Pedagogical Practices and Observations
English

A large challenge here was adjusting exercises and lessons to various skill levels as well as maturity levels. Having the opportunity to meet with classroom teacher, Mr. Breslin, prior to starting with the three sections of English helped me prepare to know what to expect from each section. This also gave me the goal to make sure that every student was engaged at some level. I also placed importance in my curriculum integrating with the curriculum that Mr. Breslin was already teaching. We had a symbiotic relationship in regard to our team teaching strategy, and would easily transfer from my exercises and lessons to Mr. Breslin relating it to their classroom lessons. When the director for Cultural Alliance AIE program observed these classes, he remarked that it was if Mr. Breslin and I had been teaching together for years. The students responded well to this cohesiveness, as it gave them structure and elicited respect as we acted as a united front.
A Personal Story:

One of the days that I was in the class happened to be a rainy Monday. The students were incredibly disengaged, showed no interest in the creative writing exercise, and were generally misbehaved. I walked away defeated that day, and in looking for ideas on how to turn things around, I turned to the one person I can always count on for support: my mother. As a retired High School English teacher, I was hoping that she could give me some professional guidance along with motherly support. The main piece that I took away from our conversation was the need to have the students take ownership of the work they were doing. Up until now, I was having them write about other people's photos, so I came up with the idea to have the students utilize the iPads in the classroom to shoot their own photos. I saw an immediate increase in productivity, engagement, and quality in their work.
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