Monday, November 25, 2013

Onondaga Nation School Week 5

Unfortunately, this week at ONS the school has pictures days and for the after school program we were kicked out of the gymnasium. Instead, I helped tutor some of the students, and help them complete their homework. I worked with the 4th grade students mostly on their spelling and math homework. This was a different experience for me. Both Monday and Tuesday were like this. 

Students seemed to be a bit more receptive to my help rather than their teachers. I believe this is because the teachers are in the classroom with them all day during school, and if the student was confused during class, sometimes it is nice to get a different view on the subject, and how to do something. For example, I was helping two girls work on their math homework, and I taught them how to split equations. They would ask questions like what is 6x4, and I would ask them what 6x2 is. When they would say 12, I would say now what is 12x2, and the students would come out with the correct answer. There teachers never showed them splitting equations, but for some students it is easier to complete harder math problems by splitting it into two questions.

This was a different experience for me as I have never tutored students before in their academic classes. I have mostly worked with students in a physical education setting. This experience gave me more insight to what an after-school program as a teacher from the school would be. I would never just be running a class in the gymnasium, as a teacher of that school I would be working with the students in all of the separate parts of the program. I liked being a part of the whole after school program rather than just the physical activity part. It made it much easier to connect with the students than to just have them play a game. I got to really communicate with them, and not just express that we only have 15-20 minutes and lets get right into a game.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Onondaga Week 4

This week at Onondaga I concentrated on getting to know the teachers that work for the after school program. The students were not in the gymnasium much this week because of having extra work since they had a nice 5 day break.

One of the teachers that really opened my mind was Sue. She is a retired teacher from Onondaga Nation School and is also a non-native of the territory. We spoke a lot about her experiences as a non-native of the territory, and how it affected her as a teacher. She told me that most of the issues she encountered were from parents and other teachers that are natives of Onondaga Nation. The students were always very accepting of her, but it seemed as if once they hit a certain age they changed. I could understand this because I never felt as if the students really were judging me. It was always a few little misunderstandings that never affected their respect for me as a teacher or affected how I taught them. This teacher told me even now in the after school program, the one women who works with us who is a native never really seems to speak with the rest of the adults. She always goes towards the students or the staff in the building that are Natives. It was interesting for me to hear because I did not notice it before she had pointed it out. Sue began to explain that this teacher never says hi to anyone or thanks any of us for our help, etc. It is always the minimum amount of interaction. I never noticed this because I am normally in the gymnasium and most of the teachers just sit next to each other on the side while I keep track of the game being played.

Sue continued to explain to me that parents always gave her a hard time as well. Whenever a student was not meeting expectations in her classroom some parents would make excuses saying that it is because she does not understand the culture, and their kids should not respect her classroom. I could not believe this when she told me. To me, what does the difference in culture have to do with the student not paying attention to learn how to do a simple math equation? I would better understand this even if she was teaching religion or a class about Onondaga culture, but she was a classroom teacher that did not teach culture to the students.

Sue has really opened my eyes to a few different things that could be possible situations for me as a teacher. I will never know what parents are going to say when their student is not exceeding in a unit, and many parents will try to blame me. I have to understand that because the parents say it, it does not mean it is always true, unless I am not doing my job. In any school I have to understand that not all people I am around will accept me, whether it because of culture or I am new or some other reason, but that is okay.

Lab Assistant #2

On Monday nights I am a lab assistant for the Sport and Splash program. I have seen Cortland students work with participants with a variety of different disabilities, and help them progress with skills in the pool. 

One participant sticks out in my mind. He is an adult in the program, but is very developmentally delayed. The college student working with him has 3 different participants, and does an outstanding job each week with all 3 of them. This one particular participant has been working on diving for the past 7 weeks. He started out with just kneeling on the side of the pool and falling forward into the water. Last night, for the first time in his life, he dived off of the low diving board. The excitement on his face when he got out of the water was so motivating. I was so happy to have experienced this milestone for this student as he saw it as a huge achievement which it is. This student has worked very hard to accomplish this goal, and with his instructor being injured for most of the semester, he has not had much of a visual demonstration, and for him to progress so much has been truly amazing to see. This participant is always inspiring other participants as well. He cheers on the two other adults that this Cortland student works with, he is extremely outgoing, always stops to say hi to all of the lab assistants. He truly is one of the nicest guys in the program, and I am so proud and happy for him to have achieved so much this semester. I believe that this participant and his instructor were a great match to work together this semester. The Cortland student pushes him to do his best each week, even though the other participants in his group are not at the skill level of him. He really gets the attention and instruction he needs.

