How have you grown as a teacher from this experience so far (skills, understanding, or knowledge gained) (lesson planning, classroom management, demonstrations, etc…)?
In the beginning of this internship I was worried about classroom management and working with a new type of people. I feel that through this internship I have become much more confident and comfortable working with a more intimidating group of individuals. I have been able to adapt my way of teaching to work with inmates in a way that encourages their growth while respecting them as adults. I have learned when to put my foot down for classroom management and when to let some things slide, picking your battles is very important.
What new understandings do you have about children/education/your role in the classroom?
Every day in this internship I am reminded that my job is not to assign projects and keep control, it is to guide in creativity. A lot of the times I get caught up in what I am teaching as far as skills but in this format of class there is such a wide range of skill level that I need to think more of the overall lesson as far as emotional growth in the project. I can then take time to work with small groups or individuals to build fundamental skills of art where it is needed. I am much less a teacher of skills but a facilitator of growth.
What has made you happy about teaching this quarter?
Honestly I could have never expected this level of respect that I get from inmates. I came into this internship intimidated and found something that I am so passionate about. I want to look into this as a possible career in the future. This experience rekindled my excitement for teaching and gave me a wider view of possible futures.
What is something that you would like to work on improving by the end of the semester?
I would like to work on improving some of the participation in my class. There are some students who come in and simply refuse to do anything and I want this program to be available to people who actually want to grow. I want to create a way to monitor progress and to also give more of a significant recognition for completing the program.