|Ms. Davis's Portfolio||
The first thing anyone notices when arriving in a new location is the environment. As humans we instinctually evaluate and respond to our environments. A new school is no exception. For my classroom observation I have been assigned a small school with a very strong sense of community. This cohesiveness was obvious as soon as I entered the building. The office staff was friendly and, once assured I was expected, very helpful in explaining the daily processes I would need to go through. This sense of community was very clear as throughout the short time I waited in the office as each of the staff helped each other and any incoming staff with any issues that popped up such as scheduling or filing forms.
The two classes I observed also had wonderful rapport. Both teachers freely joked and exchanged comments with the students. There was clear respect between the students and the teacher, but this did not stop any gentle teasing. For instance in one class a student had apparently fainted the day before during gym. Upon learning of this the teacher questioned the girl and asked if she was feeling well. After having been assured by the girl that she was fine and reminded that she simply fainted at times and found the comments her classmates made funny, the teacher ceased asking the others to stop teasing. Later in the lesson, after the students including the girl attempted to draw him into conversation, he joined the joking as well. The pleasant exchange and lighthearted air continued throughout the lesson and activities. Considering the heavy content of the lesson, which involved the founding and rise of Christianity, it is remarkable that the class stayed so on topic and seemed to enjoy the class so much. This easy exchange of ideas and comments continued in the math class I observed afterward.
Just as with the first class the math room was rather small and the desks were very close together. This allows for comments to be shared without being shouted across the room. It may also be the reason the students are so comfortable around each other, even to the point that the math students did not get upset if another volunteered to help with a review question that another was already working on aloud. I was fortunate that the second teacher had some free time while her students worked in groups. She was able to explain to me why she so freely traded remarks with her students. Apparently she had several of them in her classes the year before and had thus developed a rapport with them. She made it clear that all teachers must learn how to interact with each student on a one-on-one basis. No matter how close a teacher and class may appear there must still be recognition that the teacher is in charge and has many responsibilities to the students. By creating a strong, comfortable environment the teachers and administrators are able to get to know the students better. This allows the students to work together better and learn together instead of competing. These conclusions are rather large to make based upon one visit to the school, but I am hopeful they will be reinforced and the next few weeks will be enjoyable for both me and the students.