Small Growth Victories

On Friday I did not have time for writing a post, so I will write for both days today.

On Friday I had a seminar about inclusive technology. It was given by a blind professor. He taught us technological skills and technological notions for exceptional students. He also thought us to define what is a blind person in a different way.  He told us that when he asks his students what is a blind student, most of them answer: “someone who can’t see, can’t read…” He showed us that we need to overcome the “can’t” view: we need to see what the student CAN do. Always. So, a blind student is a person who learns through audition and tact. We need to have the highest expectatives possible for our exceptional students. We learn about many really cool apps and hardware for exceptional students: Prizmo Go, Office Lens, Seeing AI, Dot Watch, Sunu band, braile screens, OrCam, Argus II…

After that seminar I had my first job interview as an ESL teacher. It was for a district in New Jersey. I did it just for the experience: I am not prepared yet to move to United States, I want to study a master first. I felt comfortable talking in English with the interviewer, it was a great first experience.

After the job interview I walked to the UPR Elementary School. I prepared the lesson plan for today’s class. You can see the lesson plan here: Comparative And Superlative Adjectives Review Plan . I also prepared a Power Point presentation to give my class. You can see that Power Point presentation here: Test Review.

Today I began my day preparing tomorrow’s test. My mentor teacher already corrected it and photocopied it, so it is ready for tomorrow’s class. He was kind enough to also photocopy for the students the Test Review Power Point presentation.

I discussed the Test Review like a competition. The students loved it so much that some of them did not want to leave the classroom. I let them know the bonus for tomorrow’s test: they need to write the word “resilience” correctly in the test. They had a hard time reminding how to write that word. I discussed that before the last weekend.

Last week I had problems with one student who forgot her eyeglasses many days, so she couldn’t participate properly in class (I needed to read for her). Today she brought her eyeglasses and participated by her own in the class. I was so happy for her! Another student had problems last week with waiting for his turn, but today he was able to wait for his turn many times. Those are the small growth victories that inspire me to keep teaching and learning how to help students to grow.

Let’s keep growing!

Walking Like He Walked

This is a teaching integractive blog. On Sundays, I usually write an essay about elements that influence my teaching or that are related with my teaching. What I am going to write about today has influenced me deeply both as person and as teacher: my faith. I usually do not talk about my faith in my classroom, but today I am going to talk about a faith experience that has helped me to model the kind of person and teacher I want to be.

Today I am going to write about how I overcame a deep faith crisis that leaded me to become a better person and a better teacher.

Several years ago, around 2008, I had a deep and strong faith crisis. I asked myself if I could be creative and catholic at the same time, if I could be who I am (I am naturally intellectual and creative) and catholic at the same time. This crisis was caused by my belonging to a catholic institution, still quite unknown in Puerto Rico, called “Opus Dei”. This institution teaches through intern institutional formation that if you leave them you lose your vocation and probably even your eternal salvation, among other very questionable teachings.

Through this crisis I discovered my true vocation, my human and ecclesial vocation, my vocation to grow by living charity and to irradiate God’s Love by forming Him in my whole personal formation. I deepened my human and ecclesial vocation through three ways:

-Though Arts: I painted a Jesus Charity. The picture of that painting is this one:

Jesus Charity.jpg

I developed an iconography for all the forms included in the painting. I also wrote a love story that described my process of conversion after leaving Opus Dei: Fiat Amor. I affirmed my ecclesial vocation as a vocation to form an image of God’s Love in whole personal formation through living charity. My vocation stopped being an “institutional vocation” (belonging to Opus Dei) to be transformed in a personal vocation, humanly and ecclesially. I discovered my vocation as fruit of God’s grace, not as fruit of institutional proselytism (like in Opus Dei). I discovered my creative talent as an instrument the Church, instead of being something that hindered some institutional customs.

-Through Sciences (Humanities, Education, Social Sciences, Philosophy): I created integraction, a model of human and ecclesial personal formation. Formation stopped being institutional (aspiring to be Opus Dei) to become in personal formation, humanly and ecclesially. I discovered personal formation as charism, instead of some kind of institutional “mold”. I discovered intellectual talent as instrument to affirm my whole personal formation according to God’s Love, not according to the customs of an institution.

-Through Religion (Catholic theology): I created a theology of light, a theology that deals with the whole personal formation according to God’s Light, a theology that proposes the personal formation as the fullest radiation of God’s Love. I discovered theology as contemplative knowledge of God’s Love, not as memorization of information only, as I knew it in Opus Dei. I discovered the personal formation as talent to serve humanity, not as instrument to serve an specific institution only.

My healing and my restoration after my belonging and leaving Opus Dei has taken long years, more than the time I belonged the institution. In part it had to do with the fact that before I met Opus Dei I was a person of faith with common elements with the institution. For example, prior entering Opus Dei I had a clear lay vocation and thought that studying philosophy and theology was part of my God’s call. That is to say, in my vocation there were elements common to Opus Dei prior belonging to them, without the institution being the one to propose it, hence I really thought that my vocation to Opus Dei was real.

Once restored, my human and ecclesial vocation was transformed, after a time of living it as an “alliance of charity”, into a “consecration to charity”: a consecration to learn how to live charity with the greatest possible correspondence to God in all circumstances; a consecration to learn how to walk like Jesus walked, to think like He thought, to act like He acted, to grow as He grew, to radiate like He radiated, to love like He Loved… to live like He lives. The consecration to charity is a service to people and to the Church. It is difficult to describe the immense joy that comes from the simple fact of being able to live and form myself based on living charity, something so deeply ecclesial and Christian, after surviving an experience like having belonged to Opus Dei, something that requires following so many institutional customs that are quite questionable from the charity perspective. That consecration to charity made and continues to make a big difference in me.

What kind of differences has the alliance of charity and the consecration to charity made in my personal formation? I will sketch some of them.

In negative:

Stop forming myself as I am not: after the alliance of charity and the consecration to charity any attempt to control conscience via spiritual direction is impossible. I am no longer formed to be an institution: I am formed to be a Christian person, to radiate the image of Jesus Charity through my personal formation because I have been created to radiate that Love, that is how I am.

Stop forming myself because “I must be in a certain way“: after the alliance of charity and consecration to charity, I began to form myself to relate personally to God, not because I must be in a certain institutional way, or not because I must be a canonized saint… The first thing is to relate to God, and everything else will come in addition to that.

Stop forming myself to obey only: after the alliance of charity and consecration to charity, I did not form myself to fulfill a plan of life that seemed more like a marketing plan, or to fulfill the expectations of an institution. Now I am formed to grow in communion, to fulfill a project of communion, humanly and ecclesially.

