My pre-internship experience was one that I will never forget. I was encouraged to try new things and focus on different strategies as time went on. I taught a Math 9 class and a Foundations 20 class, and they were both taught two completely different ways. Even though I was the teacher in both of these classes, the way I taught and the strategies I used differed. I taught Math 9 through an inquiry approach, whereas Foundations 20 was taught through a more direct teaching approach. I learned through pre-internship that no two classes can be taught the same way. When I attempted inquiry in my Foundations 20 class, it failed; however, when I used inquiry in my Math 9 class, the students were engaged and were loving it.
I also had to differentiate my instruction and assessment a lot throughout pre-internship and I had to make adaptations to some of my assessment strategies to fit the students’ needs. Some assessment strategies I used were: (1) observations, (2) peer assessment, (3) entrance slips, (4) hand-in assignments, (5) concept checks, and (6) unit tests. Each one of these assessment strategies allowed me to view where my students were in their learning and what I needed to spend more time while I am teaching. My students loved having these different forms of assessment. When students had to do the peer assessment, I was shocked by the advice I had seen on some of these students’ assessments. Several students gave tips on how to solve the question differently and other students gave great feedback on how their peer was doing.
Inquiry was a strategy that I focused on greatly throughout pre-internship; however, I also realized the importance of direct teaching as well. After attempting and failing at an inquiry lesson in Foundations 20 I turned to direct teaching. My notes were fill in the blank and there were multiple examples in the notes that we went through as a class, and that I got the students to attempt. When I turned to direct teaching I had several students come up to me afterwards and say that they love how I am teaching and how my notes are laid out. I also had students tell me to continue teaching this way because it was easy to follow and they understood each step.
In my Math 9 class that I taught through inquiry, I had some students share with me that this was the first time they have ever learned / understood math, and that this was the first time they have ever excelled in math. Several students mentioned that by doing the hands-on activities they are developing a deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts than they would if it was taught from a direct approach.
In conclusion, I noticed that one teaching approach doesn’t necessarily work for all classes, and that to teach successfully you need to have multiple approaches under your belt.