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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Day in the Life

The school that I volunteered at this semester was called St. Andrew's College, and it was a well funded school in a fairly affluent area.  I went to the school on Wednesdays until lunch, and the day to day schedule was always the same.
The school started around 8:45 every day, but my teacher was always there well before that time finishing setting up for her lessons.  Often one or many of her students would be in her classroom in the morning instead of waiting outside for line up.  On my last day in class, my teacher was helping one of her students sew a stocking that was to be a gift for her family.  My CT was always available and welcoming to her students at any time of the school day, even before and after class.
On Wednesday, the day always starts with the students writing down their homework in their assignment books that is shown on the smartboard.  While they are writing down their assignments, Ms. Powderly walks around the classroom and signs off verifying that they did their homework from the night before.  Once the students have written down their assignments, they work on their do now assignment.  While they're working on their do now, if any of them have questions, they raise their hands and I help them with any questions they may have.
After their morning assignment, the class moves on to a math lesson.  Over the semester they largely focused on understanding the basic concepts of fractions.  Fractions are a difficult concept to understand, so my CT had blocks to make the abstract concept more tangible.  The kids often manipulated the blocks to get a better understanding of the fractions, so a lot of the math lessons included using these blocks to solve the problems.  My CT also takes advantage of her smartboard during lessons.  She will write word problems on the smartboard, and she calls up a volunteer to solve the problem in front of the class.
After math, the students are split up and go to their specific, individualized classes.  Because this is an international class, during this next period, the children are split up into their respective language classes.  The Irish students stay with my CT to learn Gaelic, the American students go to their American studies class, and the Spanish and Polish students go to their classes.  I typically went to the American studies class.  During this class an American teacher taught the students about different American holidays.
During the last period before lunch they had English.  During this class, my CT would read a passage of a short story out loud. After, the students would ask questions about anything they were confused about, or any terms that were unfamiliar.  Next, the students would silently read the passage to themselves, and then would answer the multiple choice questions.
Some challenges that my CT faced while teaching was how dynamic the school was.  Because the school is well financed, there are many different types of classes that are offered to the students.  All of the students play a different instrument, and many of them take different language classes throughout the day.  Because of this, the students are constantly leaving and coming back to the classroom.  It is difficult for my CT to keep track of where everyone is because of the dynamic nature of the school.

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