Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Week 2 Journal Entry: Training @ Forest Lake

September 22, 2009

My Goals for Bryann this week:
For Bryann to lead a circle dance with scarves
Lead the hello song/matching pitches w/ each child

Focus: Giving positive reinforcement/verbal encouragement to the children during activities done in class.

During this training session, we worked on many aspects of teaching. We sang the hello and goodbye song together, worked on matching pitches as before, we talked about the importance of time out, and talking children to the bathroom.

One issue that Bryann was hesitant and nervous about was discipline. "What if they don't listen to me, or do what I tell them to do?" And this is a very valid issue, I believe, for any teacher who is starting out.

I addressed these issues in the following ways, beginning with simply finding ways to attain their attention. Once we get the child's attention, then we can re-direct. We talked about how those two aspects follow hand in hand and how to react in certain situations.

I. Discipline
   A. Step 1: Getting their Attention
        1.  Physically getting down on the child's level, engaging in eye contact, hand on shoulder
        2.  Turning off the lights and counting to 3
        3. "Magic Fingers up High, Magic Fingers down low"
        4. "Put your hands in your lap"
   B. Step 2: Redirecting their behavior
        1. "Instead of running, let's use our walking (running, skipping, jumping, dancing) feet. Can    
              you show me your dancing feet?"
        2. "Instead of screaming, let's use our inside voices. Can you whisper like me?"
        3. "Instead of hitting, can we give each other a hug?"

We acted out most of these ideas, roll playing me as the teacher, then her as the student. And even incorporated some imaginary students as well into the mixture.

We worked on different ways to pass out the rhythm sticks, followed by introducing the song or activity. We also switched back and forth, me being the student, her being the teacher--and ended up being quite hilarious. But, it's a very good learning technique and I'm sticking to it!

I asked Bryann if she felt comfortable in assisting/ supervising the children in the bathroom one at a time. She greatly hesitated and wasn't too wild about the idea. She was also a little apprehensive about the children getting out of control in the class. Both of these are very good issues to be able to have talked about with her and all the more to overcome them.

I reminded her of the "life's a dance" country song, and how it's exactly the same way with teaching. Sometimes you lead the children, and sometimes you follow their lead.

"Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance. You learn as you go"

I encouraged her to have courage, and step out... and that's exactly what happens in Week 2 of our
St. Michael's application class.... to be continued...

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