Stop forming myself to please a director: now I am not formed to please others, but to live charity towards God, towards my neighbor and towards myself. Now spiritual direction is part of living charity towards God, not merely following instructions and institutional customs.

In positive:

Personal formation centered on personal growth, on imitating Jesus, on communion and on living charity: after the alliance of charity and consecration to charity, I am responsible for my growth, because growth no longer depends exclusively on obeying to an institution. After the consecration to charity, I discern my project of evangelization with creative freedom, imitating Jesus, growing in communion and learning to live charity. I choose the meaning of the forms of my personal and ecclesial formation.

Acceptance of personal formation as a unit of processes: personal formation in Opus Dei is confused with institutional training that consists of memorization of information and following some customs and institutional instructions. A great change after the alliance of charity and the consecration to charity has been to accept personal formation as a unit of processes in constant progress. There is no longer the anxiety of having to adapt my whole personal formation to the foundationality of an institution. Now the personal formation is fluid and changing. Today I do not have to be the same as yesterday (I no longer have to adjust to being just Opus Dei in the same way day by day, as the directors say). The ways of living the obligations that the consecration to charity entails change day by day according to personal discernment, I do not live the charity of it in exactly the same way every day, although the commitment of consecration to charity remains the same. The consecration to charity is a flowing commitment, like the grace that flows.

Acceptance of personal formation as a complex process: now that personal formation does not equals institutional formation, after the alliance of charity and the consecration to charity, forming myself does not consist of something as “squared” as obeying the director and following a plan (I continue living piety norms, but with freedom to be who I am. For example: if I cannot do a piety norm, I substitute it with a work of charity, and if doing a work of charity prevents making a piety norm, I do the work of charity first). Now personal formation is something complex in which elements such as natural law and experience are taken into account, and in which there can be various ways of following the will of God as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Openness to experience: when I was part of Opus Dei I was told many times that I had the chronic defect of being “pride” for taking into account my experience as one of the criteria of my formation. In Opus Dei the only acceptable criterion of institutional formation is the will of the director. After the alliance of charity and the consecration to charity I can freely accept my experience as part of the configuration of the criteria of my personal formation, without being treated like an “unfaithful”. Now I can open myself to experience, my own and from others, without it meaning something like wanting to oppose some institutional view.

Acceptance of others without pretending to change them: in Opus Dei there is a huge preassure to make as many as possible part of the institution, making contact lists and determining institutional goals if necessary. This is institutional proselytism. After the alliance to charity and the consecration to charity there is no longer a desire to change others, but to help them to be, to do, to grow and to radiate. Now there is eagerness to learn to help others grow, accepting the person unconditionally.

Acceptance of myself: Opus Dei instills mistrust in oneself, since the criterion of personal formation must always be the director. After the alliance of charity and the consecration to charity I recovered a healthy confidence in myself, with the help of God’s grace.

Acceptance of all personal formation as it is, not according to the institution says it is: after the alliance of charity and consecration to charity I pay more attention to what is as it is. That sounds like tongue twisters, but it is not the same to pay attention to what is supposed to be according to the institutional, or to be less than what one is, to simply pay attention to what it is. For example: I now accept the personal formation of others as it is, not because of institutional proselytism.

Although I stayed studying in an Opus Dei’s University after leaving the institution, eventually I also needed to leave the University in order to be able to begin Jesus Charity as creative project and to reform my spiritual life after leaving the institution. It was impossible for me beginning Jesus Charity in their University: I did not have all the necessary intellectual resources (I lacked social sciences intellectual resources) and the necessary creative-spiritual space to begin a project like Jesus Charity there. So, I asked myself then, in what I would work after leaving my PhD in philosophy (that meant that I would not be able to become a college professor, as I planned)? I chose to become a teacher, first a religion teacher and later an ESL teacher. I chose to learn how to help people be, do, grow and radiate through school education.

How to share all my human and ecclesial growth after the alliance of charity and the consecration of charity? First, through my personal formation, through living charity and keep growing until becoming who I am and who I am meant to be according to God’s Love. However, in order to being able to do that I discerned that I needed to create an intellectual structure for reforming everything that needed to be corrected in me after leaving Opus Dei, so I began to write Walking Like He Walked, a draft in which I describe integraction, the iconography of Jesus Charity, the theology of light and the consecration to charity. I first wrote Walking Like He Walked to be shared anonymously in a web page managed by an ex Opus Dei member where ex-members of Opus Dei are usually understood (it is very hard to find spaces, specially in the Church, where people can understand the experience of surviving Opus Dei), but the administrator of that web page kindly rejected to publish my text because the web page did not want to promote any doctrine or “way” to Opus Dei ex members, and they considered my text to be a “way”. The intention was sharing this text as an anonymous “fraternal correction” to Opus Dei. What do I mean with this? Anyone who belonged to Opus Dei knows what they understand as “fraternal correction”: an accusation to which a “thank you” had to be answered always, even if it was unfair. During the final stages of my psico-spiritual recovery I discerned that I should make a fraternal correction to Opus Dei for every institutional mistake I witnessed, but the fraternal correction that I prayed was not like theirs: mine was like “helping to grow”, not like an accusation. So, according to my prayer, my fraternal correction should consist in sharing with them how much I grew while being informed, conformed, transformed and reformed by God’s Love after leaving Opus Dei, not in sharing a list of all the mistakes that I witnessed while I was linked to Opus Dei.

Anyone could ask me: how do I live charity towards Opus Dei without telling the mistakes I witnessed? Simply: avoiding condemning anyone, including them. In this case, living charity is allowing everyone to grow, including them. That way, all the mistakes I witnessed would be part of Opus Dei’s growing process. There is no need of accusation if a mistake is a necessary part of growing, the only need is helping to grow. I have a basic life principle that can be applied to circumstances like this one: never attribute to malice what is simply a consequence of lack of growth. People like me had been injured by some of Opus Dei’s mistakes, necessary for their growth, but I don’t think their primary intention had never been hurting anyone, although definitely some of those mistakes have hurt many souls.

There is another aspect of living charity involved here: living charity not only towards Opus Dei but towards ex members of Opus Dei also, many who believe that they will lose their vocation and salvation due leaving the institution, among others acharities (acharity is lack of charity) that had been seen like normalcy through Opus Dei’s internal institutional formation. They must also know that they are loved and embraced by God in their new way, that leaving Opus Dei is not the end of their vocation but a transformation and a reformation, one of many that we all have in life as we keep growing. Transformation is a natural part of the process of realization and reformation is a natural part of projection. Only God’s mercy can decide who is saved. We all keep growing, we all commit mistakes, and we all need God’s mercy.

