Learning From Experience

Paul Franzowiak, Menomonee Falls, Wi., is a Secondary Education Major with an emphasis in Mathematics. After tutoring friends in math, he was inspired to become a teacher. He will have a full 18 week placement at Maplewood Middle School in Menasha.  

I’m about a month into my placement at Maplewood and am starting to get settled in. I’ve taken over three of the five hours that I have for my daily schedule. I’m starting to understand the importance of being prepared and organized everyday that I come to class. There was one day where I began teaching a lesson and didn’t have a good example for the students. It caused some confusion amongst the students and a feeling of embarrassment for me. Luckily, my co-operating teacher was able to help me out and got me through the example. This was definitely not one of the best moments I’ve had thus far and learned from this experience.

I have also found myself bringing work home with me on a nightly basis. Whether it is grading homework, planning a lesson, making a test, or entering grades in to the computer, I always have schoolwork with me.

My co-operating teacher was gone for a couple of days I did have the opportunity to teach full-time for a couple days straight this past week. This was a good learning experience for me. I was able to look back on some of the things that I had planned and how they went. I figured out that there are some things I definitely need to work on. Having my co-operating teacher out of the room actually made things a little easier for me. It gave me a chance to relax since I knew that my “supervisor” wasn’t in the room watching what I was doing. It’s been a great couple of weeks so far and couldn’t be happier where I am right now!

Being a student for the past several years and preparing to teach children is the main focal point of college. We sometimes forget that being in a school also allows us to work with veterans of the teaching profession. Being able to work with the staff at Maplewood has been an awesome experience. All of the staff members have been nothing but outstanding in the support that they have been giving me. There are a few staff members in particular that I have developed a very good relationship with. I often look to them for advice, thoughts/ideas, and taken away different perspectives on things. They have all taught me many things that no classroom experience or class at Oshkosh could ever have taught me. I’ve enjoyed going to a variety of “faculty only” meetings and talking with a variety of people in the school. Make sure that when student teaching that you participate in all “get-togethers” that the faculty has. It’s a good way to get to know people in the building you normally don’t get a chance to see very often.

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