Comparing and Contrasting: This urban school experience in many ways was a counter example to my previous urban school experiences. I did not feel a particular friendliness or unity within the school community, and it seemed like students had an extremely difficult time staying focused, especially in the choir class. I had never seen a high school class as chaotic as this choir class was. Though there were similar issues (such as poverty) with students in this school as there were with students in the other urban schools that I've visited, I have been reminded that it is not easy to generalize qualities amongst different schools and communities. Every community and school environment is unique and though there are similarities between urban schools or suburban and rural schools, I will have to approach a new teaching job without making too many assumptions about the culture and the students. Instead of making these assumptions, I will instead do my best to become very familiar with the culture of the area that I teach in as quickly as possible in order to practice culturally relevant pedagogy.
Philosophy and Classroom Management: Though this may change down the road, I do not believe my philosophy of teaching has been significantly impacted because of this experience yet. This experience has reminded me that even if I am having a tough day teaching, I need to clearly show that I genuinely care about my students’ success and education. This experience has also reminded me how important it is to have very clear and organized classroom procedures and rules in order to minimize issues and learning distractions during the school year. The experience in the choir class has left me less confident in my ability to keep my class under control. I believe that I am perfectly capable of keeping a class under control, but this experience has taught me that having this control is not something that happens automatically, even in high school. To improve upon this, I will be sure to work on this during student teaching and I will be sure to have discussions with my cooperating teachers and with my peers about classroom management. I will also re-read The First Days of School by Harry K. and Rosemary T. Wong before I start my first teaching job.