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Growing learning through connecting classrooms

The EDU101 hybrid class I teach has one homework assignment that takes at least 45 hours, and many of the students ask if they can spend more time on it. Some do struggle with their schedules to get it all done, but the question the ask is usually a variation of, “Can you help me figure out how?” Rarely is their question, “Do I have to…?” Surprisingly (or not) this is the same homework assignment I was given over 25 years ago in my coursework. Twenty five years from now, I hope that many of my current students may be giving and/or participating in this same assignment, even though it takes a lot of communication, critical thinking, courage, and creative scheduling of work and other course commitments.

image of intertwined growth

Old and new intertwined and growing together

What is this assignment, and why is it so valuable to both learners and practitioners? Commonly called a field experience or an internship, future teachers spend 45 or more hours observing in a real classroom setting–before they enter a teacher ed program. A hybrid schedule helps free up their NMC classrooom time so they can learn from the best sources possible, teachers and students in k-12 classrooms around the area. From the stories they share in our discussions, I’m sure the teachers and young students are also learning from their intertwined experiences.

Here are some reflections on learning in the field they would like to share that can also apply to our NMC classrooms:

Value of a Field Experience
• We actually get to see the situations that we will be in when we are teachers; able to see reactions, observe what works, etc. Not just learning from a textbook.
• Coping strategies are able to be experimented with; learning how to deal with different personalities of other teachers, students, and parents.
• We have a chance to get used to the space, the physical area that we are actually working with and the restraints that go with it.
• Meeting with other authorities or teachers in their field, seeing how technology is used in the classroom.

~Gandalf Skywalker, Kala Lenawitz, Ann O. Nymus, MaKaylen Skye

What I’ve Learned from My Cooperating Teacher
• Effectiveness of different styles of teaching
• It can be really hard to control 5th grade students
• How they do a routine
• Be patient and kind to the students they can tell when you become frustrated
• How do the teachers feel about teaching
• How to keep learning interesting

~Donna Kaye Stevens, Jessica Smith, Lyndsay Platz, and Quinn Hall

What I’ve Learned From Observing My Students
• No student is the same
• Teach off of every individual need
• Resolve issues between students quickly and efficiently
• Expect the unexpected
• Don’t be lenient

~Jessica Variot, Victoria Rybinski, Alex Grierson, Coleman Ankerson

What I’ve Learned By Reflecting On Learning
• Be strict, loyal and fair with all the kids
• Routines are important
• Breaks are also important
• Each kid responds to discipline in a different way
• Bond with students

~Kayla, Johanna, Corrinne

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