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Recap – 7 Week Field Experience

December 6, 2011

Well, I realized I never took the time to recap my 7 week field experience at my former high school as a physical and health education teacher.  Here’s what I got out of it:

  1. A PHE teacher’s job does not follow a 8-3 schedule.  Oftentimes I found myself being among the first ones in the building and regularly the last one out.  Actually, almost always the last one out as the gymnasium was often used for after-school GMAA games as well as team practices.  Furthermore, lunch-time activities and intramurals are evidently, for the most part, monitored and organized by the physical and health education department.  Nonetheless, I actually really enjoyed this experience and I really connected with the school, the staff, the parents, and ultimately the students that this “extra” time was very much worthwhile and after all, is part of the job description at the end of the day.
  2. I had my first real interaction with the parents of my students.  Previously, at my 3-week field experiences at the elementary & high school level, there was no real opportunity to interact with the parents.  This time, there was a parent-teacher meeting night and I made sure I attended.  This was a great experience; however, and very unfortunate is the fact that parents don’t necessarily “flock” to see the PHE teacher and is usually reserved for language teachers or mathematics teachers.  Interestingly, I did have one PHE colleague who had a very long line-up, only because the parents were frustrated with the marks their children received due to x, y, and z.
  3. Pick your battles.  Every student is quote-on-quote “teachable”; however, sometimes a class dynamic may be affected by 2-3 “troublemakers” or students that might be purposely off-task.  Classroom management plays a huge role in the dynamics of a PHE class.  PHE usually takes place in the gymnasium and thus, students are not forced to sit for 75 minutes on a desk.  Thus, this completely different dynamic allows for greater freedom; however, with greater freedom comes a need for a greater focus on presenting and organizing the task at hand.
  4. Pacing is also crucial and relates in a way with point #3.  This is true for both ends of the spectrum.  Sometimes you have PHE teachers who let an activity/drill/game go on even though students are evidently not into the task, bored, or not doing what is asked of them anymore.  Then there are others who take away an activity that’s going super well because in there lesson-plan they had only planned for 5 minutes of the activity as opposed to it taking 10.  Pacing is very important and cutting an activity short or dragging it too long can both have negative consequences.
  5. Different PHE teachers have different styles.  It’s important as a student-teacher to take what you see with a grain of salt and ultimately, to be authentic and true to who you are.  If you are confident in your teaching methods and continually work on improving as a teacher and introduce innovative teaching methods and take advantage of what today’s technology has got to offer, then you’re definitely on the right path towards becoming an excellent and well-respected PHE teacher.

Overall, there are plenty more “lessons” that I learned through observation and first-hand experience and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them, it would be my pleasure to answer them!

Although I will definitely post a few more times prior to the winter holidays, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish every happy holidays and to enjoy what’s left of 2011 before welcoming 2012!

-Nicholas

 

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