Because I am not able to share Walked by He Walked anonymously, as I planned, I chose to share it here with my first name and my last names. The deepest meaning of sharing this is no longer sharing a fraternal correction, now that is accidental and worthless because Opus Dei won’t know I am writing this (I have no contact with current Opus Dei members), the only way they would have known would had been through the ex-member web page were I planned to share this anonimously, that is seen by hundreds of members too. Now the deepest meaning of sharing Walking Like He Walked is simply sharing what God has given me to serve better as human being, as Christian and, of course, as teacher. This is my way of sharing the gifts I have received and my intellectual-creative talent.

What is exactly Walked Like He Walked? Right now is a draft written in English of the text I plan to share in Spanish in February 14, 2019: that is the day of my consecration to charity due being Saint Valentine’s Day, a day of love. This draft has seven parts:

-The first two parts are explorations of the concept “light”. I won’t include these parts in the Spanish text, I don’t consider it necessary.

-Parts III and IV explain integraction as human and ecclesial personal formation model.

-Part V explains the process of forming God’s Love in the personal formation, illustrating it through the painting of Jesus Charity.

-Part VI explains the conversion of life in a story of Love.

-Part VII explains the conversion of the personal formation in a work of Love: the new humanization, the new ecclesialization, the new evangelization, the consecration to charity and the Family Evangelization Project (helping to be, helping to do, helping to grow, helping to radiate).

I am aware that the English draft is full of grammatical errors. I beg you to focus on the ideas, at least for now. I will take care of grammar issues with more care in the Spanish version. Walking Like He Walked is a long text, but reading the introduction is enough to have an idea of what each part contents and to choose what to read and what not to read. I need to make two warnings. The first one: I studies in two theological faculties and I couldn’t finish the degree in any one. I failed many classes, specially philosophical and latin. What I mean is that I am not an academic philosopher or an academic theologian. I may be a philosopher or a theologian, but in the creative-intellectual sense. I think that this is evident through the text: my method was not academic nor it was meant to be so. Whoever expects reading academic theology or academic philosophy in this text will be disappointed. The second warning: integraction is not meant to be a model or theory of human development, but to explain how we are who we are and how we become who we are meant to be. Whoever expects to find in integraction a human development model or theory will be disappointed too. I think there are many good models and theories to explain human development. This is not one of them, although I have studied some of them and taken them into consideration while writing this text.

Of all the ideas I present in this draft, I think that the most important one is the consecration of Charity. This consecration realizes God’s dreams and convert us in a work of Love, in a living sign of God’s Love, in a sacrament of God’s Love, in “Eucharist” for the brothers and sisters. In Opus Dei there is something known as the apostolate of “not giving”. I discovered the apostolate of the “yes giving”: saying yes to God to give His Love and saying yes to give ourselves. Sharing all these ideas is for me part of the apostolate of “yes giving”: I am giving the fruit of my prayer, of the contemplated ideas, of the witness of learning to know God’s Love. This consecration to charity is not a religious consecration, I am lay, but I think it is possible to serve the Church and to be a lay consecrated to charity, it is a matter of being creative. As a matter of fact, every Cristian should live a consecrated life, being consecrated can’t be for religious only.

Without any doubt, what saved my faith after the deep crisis caused by Opus Dei was my personal encounter with God’s Love and to reform my ecclesial vocation as I learned to form that Love in my personal formation and in the canvas, as a work of art and as a work of Love, always with more fidelity. I am still learning to do that, that learning will continue through my whole lifetime. Learning to live charity is learning to correspond God’s Love and to radiate it to everyone through the personal formation.

I wanted, on purpose, to wait until the Triduum and until Easter to write these lines during the Divine Mercy novena and share this on the Divine Mercy Sunday. I trust all my mistakes while I was linked to Opus Dei to God’s Mercy, and I also trust to Him all the institutional mistakes I witnessed, trusting that that Mercy is capable of transforming any situation, no matter how dark it may be, in a radiation of God’s Love. I do not regret of spending time of my life as member of Opus Dei, nor of studying in their University, because if I wouldn’t lived what I lived and suffered what I suffered I wouldn’t discovered my ecclesial vocation as a vocation to form God’s Love in the personal formation, nor I would have discovered integraction, the theology of light or Jesus Charity. I am thankful to Opus Dei for getting me closer to God’s Love, even if it was through provoking a crisis and through provoking pain. It helped me to think that the institutional mistakes I witnessed were part of their growth. The bigger the error, the greater the possibility of growth.

To whoever may be injured by Opus Dei practices, I present you the painting of Jesus Charity: a Jesus painted to radiate God’s Love in the darkest circumstances of humanity, among abuses, especially if committed in the name of God, among injustices, among broken personal formations, among injured human dignity, among acharities. This is the Jesus capable of informing, conforming, transforming and reforming the whole person and every person, no matter how sinner he or she could be, if the person allows God to love him or her. As a curious fact, there was a moment I thought I could give the painting as gift to the Legionaries of Christ, so they may use it as a founder’s photo, instead of the photo of the Marcial Maciel. It was not possible for me doing that.

I have entrusted Opus Dei to Jesus Charity, with the hope that some day there will be institutional changes for avoiding any spiritual injury due following institutional customs that provoke spiritual harm. I have also entrusted to Jesus Charity any abuse victim, especially those who had been abused in the name of God, so they may know the Love capable of healing any kind of wound. Another curious fact about the painting: at the beginning, its name was “Jesus Love” (“Jesús Amor”) because in Puerto Rico it is very common for people calling each other “amor” (“love”), so I dared to call Jesus “Love” too, but with capital letter. May we all dare to see Jesus as our Love, to getting closer to Him and to trust Him, contemplating Him as the Incarnated Love of God. For this, it helps me to repeat the jaculatory prayer: “Jesus Charity, we grow in You!” It is said in plural because it is a prayer said as living Church.

Considering the context of Walking Like He Walked, I consider important to make two clarifications. The first one: when I titled Walking Like He Walked I did not had present at all in my thought the sense of the word “walking the way” used in Opus Dei, not even as a critic. In the moment of choosing that title I was thinking in a biblical quote, 1 Jn 2:6: “whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk like he walked.” This can be translated in several forms: “lived as he lived”, “act like he acted…” The translation of the exegesis I used when I began to contemplate the theology of light from the First Epistle of John said “walk like he walked”, that’s why I chose those words. My emphasis in the use of the verb “walking” and Opus Dei’s emphasis in the use of the word “way”, two extremely very similar concepts, is strictly coincidence. They are not meant to be related or connected.

