Pontiac Field Experience
Alcott Elementary School, Pontiac, Michigan
Fall Semester, 1998
Every Thursday this semester I have reported to Beth Ivanís fourth grade
classroom at Alcott Elementary in Pontiac. Sometimes I forget how much I can
learn simply by showing up. This was my first field with younger students.
Consequently, I had to learn how these children learn and what they need versus
the eighth and ninth graders of my last field.
By showing up each week, I learned useful tools that one day may be a part of
my own classroom. I learned different classroom management skills, how to work
with children one on one, how to diffuse potentially hostile situations, and
what to do when a bright student is faced with getting kicked out of school
because of a fight. Beth taught me a lot this semester.
I also learned that I like upper elementary kids. I have always said that I
want to teach kindergarten, first grade, or second grade. This term I was with
fourth graders, and I really liked it. These kids already have a bit of an
education, and they do not need you to tie their shoes or wipe their noses for
them. They are already somewhat independent and are looking for their teachers
to make them even more independent.
This was also my first urban placement, which was quite an experience for me.
These kids are already so tough, and they are not even out of elementary school.
Many of them do not have a choice but to be like this.
Overall, I learned so much this term. I even taught a few lessons to the kids
and handled reading groups. This has been a good experience for me, and I would
welcome more like it.