H3 – Honor the classroom/school community as a milieu for learning: Teacher-candidates implement classroom/school centered instruction, including sheltered instruction that is connected to communities within the classroom and the school, and includes knowledge and skills for working with others.
The classroom will be an environment in which students feel safe and inspired. The community established and skills acquired will enable the students to interact with one another in the classroom in an appropriate way, as well as other communities within the school. This learning acquired in the classroom will promote further learning in a greater community setting.
As direct evidence of H3, I have attached the cover to the Molly’s Pilgrim that I read in response to some issues our classroom community was suffering from. Unfortunately, there has been an increasing amount bullying in and outside of our classroom. From making fun of a new student because of the way she spoke English, to creating a game in which involves passing “the touch” of one student that spoke to some sort of germ, and passing that on to other students as some sort of secret tag game. Referred to by a fellow colleague, I read Molly’s Pilgrim to my students. Molly’s Pilgrim is a story about a young Jewish girl that is having a very hard time in her new school. Moving from New York City to a smaller town, Molly doesn’t fit in with her classmates, especially because of a bully named Elizabeth. Molly has to drag herself to school each day, hating it knowing that when she arrives she gets bullied. Crying to her mother, Molly is determined to not let her mother know that anymore bullying is going on so that her mother does not talk to her teacher. In school the next day the class is learning about Thanksgiving, a holiday that Molly doesn’t know about. When Elizabeth starts to make fun of her, their teacher reminds the class that Thanksgiving is a holiday that was based on a Jewish holiday. When the class gets an assignment to make pilgrims at home, Molly has to explain to her mother what a pilgrim is. To her mother, a pilgrim sounds like them. So she makes a doll for Molly that depicts a Jewish woman. The class laughs when Molly shows her doll to them but her teacher stands up for her and tells the class how Molly’s family are modern pilgrims. Molly gains more confidence and even gains a friend at the end.
During the story, I allowed students opportunites to relate to Molly, asking questions such as “how would you feel if you were Molly?” and “would you want to go to that school if you were her?”. As an assignment at the end, I had students write a paragraph asking them if they were students at Molly’s school, what they would do to stand up against bullying and create a better school environment for Molly. As a teacher in a classroom that wants to create a safe and loving environment for all students to learn and grow, I felt it my job to step in to promote change. I’m hoping that this experience provided a chance for students to step outside themselves and notice the effects that bullying has on others.
By reading the responses, I learned that children are innately very caring. Often times, I think that children get so caught up in themselves, peer groups, and popularity to notice their effects on other people. As a teacher, it is my job to provide not only academic learning experiences, but social learning experiences that promotes students to think about other people and the effect that they may have on them.
As a full time teacher that has my own classroom next year, I need to remeber to integrate lessons that focus on the stability and closeness of my classroom enviornment. If students feel safe, valued, and accepted, I have provided them with the foundations to overall sucess.