The second clarification: the expression “work of Love” is a very important concept of Walking Like He Walked. It could be seen as an implicit allusion or critic to Opus Dei name’s meaning, “work of God”. It has never meant to be so. The expression “work of Love” originated from the process of forming Jesus Charity as an artistic work: the artistic work of the hands is converted in a “work of Love” as the whole personal formation is converted in a living sign of God’s Love; as the whole personal formation is converted in “living sacrament” of God’s Love. Any coincidence in emphasis in the use of the word “work” in Walking Like He Walked and in Opus Dei institutional formation is also strictly coincidence. Literally I never heard anyone or read anything in the institution that applied the name “work of God” as “work of Love.” I read and studied (literally studied: I photocopied internal documents in secret so I could highlight them and study them) many internal documents, and I never knew or contemplated the idea “work of Love” while I was member of the institution. I contemplated that idea, as I just said, while applying the process of painting Jesus Charity, the process of creating an artistic work, to the processes of personal formation, the process of creating a “work of Love.” So, when I talk about “converting us in a work of Love”, that could also be understood ad “converting us in a work of God” if you define God as Love, I do not mean to convert us in “Opus Dei”, the institution. I do not mean the opposite neither. The ideas are simply not meant to be connected. Whoever has evidence of any Opus Dei’s institutional formation document (internal document) that has the concept “work of God” applied as “work of Love”, please share the evidence. I do not have a good memory, but the idea of becoming a “work of Love” is so important to me that if I would have heard or read it before painting Jesus Charity, inside or outside Opus Dei, I would have remembered it.

You can find the PDF of Walking Like He Walked here: Walking Like He Walked.

Any critic or comment to the painting of Jesus Charity, to integraction, to the theology of light, to Walking Like He Walked or to any of the ideas I have presented are completely welcome. There is always opportunity to helping to be, helping to do, helping to grow and helping to radiate God’s Love with more clarity and transparency.

What all this have in relation with my teaching? I will give ten lessons about how what I learned through this crisis makes me a better teacher. I won’t explain the concrete circumstances that leaded me to learn that lesson, I will share just the lessons.

First, I discovered my teaching vocation through this crisis, as I explained before.

Second, I have learned by experience that people are more important than institutions or customs, methods or curriculums. Teaching is not a matter of keeping an intellectual credibility: it is a matter of helping to grow people.

Third, although I usually don’t talk about religion to my students, my faith in God’s Love discovered through the consecration to charity is clearly the greatest influence of my motivation to teach and helping my students to grow. I teach them because I want to learn how to love them as God loves them and I want them to be the best person they can be because that is what God would want for them. As a teacher I learn to live charity through my lesson plans and through my pedagogy. Jesus’ commandment of Love informs, conforms, transforms and reforms what I do as person and of course as teacher also.

Fourth, integraction has given me a wider view of the personal formation processes. By example: I am aware that I am a role model for my students (in integraction, this is explained as the influence of action). God has given me the ability to make choices about my words and my actions. Those choices are also part of the lesson plan as integractive context. I as teacher aim to teach and model not only my subject but also sanctity: ways of living that help us to be, to do, to grow and to radiate in fraternity and communion of the saints. I am not called to be perfect and without sin, but for my students I can be a role model of how to embody Christ in our personal formation if they chose to see it that way.

Fifth, I have learned to define my teaching authority according to the authority of Jesus. I use my authority appropriately when I am able to create a learning environment that is intellectually, spiritually, psychologically and physically safe for every student. My authority as teacher does not aims to be an authority of obedience and following instructions, it aims to be an authority of Love. I must be prepared to follow through with the appropriate rules, but not for the sake of the rule but for the sake of the person. The abuse of authority can cause great harm, so I should think carefully about how I use the authority that has been entrusted to me.

Sixth, I have learned to care for the whole person. When I care for the whole person it is shown in a consistent attitude that continually reminds the people in my class that they are not alone, that we are learning and growing together. Sometimes what seems like an insignificant thing provides the bit of grace that enables a student to envision a hopeful future. True caring never tries to force or control another. How to show my students that I care? Listening attentively to them is one of the most simple and respectful things I can do to showing them how much I care. As I listen to them, I am not just listening for information. I am listening for their whole personal formation: their bodies, their minds, their relations, their thoughts, their abilities, their feelings, their hopes, their dreams… the personal formation that they are revealing. I become a safe companion as my students can explore new ideas or to reevaluate beliefs without fears of not being accepted because I give them the gift of a nonjudgmental presence. Personal listening time is as holy as my prayer time.

Seventh, I have learned that curriculum is integractive. For me, curriculum is not only the content I am expected to teach, as it is usually understood. For me, curriculum is the integration, action realization and projection of class members with the content, materials, resources, and learning community. For example: the culture of the classroom is part of the curriculum. Creating a rich, welcoming and creative learning space, where all students are valued and accepted as human beings, is part of the curriculum. When spirituality is used to judge people, when words and actions tear down people, then spiritual abuse is occurring. The same applies to curriculum: when intellectuality is used to judge students, when words and actions tear down students, then intellectual abuse is occurring. Allowing an atmosphere in which such circumstances are ordinary part of the classroom’s culture is a misuse of curriculum. Integractive curriculum applies the content of each lesson to the personal formation of the students without allowing judgements and enriching it with meaning. Finding meaning in life empowers students to share themselves with others and to enhance their learning.

Eighth, I have learned the importance of learning humanly: the importance of touching, greeting and looking to the eyes when teaching. Human touch, greeting and eye contact is important throughout life and for learning. People need to be touched, greeted, hugged and looked in appropriate ways to receive the nurture that allows them to learn, trust and relate with others. Touching, greeting and looking other people in appropriate ways contributes to their well-being and enhances all the personal formation’s processes. For example: I as teacher need to think about the way I welcome, interact with, and say good-bye to my students. A hug may be an appropriate greeting for elementary children, but a pat on the head, for example, can be either welcoming or demeaning for them, depending on the circumstances. The recipient of the touch determines whether the touch is appropriate or inappropriate, no matter what were the intentions. It is wise to ask to a student, no matter how young he or she is, if a touch is ok if he or she did not initiate it. For example: I could ask an elementary student that behave exceptionally well in a class if I may give him or her a hug to congratulate him or her. I would not recommend that kind of touch with upper elementary grade levels, in that case the touch would be a hand in the shoulder. It may seem a complication to ask these kind of things, it may seem to be simpler to avoid touching, but it would also dehumanize learning.

