|Ms. Mathews-Language Arts-CAHS||
There are many different emotions that I experienced with my teaching demonstration. The process of thinking about a topic that could reach elementary and secondary educators was quite difficult at first. I stressed at putting my concept together, but once I heard that many wanted to have some demonstration on poetry, things started to come naturally. My confidence began to build when I was able to share my work with Dawn, and by demonstration day I was at ease. The only element that had my palms sweaty was each day that I presented we had someone join our group. I had just become comfortable with the group, and to have someone come in that did not know me made me nervous, but only for a short time. Once I was standing in front of the room, I did what felt natural for me.
I appreciated the feedback that I received the letters from grade levels. It was interesting to see the different lenses in which people viewed my work. Both letters were very uplifting and informative for me in re-evaluating what could be done the next time this piece could be presented.
I felt more comfortable in doing the teaching demonstration over the sacred writing time. I felt more comfortable with the time length that was provided to give the information. With sacred writing time being with a new group of people and a new environment, I felt rushed.
I plan on using both of my lessons in my classroom next year. The recipe SWT would be used for my junior classes when we are writing our novels, and the poetry lesson could be used in both my junior and senior classes.
I found myself trying to be creative with the use of mentor text, and it is one of my major focuses to use in my classroom for the upcoming school year. Seeing that I could use conventional and non conventional sources have shown me that there is literature everywhere if you look and that it's my job to bring that to the attention to my students.
Writing Group Reflection
The most intimate moments of RCWP was working with the writing groups. I was honored to have a group of people who gave wonderful feedback and a caring ear.
As much as I love English and the components of reading and writing, the one thing that I detest is reading aloud. I have never enjoyed doing this. My issue is that I have a superpower, which is being able to read at an accelerated pace when I read to myself. During my times in elementary school when others were being put in reading groups for work, I was my group. I was sent to the principal's office to work independently, and I would zoom through textbooks and novels while other students focused on reading at a slower pace. When reading aloud, by mind moves quicker than my mouth, which makes me stumble across words. It's not that I can't read aloud, it's just that my mind moves too quickly to do so. The only time that I can read aloud from a document without tripping over words is when I am I doing poetry. I am more focused on the emotions that I am feeling and wanting to portray than the words that are dancing across the paper.
The first day of working in this group terrified me. I knew I would have to read aloud, and I knew that I would fall over what I was trying to say. I knew what I wanted to say, but it being transferred from the screen to the live read troubled me. One of the biggest positives that I can take away from this experience is a step in the right direction in reading my work aloud. I know that I have to do this. In being around people who wanted me to share and give myself to them in reading I have built up strength in an area that I know I have a deficit. I still have the fear, and I will continue to stumble for a while longer, but at least I can do it with more comfort now.
I appreciate that I had people of different personalities but had the bond of secondary educators in the process. Each one had a different skill in the analysis of our work, and I appreciated the feedback. I never felt that it was a contest, or a time for one person to act more superior than the other, and this built a bond for all of us.
The best part of the writing groups was talking to each of the members individually about his/her work. Each member at one time talked with me about steps should happen and on matters of being published in the future. The tales told by each member displayed that each one of them are indeed writers that have voices the world needed to hear. I enjoyed and will treasure the time with Val, Woodcock, and Ben. I appreciate the efforts Janet put into us to build community and to use the stories we had stored within us.
In completing this portfolio, I think that there isn't one thing that I have done in this institute that I would second guess on with my efforts. Everyone who had done this process was right. It is the most intense academic endeavor. Yes, it's demanding, draining, and challenging to the person who surrenders almost half of the summer to complete. As I write my reflection, my neck has a stiffness that I haven't experienced in many years from all the reading of books and typing on my keyboard. My brain is swelling with all the information jammed into its space, and my frustration level at times was an on high alert. None of these things will matter when I receive my certificate on July 16.
What will matter to me is that I am walking back into my classroom with new ideas, powerful tools, and a new attitude to carry me into the second half of my career. Everything that I have created was not busy work; its use will be immediate, and edited when needed. The sharing of my writing process in the personal writings will show students that even for the teacher the writing process is quite lengthy and filled with work and dedication. My #IBelieve declaration video will be used not only for the audience of my classroom but for the world to see on YouTube. I have a voice, and after completing all the work in this portfolio, I have no fear in using it as an activist learner.
So, if asked what grade I deserve for this portfolio, I am not arrogant in saying that I have earned a 4.0. This ranking determination isn't in the area of trying to reach perfection. It is in the efforts that I have made to make changes in my life, and satisfaction as I earn the distinction of being a member of the Red Cedar Writing Project.