Middle School Observations

Circle Middle School

By Sarah Ingrim

Teaching & Learning Environment

Almost all of the classrooms were very warm and inviting. I could tell the teachers are passionate about the subject they teach, and want to pass that knowledge onto their students. Music was used by many of the teachers when the students had individual or group work time. There was one class that I felt the music was too loud and was more of a distraction than quiet background noise.

Student - Teacher Interactions

The student - teacher relationship was different than what I saw at the elementary level. At the elementary level there is more "mothering" and dealing with small details like tying shoes and buttoning pants. At the middle school level those things have already been mastered and the relationship between student and teacher is moving closer to a peer relationship. I could tell the students felt comfortable asking questions, and there was also some good natured teasing and joking around. Not all of the students have mastered when it is appropriate to joke around and when it is time to work, but the teachers did a nice job of getting the student back on task without drawing too much attention to it.

Student - Student Interactions

Watching the students interact at Circle Middle School was very interesting. I could definitely see the different cliques that are common in schools: the athletes, the class clown, and the rebel. The students that were in the same clique were very comfortable with each other but when they had to work with someone outside of their group they were usually very hesitant and awkward. I have to say that in my short time there I never saw any students being outright mean to another, which was a pleasant surprise. Even though they might not have had the same circle of friends they were cordial and willing to help each other.

Atmosphere

The overall atmosphere of the school was professional but welcoming as well. Beginning with the ladies in the front office to the students walking through the halls, every one was polite and friendly. The school decided to implement CHAMPS (a classroom management system) this year and I could see how it carried over from class to class and into the hallways. This gives the students very concrete guidelines on behavior and they know each teacher's expectations. I think this helps contribute to the overall positive atmosphere of the school.

Most of my experiences at Circle Middle School were very positive. I was able to see several different teaching styles and came away with some ideas that I will use once I have my own classroom. One of the teachers I observed had very little interaction with his students and was not a very good example of how to actively engage students in the lesson. Even though I enjoyed my time observing at Circle Middle School, I still prefer to work with younger children.