Post dated from May 10!
This particular reflection comes after 2 weeks of participating at my CFE at LFA. Having been placed at a school as opposed to a non- school setting still has been an opportunity to learn and observe the differences between public and private school systems. I’m very aware that LFA doesn’t reflect all private school experiences, but its faith-based girls-only community is distinct from any other school in Vancouver. Having taught a handful of classes at this school and comparing back to my practicum experience, I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been exposed to varying types of students and school cultures. LFA is a lot more academically focused than my practicum school, which is neither here nor there! But the opportunity to react or respond to the varying attitudes towards school in the students is a learning experience I am grateful to have had. As with anything with the teaching profession, being able to react and respond to students is arguably the largest challenge of the job, more than just teaching content. Over the last four months and even in my personality, it is in my nature to be sensitive to those around me and their needs or expectations. I have always been driven or compelled to consider or be attune to others’ needs and respond to them the best that I can. As a teacher and as an individual, I think that attribute is one that I am proud to have.
As we approached the days leading up to the CFE, I wasn’t sure what to expect since we were placed at a school, but not on practicum, technically! At first the flexibility LFA provided in terms of expectations for the 3 weeks was a little too flexible, and I wasn’t sure how to react to that. But, like the profession asks of you, being flexible is necessary as a teacher. This is certainly a lesson I’ve grown to learn over the last little while. Each day at LFA has been different, whether it was a fieldtrip, interacting with a club, teaching a class, chatting with students- being able to handle these unexpected interactions has been a useful skill.
It’s also worth noting that during my time at LFA, I’ve been lucky to have been asked to speak to my passions and interests within and beyond the classroom. Being able to gush about the research work I do outside of the teaching program and show them the content I’ve produced as complementary to their curriculum has meant everything to me! It’s made me so happy to be be able to bridge topics I’m so passionate about and show how they’re relevant to the classroom and to students. Whether it was History 12 or Planning 10 .. I know that as teachers we must teach the content curriculum and that not all aspects of socials 9, for example, we may be super keen about. But when we do get the opportunity to teach about a topic we are so personally interested in, (for me, social inequality, migration, race politics, identity, to name a few), at least I know I’m that much more looking forward to the lesson!
As the week has yet to be over, I’m assisting in putting the finishing touches on the programming for LFA’s Speak Out speech arts event hosted Thursday night -complete with going to buy food and drinks for the students! I’m very looking forward to the evening and am happy to have a chance to engage with the school community outside of the classroom. This event has given me more insight about how to organize extra curricular events, the type of support needed by administration and the school community in order for an event to happen. I didn’t have a chance to do this during practicum, and each school functions differently, so it was interesting to see the administrative side to teaching at a school. Organizing, planning, budgeting, facilitating events is always a skill that’s useful to have!
Like I mentioned in my first reflection, my teaching philosophy that’s so deeply rooted in community has only been reinforced during my time here at LFA. Perhaps it’s because I am back at my alma mater that I’m able to see with fresh eyes what it’s like to be apart of a tight knit community… being able to come back and be welcomed with open arms. But even in the interactions I have with students in the halls and during lunch time, that comes out of conversations had and rapport that is built that has made the learning experience for me and them that much more pleasant. The school community is vibrant and warm, emanating from administrative staff, to teachers, and students. They make coming to LFA something I very much look forward to, even if I’m not teaching!
To that end, perhaps my account is biased because I have an existing relationship with my CFE placement. But I still think that it’s a valuable 3 week opportunity to consider what can be done with a teaching degree outside of the traditional classroom. I would highly recommend continuing this programming in the B Ed program for the future. Like I mentioned earlier, lots of soft skills can be gained during this experience, even those that you wouldn’t have considered, and it’s a nice way to interact with the community, a facet that I think is integral to any individual of any field.
I’m grateful to have been joined on this CFE experience with 3 other wonderful colleagues. I enjoyed getting to know them and their teachable subjects, about their interests and teaching passions! I even learned more math and about ELL in the collaboration efforts of the multidisciplinary unit plan we attempted to create!
As for photos and other day-to-day teaching (and other professional) musings, they can be accessed at my twitter account: @_DBAUTISTA.