Mackenzie Connor's Reflection

When I first started this class, I was beyond nervous. I am an elementary education major and just recently picked up a second major in mathematics for elementary education, making this class a requirement for me. I was just really starting to work with elementary students and now I was being put in a class with high school freshman.

There was definitely a huge gap in age and learning topics there. Because of this, I chose to be in the lower level algebra class in the high school when it came to teaching because I believed it matched more my style of teaching. After even just the first day of teaching at the high school, I realized that I was more comfortable than I thought. I actually ended up really liking it. But with this being said, it also helped me realize that at the end of the day, I still want to be teaching in an elementary school.

When going to the high school once a week, I was always learning something new about how to teach and different tips, skills, and strategies that could make a difference. After learning it in this setting, I was able to bring everything into the first grade classroom that I was also working in through the semester. Some tips I will take with me for the rest of my career is to try and be on their level when talking to them (not hovering over them), think of different ways to rephrase questions or statements if they get stuck, keep a positive mindset with them and make sure they know that you know they are smart and can solve any problem.

One big thing our class worked on was making connections with students and I found this difficult - but towards the end of the semester, I feel like I definitely had a connection with one student and it really did just make a bigger impact on his learning and my teaching. I will now try for the rest of my teaching career, no matter what grade level I end up in, to make connections with hopefully my whole class.

Another big thing learnt from teaching at the high school that has nothing to do with math and can be used in any grade level or subject is that mistakes are okay! If anything, this is how people’s brains learn more. And because of this, one of my main goals as a teacher is to make sure all my students know that mistakes are more than okay to make when we are learning. Overall, this class is one of the best classes I have taken in college because it has taught me how I can be a better teacher if I am in either a high school or elementary school.