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Stefon Bowman Teacher Interview Reflection EDUC 327

Teacher Interview Reflection


My collaborating teacher for field experience was Mr. Thomas Smalls. He is a native of Orangeburg, South Carolina and has been teaching for two years. Mr. Smalls has taught at Mellichamp Elementary School for two years. In his third grade class, Mr. Smalls has twenty-six students. Twenty-two of his students are African American, two are Hispanic, and two are White. He hosts a more predominantly male classroom with fourteen boys and twelve girls. In Mr. Smalls classroom, he is challenged with dealing with diversity amongst the students, accompanied with the results of his students being from adverse homes. When asked how he met the diverse needs of his students, Mr. Smalls said, I teach to meet the diversity of my students by using different instructional strategies. These strategies range from having interactive lesson, lessons that involve note taking, and also lessons that requires students to hear and pay attention to videos. While being in Mr. Smalls classroom, I witnessed him administering different kinds of assessments. Though he used them for grades, he was also able to see where his students were and whether he needed to go back and reteach concepts. I asked him whether he thought that teacher made assessments or commercially made assessments were more successful in his classroom. He answered by saying, I think a balance of both is the best method. Teacher made assessments are successful because since you are the one making them they are directly aligned to your instruction. I am a fan of commercially made assessments because they are

Stefon Bowman Teacher Interview Reflection EDUC 327

usually aligned with the standardized tests. I also asked him about his student assessments and how they help him inform his instruction. He said, My student assessments inform my instruction by letting me know what I need to reteach, focus more on, not focus so much on, and what I need to continue doing because that particular method worked. Sometimes the assessment results also let me know whether the assessment was aligned to my instruction. Mr. Smalls also believes that his assessments provide sufficient information to make decisions about whether his students have reached a desired level of proficiency. I use my teacher made assessments to measure the progress of my students on a weekly basis and I also ask questions throughout my lessons to get an idea of my students proficiency levels. Before going into the class, I was interested in the grading procedures that teachers had because sometimes you may find different ways that grades are calculated. When asked about his grading procedures, Mr. Smalls was very clear. He stated, We are required to use the district grading percentages to calculate students grades. Additionally I use teacher observations, and formative assessments to assess students achievement. Their achievement is a culmination of their work in the class. I also asked Mr.Smalls about his lesson plans and how they correlated with the goals and standards of the given curriculum. Our district curriculum is written based on the state approved standards for mathematics, ELA, science, and social studies. These standards are reflected in our daily lesson plans. Our goals reflect the expected student outcomes. Mr.Smalls did believe overall that formative assessments helped him more

Stefon Bowman Teacher Interview Reflection EDUC 327

in his class. He stated that formative assessments inform my instructional practices and were key to assessing students readiness for the next lesson or level. Seeing first hand a new teacher in the classroom, I was able to witness for myself the effects of curriculum and how important it is to choose and use assessments in your classroom wisely. I will be able to take my experience and make plans to implement within my own future classroom to help me be a better teacher.