher.   I decided that if I was going to make myself a member of this educational community it was important to get to know the office staff and make a good first impression. I met the principal for the first time as he greeted me and we went to the conference room where I took my place in the hot seat at the end of the table with my cooperating teacher on my left and the principal on my right prepared to fire away with a wide range of questions to get to know me. In order to be prepared for an interview, a perspective student teacher needs to have critically thought about their philosophy of education, how to manage a classroom (in theory) and identify the talents that you can bring the organization.

My cooperating teacher has said to her students numerous times over my first two weeks how important first impressions are especially when they are being mischievous.  Getting off on the right foot with your cooperating teacher is also incredibly important. In order to put my best foot forward, I prepared for my first day of class by contacting them via e-mail. I also prepared a binder which would be central to my organization for the semester. They mentioned to me in our conversations during the preparation period that they admired my preparedness, organization and also level of engagement. I firmly believe that being engaged with the students and in the classroom as early as possible is important to build a report with both the students, the cooperating teacher, and the school community. I am very excited to be working with my teacher and her students at Webster Stanley Middle School for an entire 18 weeks.

In my first two weeks I have been engaged, helpful, and personable. I have been able to share some technical expertise, assisting with technology and teaching the cooperating teacher how to make use of the Google’s many features. I have also been able to observe many different classroom dynamics, seeing how age, and maturity can affect a classroom is easily noticeable in the 6th 7th and 8th grade classes that I am in. A few of the classes we teach are contained to 10 students at a time, in order to ensure that students whom struggle in math have the opportunity to improve their techniques, study habits and provide additional insight to supplement the lessons of their regular math class. I also am able to observe the effect class size can have on the student’s behavior and learning outcomes.

One of the highlights of my first two weeks was being a chaperone on the last Webster Stanley Ski Club trip to Nordic Mountain. In anticipation for this day, I loaded my skis and (sisters) boots into my car so I would be ready to hit the slopes when we arrived. To my dismay, I do not wear size 10 women’s boots, and my skis would not accommodate them either! While trying to decipher the cause of my discomfort, I nearly did the splits in front of one of my co-worker and many of the student skiers.  But despite the mishap with the boots, I had a great time skiing and getting to know my students outside of the classroom.

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