Friday, December 12, 2008

Last Day at Cedar Falls High School

Usually when someone says the last day of anything we get this sad, heartfelt feeling inside of us somewhere, because we can probably sympathize with them in some way, shape, or form.

Well my last day of field experience before student teaching was yesterday. For the last semester I have been spending Thursday mornings and early afternoons at Cedar Falls High School with an amazing cooperating teacher. I have been working specifically with her reading enhancement students and a special power of the media class that is full of seniors.

Yesterday I taught her reading enhancement periods. Two classes of ninth graders that are struggling with their reading comprehension and proficiency skills. I have taught that class period before, much less I have taught many times before this field experience. For some reason though, teaching yesterday was special. It was a good lesson, a read aloud-think aloud activity where I read the students a section of something (could be a fiction story or a non-fiction article) and then they are given questions to consider and share their answers with the class as the reading progresses. It was, overall, a good lesson, but I faced what was probably a lackluster audience. They were not the most excited students, maybe the weather or something. What was important to me was not so much that I was able to get through the activity, but that I was able to combine all my previous teaching classes and experience into that one lesson. I was able to plan the materials, combine technology, make the lesson engaging, discipline, reading strategies, handle a class discussion (including off topic questions and comments), and was able to still allow students to grow without lecturing to them. It was a great culmination to everything I have learned over the last few years.

Wednesday I had my last 65 minute class period at Wartburg. It was a surreal feeling going to that class and realizing that in a few short weeks I will be out in Denver doing what I have prepared myself for over the last four years. At the same time, it will be an adjustment to my schedule and my life to be in the school all day. What an experience and I can't wait.

Yesterday, in addition to teaching, really confirmed for the hundredth time, or so it seems, that teaching and in a classroom with students is where I am passionate. Where I am able to "light up" said a fellow teacher who was watching me teach last week. I am comfortable, the students are amazing, and I am able to do something I love doing - teach.

Thank you to the teachers at Cedar Falls, especially Mrs. Paulsen, for supporting me on my journey to become a true student teacher next semester.

As I reflected upon leaving the school yesterday for the 20 minute drive back to Wartburg, I am ready. I have taught, done the whole get ready for teaching thing, been a teacher for short periods of time. Now I really feel that I am prepared, confident, and ready to step into a classroom full time on January 5th. That is a good feeling.

Last days are hard, but this one ended bittersweet.