California Standards for the Teaching Profession: Standard One
ENGAGING & SUPPORTING ALL STUDENTS IN LEARNING
1.1 Connecting studentsí prior knowledge, life experience, and interests with learning goals
1.2 Using a variety of instructional strategies and resources to respond to studentsí diverse needs
1.3 Facilitating learning experiences that promote autonomy, interaction, and choice
1.4 Engaging students in problem solving, critical thinking, and other activities that make subject matter meaningful
1.5 Promoting self-directed, reflective learning for all students

 
This is a note I intercepted during my initial student teaching. It is meaningful at quite a few levels. First, it is not the only note like it that I had seen. All of the notes this girl writes are asking people if they are still her friend. That says quite a bit about her self image. I wonder what I could do to help her improve that, or if it is just a part of being a preteen girl.
 Second, I look at it as a fantastic writing sample. It was created in a moment of interest and desire to communicate. For a child that claims to hate writing, she has chosen to use this format rather than just asking her question at recess. If I were alone in my own classroom, I might have taken a few minutes to talk about how to write informal notes, as well as when it would be appropriate to deliver them.

 Lastly, I was surprised at the whole incident of capturing the note. We were correcting five-a-day when I saw the note. I walked over, picked it up, and continued to focus on the correction going on at the board. That whole side of the classroom was at complete attention for the rest of the activity. It was as if in one silent moment, I asserted authority they had not expected and it threw them off balance. I was also surprised at my own reaction. One of my big struggles in student teaching is the constant flow of questions and judgment calls. I think this is the most tiring part of teaching. In this case, however, I began to feel that I knew what to do without second guessing myself. It changed the whole day for me, as well as the rest of the week. I am beginning to feel more confident in my strategies, as well as my ability to deal with the results of those strategies, both good and bad.

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