I began my second placement at Coyote Ridge Elementary on Monday, now having one full week under my belt. Teaching elementary is an entirely different ball game than high school. The schedule is much faster paced and you have to wake up earlier--waking up at 6 am always takes a little adjustment period. :) I have absolutely loved the cheerful environment of working with kids. Each day is a new surprise of excitement and adventure for them. Every activity, particularly because I have the honor of being an art teacher, is overwhelmingly fun for the kids. There is a lot of preparation that goes into making sure all of the materials are ready for the students--but the younger content you are creating makes the prep even more fun. I know that the time I am putting in to make the projects fun and meaningful to the kids is worth while. They show so much love and appreciation for their teachers. I've already begun to build relationships with the kids within this first week, finding absolute joy in greeting them at the door each day. I already feel like I've found my niche in teaching elementary.
My mentor introduced me to the entire staff at Coyote Ridge in the first two days of my placement. I am already invited each Friday to a new teacher support group, have my own mailbox, and I frequently get visitors in the art room coming to introduce themselves to me in person. The environment at Coyote Ridge is extremely welcoming and they have truly made me feel like a part of the staff, even though my role here is only temporary.
Coyote Ridge is also an IB World School. I've gotten to learn a great deal about what exactly this means and how it looks when it comes to lesson planning and delivery. When referencing the IB handbook, this style of educational experience is described as such:
"The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right."
I really enjoy how multiculturalism and world understandings are a huge part of the school. It seems the staff is truly preparing the children to be kind adults with a very intense understanding and respect for the world around them. I'm eager to continue working alongside my mentor, as she has provided an extreme amount of support, advice, and guidance for my future endeavors.
For my art piece this week, I wanted to share the first project I created with my first graders. We had so much fun creating prints together--and it was a new process for me. The kids' willingness to jump into projects, make mistakes, and be creative has truly inspired me to jump in head first as well. I've already begun co-teaching lessons and designing my own lesson for week 4. More than anything in this experience, the kids have already had a really positive influence on my mental health. Their excitement for each day is contagious and I end each day of teaching wishing for more time and awaiting the next day eagerly. Teaching young children is a magical experience--so I chose to depict a unicorn for my print.
This blog thread is a synopsis of my experience student teaching during the final semester of my senior year, fulfilling the last service credit hours of my art education degree. I fulfilled the first eight weeks of my placement at Fossil Ridge High School, with Chelsea Ermer as my mentor. The final eight weeks of my placement were fulfilled at Coyote Ridge Elementary school, with Staci Sandelin as my mentor. I have completed a series of written reflections accompanied by physical art works which relate to the written portion of each post.