I hope to continue to see the progress from for all the students in the pool. Hopefully this achievement of one student will continue to motivate and inspire the other students to put their hardest work into it, and they will accomplish just as much.

1 Hour

Friday, November 8, 2013

Adapted Physical Education Lab Assistant Hours 1

I am a lab assistant for the Adapted Physical Education class (PED 356). I do this for two different classes, and I sometimes am thrown into helping Cortland students with their participants, as their lessons sometimes fail very quickly.

This week I helped with a student from the BOCES program. He generally gives his instructor a hard time as he is young, non-verbal, non-visual, and is developmentally delayed. I worked with the instructor and gave him some suggestions of things that will work in the sensory lab. I had him hold different texture objects in his student's hand and ask for his student to give something other than verbal acknowledgment of the object. For example, if he likes how the object feels tell the student to smile and if he does not like the feeling of the object then frown. Often we know quickly when this student does not like an activity or a certain part of an activity as he will begin to cry right away.

I also spoke with this students aide at the beginning of the lab hour to see if she had any ideas for the Cortland student. She told me that she thinks he needs to not let the student just cry, he needs to work on keeping control. She explained that the student often will calm down quickly with different types of pressure on his back. I used this with the student when he began crying near the end of the lesson. I used my thumbs to apply pressure around the outline of the shoulder blades of the student, and he stopped crying faster than we had seen before. I instructed the Cortland student to do the same thing next time he sees his student begin crying, and sure enough he did as the student was walking back to meet to get on the bus, and he had the same result I did. He seemed to be excited to be able to take control of the lesson, and seems to be more confident now.

Extra Hours: 1

Week 3 at Onondaga

This was my first week actually implementing a game that the students did not know ahead of time. With the 4th graders I introduced a modified handball game. All of the students seemed to really enjoy the game, and all students participated without any problems. They were receptive to my instruction, and caused no problems at all. This seemed to be how it went for all of the students expect for the older students. The 8th graders wanted nothing to do with playing a game of handball. They gave me a lot of trouble, and the after-school director ended up just having them play a game of dodgeball. I had found out after about 10 minutes of trying to convince the students that handball is a fun game, that they had just finished their handball unit in physical education. This made it so they did not want to play anymore as they perceived it as a continuation of class. If I had known this ahead of time I would have planned a different activity. It was actually a bit embarrassing for me that these students were giving me such a hard time, and I could not figure out why until their physical education teacher explained to me that they had just finished this unit.

When the students started to give me trouble in the 8th grade, I thought it may have had something to do with someone outside of Onondaga Nation trying to come in and teach them. I soon realized that I have to forget myself that it does not matter where I am from or who I am, but that this is there after-school program. They do not want to do anything that is going to remind them of the school day especially right after finishing their homework. These students want to use this time as social time with each other.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 2 at Onondaga Nation School

This past week was my second week with Onondaga Nation School. On Monday I did not do as much as I thought. Mackenzie, the after-school program direction told me that she was implementing many new rules so again this week she would just like me to observe and act as any other teacher in their after-school program. She did not want to push too much at one time. The students did not have much time in the gymnasium either day that I was there because the days was shorter than normal. All students from grades 4-8 were in the gymnasium at the same time, and filled in as they finished their homework in the cafeteria.

At first, when it was just the older students (grade 7-8) I noticed that not many of the students wanted to participate. The other teachers and I spoke with the students and let them pick the game that they wanted to play so we would hopefully see more participation. The students picked to play dodgeball again. However, many of the boys did begin to participate, but the girls seemed to hide to the side of the gym. Once the younger students came in everyone began to participate. I did not agree that it was safe to have 4th graders and 8th graders playing dodgeball together, but as I brought it up to the other teachers they did not seem to care as much. All they said they would do was tell the older students not to throw as hard as they can at the younger students. I was extremely surprised by this reaction because even though this is an after-school program, it is still at school, and if they do not care for the students, they should at least want to make it a safe environment so that when one of those students gets injured, they can save themselves from a lawsuit.

I spoke with a few of the students, and they asked me if next week I can come up with games like dodgeball that they can all play together that would not involve the boys pegging the girls with the dodgeballs. I told them I would look up a few different games for them and see how they work. I expressed if I cannot find a dodgeball-like game, I would find something else that they can all ply together, or in smaller groups.

This experience so far as been extremely different than any other experience I have had this far. I am happy to see some of the students beginning to warm up to me, as the first week they seemed to look at me as an outsider because I do not live in Onondaga territory. I am going to introduce a few new games this week, and hope that all students including the older boys with accept them so I can help decrease the amount of dodgeball played in their after-school program.