Thursday, March 1, 2012

Guest Speaker Ms. L.

Our last guest speaker was Ms. L. from a local elementary school. She was an amazing woman who really gave us an idea of what it would be like to teach in our own classrooms someday. She had some great insights and opinions that she shared with us, and I wanted to reflect on her visit in this post!

Ms. L couldn't emphasize classroom management enough. She finds her classroom best managed when she is organized. Some of my classmates have observed in her classroom and found that she has a system for everything. Although it seems like a lot of work, she goes through the day pretty effortlessly. When I have my own classroom I hope to set up an organized system like Ms. L who says it helps her immensely in time management, not to mention it keeps the children on task. She has even organized her room in specific ways in order to most efficiently manage the traffic patterns of the children as they move about the room!

One of my favorite quotes of the day was when she said, "I am the teacher of children. Art is my subject, but I also teach organization, social studies, math, science, reading, and social skills". She has great insights on being a specialist in her field who also teaches other subjects through the medium of art. Her biggest task is to manage the children and make them feel safe and welcome. She is a huge advocate of the responsive classroom as well as professional learning communities. She had some great literature for us to read into about these trends in education as well.

Ms. L sees over four hundred children every three days in her classroom. As a specialist, she gets to stay with the children as they grow up from kindergarten to fifth grade. Unlike a general education teacher, she spends all of their elementary career with them. What a rewarding experience!

The advice that she gave us as future educators was to make sure to have a management plan. Be consistent. Be firm. Be flexible. Have a routine.

Over the course of her visit we talked about curriculum in her school as well as how to differentiate lesson plans for students with special needs. She had some great insights for us and was very inspirational and motivational. What a great art teacher!

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