Service Learning Reflection

After going into York High School today, I really got a sense of what it’s like to be in a classroom.  My experience working with students is fairly limited, and I really enjoyed working in these small groups.  I think that having only three students in my group made my own transition from student to teacher easier, as I wasn’t expected to get up in front of an entire class and lecture them about writing.  Working with these students, I felt that I used a lot of what we discussed in class, not only in terms of teaching them strategies, but our emphasis on learning each other’s names and listening intently about the subjects we discuss.  I think that these interactions were really useful, because the students seemed to want to talk about what they were planning on writing and sharing their work so far because I tried to be more conversational with them.  I tried to pay attention to each of them, and while I couldn’t exactly get a sense of their learning styles, being able to see what they were struggling with in in that first class period gave me a good idea of what to say about writing.

Now, working on giving feedback on the assignment we did in class, I feel that I am developing a much greater understanding of how to respond to students.  Knowing how sensitive teenagers in high school can be, I think it’s important to really take the time to write out the good and the bad in their work, so that they can see what they have done write and feel good about it instead of feeling dejected with the bad marks on their papers.  I want to be as attentive as possible to their development, and make sure that the feedback I am giving them is going to be useful to them not just for this particular paper, but the rest of the year (and further into the future).  I think that working with these students has given me a better perspective on what it means to truly work with a student, and adapt not only to get them to understand your method of thinking, but to look at how they think and use that to help them improve.

2 thoughts on “Service Learning Reflection”

  1. The opportunity to work with high school students on their writing skills has been a daunting but also rewarding task. From this one visit I have gained valuable knowledge on how to approach teaching that I most likely would not get from a standard class. The opportunity to work with students only reaffirms that this is the reason I am going to school and gives me a better sense of purpose, which in return motivates me to continue to progress as a teacher/student. It is through this practical experience that a rush of insight has made me scramble to try and reflect on it all.
    I’ve realized that their is more preparation involved than I thought, when trying to get a point across on an aspect of writing (thesis) . I also noticed that even with a pre structured approach their will always be variables and I found myself tailoring to each student on a more individual basis to try and get them interested in the writing prompt. After the first session with the students and after convening in class today, I realized both the strong and weak approaches in my teaching and this reflection has been of great value. An opportunity like this,where the experience is hands on, is completely relevant to acquire better skills for the position as Teacher. It was very challenging but fun trying to get the kids to really think about the writing prompt, as it seemed my five students were in the least bit interested. Nonetheless I feel as though the kids were interested to see college students come into their classroom and there was certainly an exchange of knowledge that in a way made the experience beneficial to all involved.

  2. I was nervous about entering a high school environment as a teacher, but I feel as though I’m beginning to find my bearings. I stumbled upon the largest group of students in the class we approached, but each one of them picked up on the tips I was providing in very short order. Where some students finished more quickly, I allowed them to begin working on a different portion of the project; where some students progressed more slowly, I provided scaffolding to help them along. I feel that this practical experience will be extremely valuable to me not only in boosting my confidence in myself as an educator, but also in planning lessons. I don’t think I would have been able to get that in the same way or to the same degree from practicing that in the classroom.

    I also felt a large sense of accomplishment as I looked over the sort of thesis statements that the students were crafting. Compared to the essays I read before entering the classroom, I think there was a marked improvement. The opportunity to get involved in the York community reminded me of a large reason why I wanted to become involved in teaching in the first place. It was a great feeling to experience these students learning because of the things I was saying! This is especially true because I was learning just as much as they were. I hope that tomorrow’s lesson will be as fruitful.

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