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Elizabeth Pickle
Dr. Ellis
Education 1301.200
November 19, 2014
As I reflect back on the experiences of what I gained through classroom observation, I
learned the most important trait a teacher can posses is flexibility! I had an absolute wonderful
time getting to watch how Mrs. Casstevens ran her second grade classroom and interacted with
her children. The three lessons I took away and that will stick with me until the day comes for
me to teach in my own classroom are flexibility, time management, and the importance of
student interaction. I believe those three things are the foundation of creating a successful
classroom and an effective school year!
As I was walking down the hallway on my first day of observation, I had a mindset of
how the classroom would look. I pictured a neat, tidy room with colorful wall dcor, perfect rows
of desk and students sitting snug in their chairs working on lessons. Memories of my second
grade class came to mind (which, by the way, was in the same school)! I thought of the lessons I
learned and was excited to watch them be re-taught. Boy was I wrong! I came in on a day where
the class just came back from a field trip. They were completely off schedule. It was brutal! And
truth be told, if I had any knowledge of the field trip, I would have chose another first day to
start. The perfect example of the classroom I had envisioned compared to the reality I walked in
on was comparable to the two classrooms in the movie, Toy Story 3. I had envisioned a

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classroom structured like the Butterfly Room only to witness a classroom resembling the
Caterpillar Room! I say I would have rescheduled my day, but in reality, it was a great lesson to
see how the teacher coped with the unexpected. It reminded me that even free days take just as
much work, if not more. Throughout my observation experience, I learned that while the daily
schedule may serve as a visual aid, it is okay if Math extends over from 2:00 until 2:37 because
of extra practice. It is worth much more to cater to a struggling student than to a pre-printed
schedule. In addition to flexibility, the teacher sets the mood of their classroom when things do
or do not go as planned. Their attitude ultimately affects the demeanor of the students day. What
a huge responsibility and talent to have!
Another talent to posses is the ability to manage time without an alarm clock or an aid. It
may not seem like a hard task (honestly, it didnt to me), but I saw firsthand with 23 second
graders the transition from art to English, and it is not pretty. I am led to believe that teachers
have a built in internal clock or instinct about 10-12 minutes before subject change. It really is
neat to watch them smoothly glide from one subject to another. It truly is second nature from
what I witnessed. Another branch of time management talent is the ability to keep the lesson
interesting to all 23 students during the entire time allotted for the lesson. Take Math for
instance. A lesson on using the number chart for addition and subtraction may be super easy to
some students, but super challenging to other students. While the teacher was going over yet
another problem to have the struggling students understand better, I continually noticed her call
the names of the students who were already done with their worksheets to take part in helping to
solve the problem. For example, Mrs. Casstevens: Johnny, if the word problem asks how many
we will have altogether, will that be addition or subtraction? Susie, if Im going to add 59
how many tens would that be? I saw that it kept the majority of them in the lesson, and their

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attention from wandering off to where they would get into trouble. Not to mention, it may also
have helped those who were struggling not be so embarrassed. Doing all that in the forty minutes
allotted for second grade Math made the lesson lively, not so drawn out, and educational for all
of the students.
Lastly but also very important, is how the teacher interacts with her students. I sincerely
believe that a teacher has to have a passion to love and know each child on some sort of personal
level. I have not met an early childhood education teacher who treats every child exactly the
same across the board. Typically, it is wanting to make a difference in a young life that motivates
a person into becoming a teacher. Today, unfortunately, children do not come from the same
family dynamic and homes back compared to twenty years ago. Coming from a home with both
a Mom and Dad who are still married seems to be a minority today. Typically, the majority of
homes are dual income homes so children go to a daycare, babysitter, of after school program
once they leave school. Children are not home as much as they used to be. I say this because
while children see much and go through much more today than compared to twenty years ago,
they bring their home life with them to school. They may not be vocal (although some are), but
their actions and attitudes speak loudly. Teachers have a way of reading their students. While
observing in Mrs. Casstevens class, there was a little boy who constantly pushed his boundaries.
When the teacher said Time to line up, he would run the other way. When it was time to write
spelling words, he would cut his list with scissors. In the middle of lesson, the teacher had to stop
instructing to move his desk. In the 3 weeks it took me to observe 16 hours in that classroom,
this little boys desk was moved 5 times! He is super smart but he just chooses to make poor
choices. Never once, did I hear the teacher yell at him. Never once did I hear her talk down to
him. At the end of class one day, I asked her about him. I asked how she could stay so patient.

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She simply said, The problems he has, has nothing to do with this class. She explained that a
little further and then explained that she could pull her hair out and make both of their time
miserable together by punishing him for every offense, but she chose to pick her battles. She said
after 38 years of teaching, you start to learn which battles to fight and which to leave alone. Very
wise words. At the end of every day, she would call students to her desk to pick up their folders
to take home. Every time that little boy came to her desk, she would tell him You are so smart,
I love you. She made sure to let him know that he was valued. I am sure that will stick with
him for years to come. It will stick with me for when I have a strong-willed student in my
As I reflect back on my observation, I learned that being a teacher is not about how to
teach a curriculum. It is not about having a job where you have holidays and summers off
(although that is a perk). It is a job about making a difference in lives of students. To mold them
into the adults they will grow up to be. I got to observe an awesome teacher teach her second
grade class and was blown away by her techniques and wisdom. The passion that rubs off of the
teacher to her students may be the very passion that keeps a child in school. By being flexible,
possessing time management skills, and interacting with students on a personal level, I cannot
think of a more solid foundation to use when starting a rewarding career of becoming a teacher!