Clinical Experience Hancock College Prep High school

Welcome to Selena's clinical Observation blog

Selena Gonzalez

TCH 212

A little about where I was...

In Fall 2016, I had the chance to complete my clinical observation hours for TCH 212 at John Hancock College Prep High School. I was in contact with the Assistant Principal, Natalie Garfield. Three full days were spent at Hancock High School.

Before coming to the school, I had done some research on it. I found some of the protests that were held between the teachers and students on the Chicago education system. I found the demographics of the school and the achievements that these students have accomplished. From my own experience in high school, I expected students to be as fluid and obedient as my peers and I were. I expected classes to run smoothly and teachers to be orderly and stick to reading their material and moving on. I did not expect for the students to be as vocal and as knowledgable of the outside world. They were so smart and realistic about the world. Their perspectives really gives you a reality check to the idea we get in college. The way the students understood the readings was a completely different take than I expected. These teachers used technology in their own way.

One of the classes that I spent the most time in was Mr. Norvilas U.S. History classes. There were two sections a general U.S. History class and an A.P. class. The second teacher I observed was Mr. Jarmoc. I observed and participated in his AP U.S. History and diverse learners mix class for U.S. History. The third teacher was Mr. Jimenez; I was in his Latin American History classes of seniors and his freshman class of World Studies.

Methodolgy & Technology

Technology was used in the classroom to show videos, and pictures to connect to the lessons. Mr. Jimenez connected today's music to connect to a poem from Sor Juana. He tried bringing in technology as resource into the classroom. During this lesson, the computer malfunctioned, so instead, he sang the lyrics to the senior class. I had never seen a teacher be so willing to embarrass themselves. There were several methods that I wanted to use in my own classroom and this was one of them. Being able to completely dive into the lesson and be vulnerable in front of your class to be able to make sure they are staying interested is what I know I would incorporate in my lessons.

There were some things that surprised me like the amount of phone usage in the classrooms. I know I would want to stay away from some of the methods that were used. If phones were used, there would certain restrictions in how and when they could be used.

The usage of technology completely changed my persepective on it in the classroom. From my own experience, it was always prohibited as a resource. In some classes, nothing was told to the students even if they were obviously not doing what they were supposed to be doing. In Mr. Jimenez's classes, he prohibited phone usage. His class was so intriguing and fast-paced that it would be hard to comprehend his lessons while on the phone. In all the classes, they did have an understanding of what the technology rules were. To be an effective teacher, there will always have to be a method in the way you use your technology and general resources.

The one thing I'll take back the most is to use what my student's are willing to pay attention. In this case, it was technology. I know now to be willing to expand my horizons and stay up to date.


Before I knew anything about the school, the way I was connected to the principal and assistant principal was quick and helpful. I believed they would be flexible, intimidating, and caring about students. They were all of these things and included many other great attributes. Each teacher had their own personality and way of working with the school's rules and expectations.

Mrs. Garfield was surprised at how early I was to meet with her in the mornings that she even (jokingly) offered me a job. The way that she and the teachers connected to the students, showed how they cared for the students, but still kept it professional and respectful.

I realized how I would really have to put effort into my exterior and the things that I found funny. From these observations, I realized that if I act goofy I can also be stern in the classroom. Another lesson I learned was that I have to be balanced in creating healthy relationships with not only students, but also, my staff and administration.

The strictest teacher that I observed was the one that broke into song during class. If that was not the most surprising thing, I don't know what else would be. It made me realize that this is your daily job, and if you do not make it fun, no one else will.

Not all the classes were as enthusiastic, but they all used their personalities to create their lessons. Different approaches in the class room is good for students to be able to work in various environments. I took away the observations I made while Mr. Jimenez took it upon himself to introduce me to his classes, to other teachers, and when he went out of his way to show me where to go for lunch. These kinds of things create a level of respect, which I believe is a part of your professionalism. It shows integrity and respect for your coworkers.

Understanding Learners

Before my observations, I expected students to automatically understand whatever lesson was being taught to them. I thought that for me to understand the way they learned was to know all of the information and to encourage questions and analyzation.

In context to being in History/Social-Science classes, what I realized was that most of these students have to be taught how to read and analyze. They have to be taught step by step how to read through the work. Teachers get interrupted and have to be fast on their toes to be able to know which students have caught on. The methods that we learn during our courses in college, are much more fast paced and have to be re-worked to fit the individual students while also being effective to the entire class.

While I was observing, Mr. Jarmoc had the students do some group work. I sat with two students and was surprised that a junior was unable to form a sentence, read and comprehend the paragraphs even after it was explained.

This was in a class that had a mix of gifted and diverse students. It was hard for Mr. Jarmoc to even know that this was going on while instructing the rest of the groups. Other classes had a different dynamic where there was not an occasion to see a teacher react.

Mr. Jarmoc explained how some students slipped through cracks because of the mixture because he has to go much more slower versus his other US History class. This is of course saddening to me because I would never want students to slip because they are in our classrooms everyday for most of the day.

I don't want to ever have that perspective where I can just give up on my student. This will make me a better educator because I will peruse my students to the best of my abilities.

Management of Physical Environment

I expected the classrooms to be like normal classrooms with everyone facing forward. The classrooms were each differently styled depending on the way that the teachers liked moving around the classroom.

My favorite styled room I have displayed up above. It was easy to collect papers, walk between, and also easy for the janitors to clean in between the desks.

I enjoyed seeing the different styles of classrooms because it created different vibes of the classrooms. I know I would like to move my classroom around to keep it interesting.

One of the teachers told me how he has changed his class room several times during the semester, while another does not change his classroom at all through the entire year.

The posters on the wall, the classroom style, and the entire vibe of each classroom fit the teachers' personalities and movements.

I am so excited to get my classroom setting to be educational while also interesting to look at. My classroom will be homey and enthusiastic because they spend more time in school than at home sometimes.

Diversity and Demographics

I knew that this area was a majority Latino area. It is hard to label and categorize the students, but majority of the students were Latino background.

Bilingual was used in the classroom which I noticed some students did not know Spanish, so they would miss the joke. In my classroom, I would make sure to create a standard of respect for other's cultures and perspectives. There would be a moment of learning for different perspectives.

Interestingly enough, they self-categorize themselves and do not use the Latino/a label.

Some classes embraced the diversity of the students and some did not. There was a class that embraced the Latino culture because it was a Latin American class, but then the U.S. History class would not because the teacher was Polish-American and it did not connect to the lessons.

I really believe that being able to be in a diverse setting is important for me because it is a passion of mine. I did not know that there was such an embrace for the Latin American culture in high schools. I want to make sure that my students become cultural competent beings. This will improve my students as citizens and in my own professional career.

Thank you!

Have a happy end of the semester!

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Selena Gonzalez

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