Ninth, I have learned to use words to affirm the person unconditionally. Words can build up people or they can demean them. I as teacher need to be aware of the power of my words, both the words I speak and the words students say in my class. Affirming words influence personal formation and learning for good. Judgements destroy self-esteem. If we only criticize a student, that person will begin to believe, sooner or later, that he or she is not a capable human being and will have difficulties developing healthy self-esteem. Corrective words are necessary, but also praise words.

Tenth, I have learned to integrate diversity. This does not only mean to accept and nurture my student’s diverse abilities (what they can do), instead of only focusing in what they cannot do. This also means to accept and integrate my student’s diverse learning styles. My students do not learn the same way, so I can’t teach always the same way. I need to help them thrive by adapting my teaching methods to their learning styles, creating a culture were personal differences are part of the journey, not an exception.

I proposed to share this post on the Divine Mercy Sunday, and as I write these words the clock says  “12:00 a.m.” of Divine Mercy Sunday. I won’t go to Church early tomorrow because I will go to the mass at 3:00 p.m. instead of the 9:00 am, so today I chose to write until late. It is time to finish my post, and today I will finish it with a phrase that helps me to keep growing:

Jesus Charity, we grow in You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Egg Hunt

Today was a very important day to me: today was the day of my first evaluation as student teacher! I was scheduled to be evaluated by my supervisor professor and by my mentor teacher.

I planned everything related with today’s class with extra care. I choose to make an Easter activity related with the grammar topic I had been discussing during these days, comparative adjectives and superlative adjectives. I choose to do a “Grammar Egg Hunt”. Here is today’s lesson plan: Easter Egg Hunt Lesson Plan. Here is the Power Point presentation of today’s class: Grammar Egg Hunt.

During the hour prior the class, the first thing I did was arranging the candy appropriately in order to avoid any possible mess. I needed three kinds of candy, so I chose Easter chocolates, Easter candy eggs and Easter candy bunnies. Each kind of candy had a bucket to be stored. I placed them in a table near the Smart Board.

The next time I did was activating the correct alarms in the iPad. Today the class changed of time (it was at 9:00 am instead of 1:20 pm), so I needed to set new alarms for being aware of when I had 10 minutes of class left and 5 minutes of class left. I left the iPad near the place where the computer would be.

The next thing I did was resolving a technological issue: my supervisor professor would need to have my computer with her, because I have several documents of my professional binder in the computer. So I borrowed a school computer for giving the class and left my MacBook to the supervisor professor. I tested everything in the school computer, including the clicker, and everything worked perfectly.

When the bell rang and I had an empty classroom I began to place an Easter bag in each seat. You can see the Easter bags in this photos:

EasterEggHunt1

EasterEggHunt2

Shortly after my supervisor professor and my students arrived (my mentor teacher was already in the classroom), and the fun began. The kids became very excited when they saw the Easter bags in their seats!

First we did the usual beginning routine. Then I reviewed yesterday’s class material. Then I explained what is an egg hunt. Finally, I explained what we were going to do in our Grammar Egg Hunt: each Easter bag had two plastic Easter eggs, one Easter egg had a paper with a number inside and the other Easter egg had a paper with an inspiring thought inside. The number was the exercise that the student was going to do. If the student answered the exercise correctly, he or she may have Easter chocolate for filling their Easter plastic eggs or their Easter bag. If the student explained correctly why the answer was correct or wrong, he or she may have Easter candy eggs for filling their Easter plastic eggs or their Easter bags. If the student identified correctly if the adjective was comparative or superlative, he or she may have Easter candy bunnies for filling their Easter bag (they were too big to fill the plastic Easter eggs). If the student had everything wrong, he or she may explain the inspiring quote of the other egg in his or her own words, and then he or she may have Easter candy too. This is the list of the inspiring thoughts placed inside the Easter eggs: Egg Hunt Quotes.

The students LOVED the game, and of course, they LOVED the different kinds of Easter candy. I also gave an Easter bag with two eggs to my mentor teacher, so when the number 15 came and no student raised his or her hand, I knew that was the number in his bag. He did the exercise like all the students, and he did it correctly, but most students did not let him to take Easter candy for his Easter bag! The students thought he had enough candy already. We all laughed. Then some students went to my mentor teacher and shared the Easter candy of their own Easter bags with my mentor teacher. That was an excellent empathy lesson!

The first alarm rang when we finished the last exercise, the exercise number 20. After we finished that exercise, I had the time to ask three students what their inspiring thought meant. Then the second alarm rang, so I close the class giving them a handout that they needed to glue in their notebooks: it was the announcement of a test for next Tuesday, including the material that is going to be tested. This is an image of the test announcement (my mentor teacher was kind enough for cutting the paper for me):

Test Announcement.jpg

I made a special “joke” to my supervisor professor and to the students. While they finished to glue the test announcement to their notebooks, I asked them if they knew what the word “complaint” meant. They told me they did not know. So I explained them what that word means, and let them know that if they had any complaint about me they could say it to the professor that was seated in my computer’s place (my supervisor professor). I told them she was my “boss”. The supervisor professor laughed (she is not really my “boss”, and she explained so to the kids) and asked the students if they had any comment about me, anything that they felt she should know about my teaching tasks. Several student raised their hands and I let them tell her whatever they wanted. So, I made the students part of my evaluation!

The kids behave amazingly good during the activity! I needed to catch their attention several times with some pauses for jokes and comments, but that is normal, especially considering their age.

I waited a little bit after the class was over while my supervisor professor and my teacher mentor completed all the evaluations. I was not expecting a good grade because we are told in the pre-practicum that the punctuation of the first evaluation usually is not higher than 50.

When they called me and I was informed of my final punctuation, I became happy and very emotional. There is always room for improvement, but it was a very high punctuation for being the first evaluation of a student teacher. My biggest failure was that in some moments I gave my back to the students while giving the class, and I must care giving the class facing the students at all moments. I also had some pronunciation issues, especially every time I said the word “thought.” I was given the freedom to write my own philosophy of education, despite not being exactly like the philosophy of education that everyone writes, my philosophy of education is like more “original,” although this is not intentional.

