At the end of the semester, students participated in a reflection activity. We invite you to view their responses to these questions:
- What do you see as the strengths of OEC?
- How did your fieldwork experience at OEC enhance your learning in this course?
- Other things you learned?
- How has this experience been meaningful to you personally?
- What has this experience motivated you to learn more about or to be involved with in the future?
1. What do you see as the strengths of OEC?
- Strong connections across grade levels
- The care for the students as whole people is very special.
- The teachers have their own sense of community as well. They are always willing to help each other and care for each other’s students.
- Promote positive psychology through the set up of their K class
- The sense of genuine care and interest that is visible in every faculty member at the school and the commitment that they have to the students
- Involving many stakeholders
- Teachers wanting and actively pushing their students to succeed no matter the circumstances
- “Cozy Corner” –leads to Student Agency
- Students knew multiple teachers – like a small family
- Student to adult ratio – There are always multiple adults in the room
- The ways that the school involves parents
2. How did the experience of OEC enhance your learning in this course? Examples?
- Classroom management. The teacher demonstrates strong abilities on withitness and overlapping. I also saw that this can look very different depending on the context. Sometimes it is okay to embrace the craziness of kids.
- The agility to adapt to the classroom is essential. Meeting the students where they are.
- Motivation and engagement component of PERMA- made coursework interesting by using sports analogies.
- I got to see metacognition in action when the kids told me that they like subjects cause they were good at them.
- Helped me to understand the impact of classroom management and motivation techniques.
3. Other things that you learned?
- School can be fun for kids – They are actually really interested in learning about everything, which I think is due to the positive environment and the teachers.
- I learned how important it is to make connections with kids on a level that is separate from academics. They want to see that as educators we are interested in them as whole person and not just as students
- Kindergarten kids are very interested in music class and they have a passion to explore different kinds of instruments.
- I learned that the administration of a school taking a strong interest in their students and their families can really positively affect how the students see the school and their interest in school.
- How important teaching students how to problem solve on their own is especially important in younger grades
4. How was this experience meaningful to you personally?
- Made me realize that I may want to work with kids with cognitive disabilities. Also helpful experience for grad school applications.
- Super impactful re: seeing IDEA/LRE in practice with disabled students/SPED
- It brought the course material to life and showed me how important the things we are learning are!
- My plan was always to work with children and this experience has allowed me to do that. This summer I worked with 12 6-12 year olds and working with the K class at OEC has given me a different experience with children. After the summer, I thought I might change my mind about working with kids, but OEC helped me to confirm that i do want to work with kids.
What has this experience motivated you to want to learn more about or to be involved with in the future?
- I want to work more with older kids and get experience in different classroom environments to find the best ways to engage with students in every classroom community!
- Seeing the stigmas around lower income classrooms and how untrue they are, and lack of support they get as a result, makes me want to get more involved and be active in a similar school
- How to best support students’ socio-emotional needs while also supporting them grow academically
- Seeing students engage with content and experience, joy, curiousity and pride in the work
- Seeing the need for teacher support in the classroom has motivated me to work in a public/charter school that has a lack of support and resources. At OEC, the students and teachers need for support from the Philadelphia school system to have more opportunity for success.
- This experience has motivated me to want to find schools/workplaces that foster a similar sense of community. Want to learn more about how teachers create environments for their students where learning, discipline and care can all happen simultaneously.
5. What was challenging about the field experience and how did you meet that challenge?
- When I first arrived, it was hard to connect with the class because they already had such a close community, but I started stepping up and just helping out. Then I was given more chances to interact with the students and to get to know them.
- Balancing being kind and relatable with being an authority figure- The kids saw me as a peer and I sometimes needed to be clearer about establishing myself as a “teacher” while still relating to them.
- Trying to step in or intervene when I see something not right happening. (ended up ignoring it at the end)
- Having to participate in pedagogical practices which were made by the teacher that I did not agree with
- Concern about interrupting reinforcement schedules