Well, he was right. Out of the eight students, he was the only one that ended the semester with a passing grade in my class. So, it looks like I will have to reevaluate my approach for motivating students to improve their performance in my class!
At the end of the semester, I look back and reflect upon some of the biggest learning experiences I have had thus far. I was extremely thankful that my cooperating teacher gave me autonomy in the classroom. I feel that I learn best when I am up front experiencing the triumphs and failures of teaching firsthand rather than having my hand held. And make no mistake, I did stumble from time to time. Usually this occurred when the proper planning was not in place. Lessons that I decided to carry out just off the top of my head usually ended dismally. There was no way I could prepare for tangents and unforeseen circumstances having given appropriate thought to all of the variables I could encounter.
Of course, I like to focus more on the successes of my work. At my final student teaching placement, I really honed in my ability to connect with students and develop deep rapports with some of them. This not only made me feel more comfortable in front of the class, but I also feel it helped my students relax and increase the likelihood of completing assignments. I also learned a great deal more about professional learning communities. Throughout the entire semester, I worked closely with three other teachers in order to develop an effective global studies curriculum. Because all of the resources were shared on Google Drive, we rarely lost each other in translation to our own personal classes. The uniformity of the lessons after careful planning made the learning for the students much more meaningful.
I am going to miss my time at West Hills High School dearly, and I know that the skills I carry with me professionally from this point forward are going to be of great value. My thanks go out to the entire student body and staff of WHHS, and to my students, thank you for the awesome semester. I will miss you all!