We also discussed how I am going to complete my 300 teaching practice hours. I will have 250 regular student practice hours at May 18, the last day of classes, so I need 50 extra hours to complete the required 300 teaching practice hours. I am not authorized to arrive earlier than 7:30 except if I have a school meeting at that hour (I had a school meeting today at 7:00 am to coordinate an extracurricular activity) nor I am authorized to have less than one hour  for lunch break. The first one is not allowed because I come from far away and the second one is not allowed because it is not healthy for student teachers or teachers to cut their break time for completing school work. I need to learn to distribute my teaching time reasonably, and that includes learning to take the appropriate break times. I am authorized to complete the 300 practice hours with extracurricular activities (25 hours maximum) compatible with my other University classes (besides the teaching practice, I am also enrolled in two college classes: Writing About Literature and Ceramics), with research time for the action researches done at home (12.5 hours minimum) and with all the time spent at home writing my philosophy of education (12.5 hours minimum). My supervisor professor thought I should be able to reach 300 hours with those arrangements. I agreed.

We scheduled my next evaluation at May 9. I worked very hard for today’s class, but I also thanks God for making it possible. I expect to improve for the next evaluation.

Let’s keep growing!

A Little Success

Yesterday I couldn’t write a blog post because I forgot to bring the charging cable of my MacBook, so I didn’t have a computer to write the post. Life happens!

Today I came late to school for the first time. I had a very good reason: the train where I was coming to the University ran out of gas, so we needed to wait until being delivered to the nearest train station and then wait for the next train in direction to the University. It was a very funny situation for everyone in the train. I have never imagined a train could run out of gas (I always thought it was an electric train).

Yesterday’s class and today’s class are about superlative adjectives and about being resilient. Here is today’s Power Point presentation: Superlative Adjectives.

Yesterday the students wrote in an index card their biggest struggle in school or at home. I glued those struggles besides the poster I made, inspired in The Butterfly Circus, that says “The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.” I taught them that struggles are important because they helps us learn to be resilient. Here is a picture of our “struggle wall”:

StruggleWall.jpg

Today’s lesson plan is the first lesson plan where I apply integraction, although it is not applied as a method but as a context. Here is today’s lesson plan: Superlative Adjectives.

Besides all the classroom practice, I made a practice handout for today’s homework. Here is the handout:

Comparative:Superlative Handout.jpg

Comparative:Superlative Handout 2.jpg

Today I made calculations and I realized something very important. I was absent the whole first week of my practicum due the reasonable accommodations needed for the PC Mas (the teaching certification test of the Department of Education of Puerto Rico), so I started my practicum on March 12. Besides that, I need to leave early on Fridays (at 12:30 instead of 2:30) and I am going to be absent on April 26 and May 31 due medical check-ups. For compensating those hours, I am doing six hours of teaching practicum daily (except on Fridays, when I do only five), instead of the five hours required per day. The classes at the school end on May 18. If you calculate the total teaching practicum hours, there is no way to complete the 300 required teaching practicum hours in that time. I can only make 253 hours, or a little bit more if I get the permission, which I asked, to take only half an hour of lunch break instead of a whole hour and to begin at 7:00 instead of 7:30. I can make some extra hours with some extracurricular activities too. Even then, there is no way for me to complete 300 hours. I can only complete them if I am allowed to make teaching practicum hours until May 30, that way I would be able to complete exactly 300 hours, but there are not school classes after May 18, so I am not sure if that is possible.

I made a table with all my current teaching practicum hours and the projected hours calculations to my supervisor professor to illustrate visually that it is reasonably impossible for me to complete 300 teaching practicum hours and to see what the Faculty of Education is going to do about that. The only thing I can do to try to complete them is to request the authorization to have less lunch break time and to begin earlier. I have a reasonable accommodation that allows me to be absent of my classes for going to all my medical check-ups, and I would be able to complete the 300 hours if I wouldn’t have so many medical check-ups and reasonable accommodation issues during these weeks, so I may be receive an authorization to make less hours due that. The Department of Education only requires around 200 hours to certificate teachers, so there is no need of completing 300 hours of teaching practicum besides the University’s requirement. I really don’t know what they do in cases like mine, we will see. I did my part and informed this as soon as I noticed it. It is true that in a regular semester I would have been able to complete the required 300 hours even with all the time needed for medical check-ups, that is something that must be taken in count too: the extraordinary circumstances of this semester, that started in March instead of in January.

This is the importance of having reasonable accommodation, among other reasons: if you have any problem related with being absent due medical check-ups, the issue can be handled without being penalized due needing extra time than others for medical issues.

My students learned something very important today: if they play with any toy during class, I consider that the toy is mine and confiscate it. I got a very nice Play Doh piece today! I love Play Doh! Besides that, I had my hdmi adapter in today’s class (the Amazon order was finally delivered yesterday!), so today I used my own computer to give class for the first time. I also had a clicker for the first time, so today I had a lot of fun with my tech toys too, besides having fun with the Play Doh! The hdmi adapter and the clicker made the process of giving class with Power Point a lot easier: today was the first day I ended my class earlier than expected! This was a little success for me.

Let’s keep growing!

Respecting My Student’s Minds

Today I want to talk about a very important theme for me: respecting my student’s minds. My aim is to respect their whole personal formation, but today I am going to talk specifically about respecting my student’s intellectual personal formation.

What “respecting my student’s intellectual personal formation” should mean? It is respecting their process of achieving their own ideas, methods, thoughts and conclusions. I as teacher have a powerful intellectual influence on my students, but that influence is not for making harm but to helping them to grow intellectually? How?

First, I never think for them what they should be able to think by their own. I may help them in the process of thinking, but I never think for them. It is important that they learn to think by their own.

Second, when I explain something, I explain it in a way that it can be understood from different thought methods. For example: now that I am explaining adjectives, I explain them through induction, through deduction and through abduction. That enriches my student’s intellectual skills and helps them to understand better too.

Third, when I explain a point of view, I explain the pros and the cons of that point of view, both, even if I am not agree with some of the propositions, and let the students arrive to their own point of view. For example (this is not an example that I have experienced with my current third graders): if I am going to talk about why someone considers that Puerto Rico is not a nation, I explain both why it may be considered a nation and why it may be not considered a nation, an let each student to build their own point of view about why considering Puerto Rico a nation or not. I personally do not consider Puerto Rico a nation, but I never state, except if explicitly asked, my own point of views. The important thing is to let the students have their own point of view in debatable themes.

Fourth, when I provide information about a concept, I give it providing information from different theories. For example (this example is not an example that I have experienced with my current third graders neither): if I am going to explain the concept “political systems”, I will talk about capitalism, and about socialism too, although I have disagreements with both. I give to the students the information they need for both understanding the concept and understanding the whole scenario of the concept from different perspectives. That way the students can build their knowledge with information of all sides and even they may create a perspective of their own.

