My Experience at Lopez Elementary
My last eight weeks of student teaching was at Lopez Elementary. This teaching experience was pivotal in my journey to becoming an educator. I witnessed a students-centered art classroom running like a well-oiled machine. My mentor teacher, Marti Burnham, taught me importance of management strategies like rules and routines. We used modeling and repetition to train our students how to enter the classroom, listen to directions, work diligently like artists, clean up quickly, line up quietly, and take ownership over their actions. Before beginning student teaching I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach elementary, but after working at Lopez, I fell I love with working at the elementary level. An area of growth from Lopez was pacing during lesson instruction. In the beginning of my eight weeks my pacing was a little slow. By the end of my student teacher my pace was faster and transition were better. I began setting an alarms and timing my instruction to maximize efficiency. I learned about the importance of anticipating and formulating questions prior to class. This form of questioning is far more beneficial for students than making up questions on the fly. I learned that as a teacher the importance of speaking to my audience. In the beginning of my teaching I would catch myself using words that were over the heads of elementary students and needing to correct my vocabulary. I made important connections with faculty, students, and have gained a lifelong mentor. I advocated for my school and art program by setting up and participating in the Live at Lopez fundraiser. I spend sex weeks before and after school learning a choreographed dance to perform along side of the staff. I worked collaboratively with specials, classroom teachers, and administration on schedule building, program funding, and leadership teams. I would have changed the outcome for a painting project with our fourth graders. The mixing of complementary colors to make tones proved to be a little too difficult for our students. There was still much learning happening but some of our students were not happy with the end result.