Describe how your classroom is managed (Standard C) at your placement. Consider classroom size, rules, expectations, discipline, etc.
Colegio Menor is not an inclusion school, which is very common in Ecuador. There are no Special Education students in the classroom and no one is on IEPs. This is different than in the United States but is still a valuable education to the students. My classroom has 20 kids. There is only one boy who is new to the school this year and he began in January when I arrived, too. It is great to see him making new friends and establishing a new routine with all new people.
When sitting on the rug, students are expected to be silent and reading individually. While at their desks, they are also supposed to be working individually. One of my least favorite rules here at Colegio Menor is that the students are not allowed to speak in Spanish if it is outside of their Spanish class time. My teacher actually writes “ENGLISH ONLY” on the board and erases a letter anytime she hears someone speaking Spanish. If all letters are gone the students receive extra homework. While I understand that the school is trying to better the students English, I feel that it is taking away from their home language. It is important to stay in touch with who you are and that is hard to do when you cannot even speak your own language. When I am at class in the University here in Quito all I want to do is speak in English. Sometimes I feel that it would be easier if a teacher could explain a topic to me in my language because I would learn it better. Although, I know there is no other way to learn a language other than speaking it all the time, which the teachers here are trying to say. Perhaps they could do it in a way that is not so harsh?
I do not view my teacher as strict but the students know that she means business when she walks into the room. She has an affectionate side to her that all can see but she likes to keep them on task. This is the kind of teacher I hope to be because I feel that this type of attitude accomplishes the most inside a classroom.
One other thing I love about my teacher is she is VERY organized. I have never met any teacher that is so on top of everything that they have to do. She is great about staying up to date with her website, writing her lesson plans for the upcoming weeks, and she is great at helping me. She allows me to work on my classroom management and is very hesitant to step in when I am in charge of the whole class. This week I was teaching a Math lesson when a group of boys would not stop talking. Instead of taking over and asking them to stop, she waited and allowed me to try to get them to stop. I used the wait time method and it was successful! During most of my past pre-practicums the teacher would always step in and never give me the chance to try out a new method I was taught at BC in a methods course.
One management idea that I saw on a school level was getting kids to think about being more environmentally friendly. In Ecuador the people are not allowed to drink from the tap so many students come in with disposable water bottles every day. My teacher took the time to teach a lesson to the entire “escuela primaria” (primary school grades 1-6) about recycling and how it will better the earth. One thing I wish I saw with this lesson was a bigger initiative to make this a rule on campus. The students would have done great with this if we told them that if they studied they would get extra recess time!
As a whole, the classroom management I have experienced in Ecuador is about the same that I have seen in the United States. I feel that my students here take me more seriously since I am a foreigner and they really want to hear what I have to say. I also think the fact that I am with them 2 days a week instead of 1 helps because they are able to see me as a more authoritative figure in the classroom.