Fifth, I avoid by all means intellectual proselytism. What is intellectual proselytism? It is promoting certain ideas only, usually those that you are agree with. There are many ways to commit intellectual proselytism. Books and studying material must be rich in sources, not using sources from one perspective, one kind of persons or one system only. For example: I had a college course once whose bibliography only had references of Marxism and Socialism, but the class was about Latin American philosophy. Another example: I went to a workshop where the theme “kindness” was being discussed, but all the references discussed the ideas of only one author, the founder of the institution where the workshop was being held. Other example of intellectual proselytism is to only promote in the classroom certain opinions, those which agree with certain agenda. That is grossly wrong. For example: I don’t talk to my students about my own theory. That something they don’t need to know for growing intellectually.

Sixth, I give the information to my students according to their developmental age. For example: when I discussed the theme of being open to diversity with my third grade students, I did not discussed it from a sexual identity perspective because that is not an age-appropriate theme for third graders, that is a theme that belong to the parents to discuss. With my third graders I discussed the theme of being open to diversity it from the perspective of being open to people with diverse abilities.

Finally, when a student has an conclusion that is clearly wrong, I confront him with the facts and different point of views, without allowing personalist arguments and without “forcing” a change via intellectual authority. For example: if a student says that being racist is a right or necessary thing, I don’t tell him “you are stupid”: I look for bibliography, references and information that can help him to understand why his premise is wrong.

As teacher, it is very important for me to promote the best intellectual personal formation possible for my students. There are many ways to do this. I hope to discover more than the ones I have mentioned.

Let’s keep growing!

Inquiry Time

Well, today I gave to my cooperator teacher the lesson plans for Monday, April 2, and Tuesday, April 3 (the school is closed the whole next week). I made a change in the lesson plan’s structure: I added an “integractive context” in the teacher reflection section. In the “integractive context” I explain how I apply integraction to my teaching. In reality all teachers have a “context”: all lesson plans have a philosophical “frame.” The difference is that I am assuming the context of my lesson plans consciously. I justified the change explaining integraction as a model of personal formation. I even brought an integractor (a structure made with toys that is like the abacus of integraction) to the school! Today was the first time ever that I explained integraction verbally to someone, ant the integractor helped me a lot to verbalize the ideas related to integraction as system. Until now I was simply reflecting how I was applying integraction in the classroom in separate papers, but it is truly a paper mess, so I united that reflection to the lesson plan. I chose to include it in the teacher reflection section because the integractive context is something very personal. I do not intent to change the “official” lesson plan, but enrich it with my context, with the how I embrace the teaching process personally. Here is a picture of me in the classroom with the integractor:

Integractor

I prepared a diagnostic test of the next theme for my third grade students. I am giving it today. This test is for an effect of instruction (measuring the student’s knowledge before and after giving a lesson) that I am required to do as part of my practicum. In general, they did not remembered what superlatives adjectives were. Here is a picture of that test:

Superlatives Diagnostic Test

I also prepared a poster about The Butterfly Circus for the classroom. I wanted to post it today in the wall because today the parents come to get the student’s grades. Here is a pic of the poster I made:

poster

I finished today the Comparative Adjectives Power Point presentation I began a day ago. I needed a computer for giving that presentation because mine does not have hdmi and I still do not have the thunderbolt hdmi adapter (it is on its way from Amazon, but Amazon takes a whole week and a half just to process the order, not including the shipping time), so I learned how to borrow a computer from the library. Last time a fellow student teacher borrowed me hers, but I did not wanted to interrupt her again.

While giving my class today I realized that I need to learn how to make more inquiry questions during teaching time. My cooperator teacher has an amazing ability to transform the class into an inquiry time.

Let’s keep growing!

Comparative Adjectives

My students still want to talk about The Butterfly Circus, so I prepared for them a daily lesson plan with examples of The Butterfly Circus and their learning environment. The daily lesson plan is about comparative adjectives. This is the lesson plan I prepared to them: Comparative Adjectives

The most important sentence of The Butterfly Circus, “The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph,” has two comparative adjectives, so it is perfect to discuss this lesson plan. I also prepared a Power Point presentation for them: Comparative Adjectives

I also created a sheet of their beginning class routine. Here is that sheet:

Beginning Routine

 

Besides preparing and correcting this lesson plan, preparing and correcting the Power Point presentation and giving the class about comparative adjectives using the beginning class routine, today I organized some papers of the teacher binder and the lesson plan binder, and tabulated the student’s interest inventories and homework. I prepared a sheet for having evidence of their activities, classwork and homework’s hand in date, so I can know who handed in his work and when, and who did not. This is the sheet: Classwork and Activities

Of course, the original sheet has my students’ names written on it, but I will not share a document with my students’ names on a public blog. I shared a blank sheet instead. I did the table with space for two different hand in dates because in case there is a student absent I can have another day to receive his work.

Finally, today I also observed the first grade ESL class. They had a fashion show today. The teachers created a paper runway, each student dressed with their favorite outfit and each one described the outfit of a classmate. They are learning everything about clothing. It was really fun. Here is a picture of the beginning of the fashion show:

FashionShow

I confessed a very deep secret to my third grade students today: I hate tests, but they are part of assessment, so we must face them together and we are going to learn how to face them together.

I will continue today’s Power Point presentation on Friday.

Let’s keep growing!

My First Lesson Plan

Today we had a living museum in the school: the first grade students dressed each one like a famous person, and when you stepped in a construction paper star that was glued in the floor, in front of them, each one would describe who he or she was. It was a very creative activity.

Today I also made my first daily lesson plan. It is a very particular daily lesson plan because it is not only about English: it is about integrating diversity, but it is given in English. Why did I chose that theme for my first class? Because I am a twice-exceptional student: I am gifted and have ADD and dysgraphia at the same time, and I need my students to understand that I won’t be writing a lot in the whiteboard due my dysgraphia. I am very creative, but because I have problems writing by hand, I avoid using the whiteboard and use the computer to write a lot. I wanted to start my classes explaining to my students that I have a disability, I can’t write by hand too much, but I am also gifted: I know English and can teach very creatively. So, I planned my first class about the theme of diversity using the short movie “The Butterfly Circus”. That way I can explain that I have a disability and a giftedness explaining the protagonist’s disability and his ability to swim despite not having arms and legs. I just sent my lesson plan by email to my cooperator teacher, let’s see what he says.

For that class I made an “abilities” handout, so we can discuss our diverse abilities together. This is a pic of the handout:

Abilities Handout

Many people have asked me how I am able to be so good with the task of writing ideas if I have so many difficulties with writing by hand. The answer: my dysgraphia is very mechanical, it doesn’t affect my written expression but my writing mechanical capacity. I struggle with writing by hand, but I am quite gifted with the task of putting my ideas on writing with the help of technology. As a matter of fact, I usually organize my thoughts through writing, so my iPad is almost like a best friend!

My third grade group is right now discussing the comparative adjectives, so it seems that my second English class, after the first class discussing “The Butterfly Circus,” will be about superlative adjectives. I won’t be seeing them today: I leave early on Fridays. Usually their English class is on the mornings on Fridays, instead of being in the afternoon like the rest of the week, but today, as an exception, their English class will be in the afternoon, so today I won’t be seeing them.

I am eager to give my first class on Monday! Here is my lesson plan: The Butterfly Circus

Let’s keep growing!

My Presentation Letter

Today I created a presentation letter for the parents, using the template of a fellow student teacher from the School of San Juan. It is a fun presentation letter, full of color and with my most basic information. I included the web address of this blog, in case anyone of the parents want to know what I am doing with their kids, they can know right away. If you are a parent of any of my students, welcome to my teaching blog!

Here is the pic of my presentation letter:

Presentation Letter.jpg

I still have not started giving my assigned third grade class. I am in the preparations to start giving the class: I am observing the class and trying to learn the names of everyone while observing them (today I discovered that I have already learned three names), I am planning an interest inventory to know how my students are, I am talking with my cooperator teacher to know where the students are and what I must teach, I am coordinating a meeting with the differentiated education teacher (also known as special education teacher, but I prefer to use the term “differentiated education” or “exceptional education”) to know which reasonable accommodations I must take in count when planning my classes…

There are few things to do prior beginning to give an ESL class. I am on those kinds of things during these days. One of those things is recording my cooperator teacher’s beginning routine so I can make his same routine when giving my class, because I think that it creates continuity in the learning environment and that is easier to the students to learn when there is some continuity between the different teachers in the classroom. Today I am going to do those recordings, so I can practice the welcome song and the today’s song, among other practices of my cooperator teacher’s beginning routine, during the weekend.

This week I had been doing a lot of desk job, and I am not used to be on a desk so much time, so in my lunch break I go to the hallway just to walk. Students are prohibited from running in the hallways, they have the Physical Education class for that, and they do run a lot in that class (my third grade class has ESL class just after Physical Education, and they enter to the classroom with very red cheeks). Although the students know they are forbidden of running in the hallways, three of them begin to run there. A teacher catches two of them and punishes them: they must remain seated the rest of the lunch break. The third student hides behind a door, so the teacher does not see him, but I do see him. The poor student jumps, freaked out, when I walk besides him: he did not saw me coming. I adopt a serious face: “you know the rule, and you know the consequence…” The student defends himself: “the teacher did not saw me”. I erase the seriousness of my face, put myself at his height and try to be more understanding with him: “Let’s see, we are going to make things wrong because others can’t see us or we are going to make them right because we want to grow as persons? Relax, I will not tell the other teacher that you are here, but please answer my question…” The student relaxes when I say to him that I will not tell the teacher he is there and answers my question: “I am going to make things for growing.” Then I say to the student: If you know that the norm is not running in the hallways, that your classmates were punished for running in the hallway and that you were running in the hallway too, what is the best thing you can do?” The student answers me quickly: “not running in the hallway again, although I am not seen…” I tell him: “Besides that, what else you can do?” This time the student does not answers me so quickly, so I just smile to him and tell him: “Let’s think…” The student concludes by himself: “I can go a sit down with my punished classmates and accompany them, although the teacher did not catch me…” I smile widely: “Exactly, very good. Go and seat with them, and do not run in the hallway again…”

My lunch break was over pretty soon after that, so I came back to my desk to keep working in the preparations to start giving ESL classes. I completed my philosophy of education.

In the third grade ESL class my cooperator teacher reviewed adjectives. The teacher asked for an example of an adjective. A student told him: “Your t-shirt is black.” The teacher said that it was an excellent example and asked the student to explain her example. The student answered him: “black is describing your t-shirt.” The teacher asked her: “What word is describing my t-shirt?” The student said: “Black.” The teacher asked her: “And what king of word is t-shirt?” The student answered him: “A noun.” The teacher asked her: “Why it is a noun?” The student said: “Because adjectives describe nouns.” The teacher helps the students to understand the material by themselves. He keeps students connected and asks “why” a lot. I am observing and learning everything.

Today was a great growing day. Let’s keep growing!

My Teaching Practicum Classroom

Today was the first time in my life that a student called me “teacher.” She was a fourth grade student that wanted to ask me something. I did not realized she was talking to me the first time she said “teacher” because I had never been named that way before! When I did not answered her, she pulled my oxford shirt and almost shouted “teacher!” and then I finally realized she was talking to me. I laughed and apologized to her: you are the first person who calls me teacher.

Today I also received the permission to create my lesson plans in the school practicum time because I don’t have power in my house yet due hurricane Maria. That is a huge help for me, because I am very limited without electricity at home.

In the first of the morning the fourth grade had a test about adjectives. The theme of the test is rainforests. A student asked me what “warms” means, another student asked me what “feathers” means and the same student came back to me to asked me what “conspicuous” means. I knew the first two words by memory but I needed to check the third word in Google to know what it means. Besides asking the meanings of some words, they needed no more help. They completed the test by themselves without any problems. It was during that test I was called “teacher” by a student for the first time.

At the other periods of the morning and in the first period of the afternoon I helped my cooperator teacher, teacher Richard, to correct yesterday’s third grade test. It was also about adjectives.

At the second period after recess I knew for the first time the group that I am going to be teaching as student teacher: third grade. The two earlier days I needed to leave at 12:30 pm and that class begins at 1:20, that is why I did not meet them before. The teacher presented me as their student teacher and we discussed the test I corrected.

Now I am going to describe my teacher practicum classroom. It is a big classroom, with 26 student chairs and a student worktable with three chairs. It has two teacher desks, one per cooperator teacher (two cooperator teachers give class in the same classroom, at different hours), one computer desk with a computer used mostly for printing documents and two reading corners with many, many, many books. The classroom also has a Smart Board, a whiteboard and five bulletin boards.

I located myself in the student’s worktable, because there is a big power outlet for my computer right beside that table. The students use that outlet to charge their tablets.

Here are some pics of my teaching practicum classroom.

Classroom1

Classroom2

Classroom3

Classroom4

I like my teaching practicum classroom a lot, it has a lot of creative and thinking space. Technology is a plus!

Let’s keep growing!