Reflection on Methods Lab and HOPE Standards
My methods laboratory experience has been a truly educational opportunity. Even going once a week has proved to be fruitful! While reflecting on the Standards of HOPE and how they are being implemented in my methods classroom, I am torn between distinct truths. On one hand, my mentor teacher does a fantastic job of respecting student diversity (Standard H) by utilizing a variety of ethnic authors in our class readings, as well as being careful in leading respectful, tolerant discussions in class. She also practices effective teaching (Standard P) in the sense that she always has a lesson planned and prepared. She is organized and always makes sure to have everything set up for teaching before she actually teaches. My mentor teacher also undoubtedly exemplifies true service in the teaching profession (Standard E) by being a sincere, kind hearted instructor who is constantly seeking to serve her students. However, I strongly feel the curricula she is forced to teach is not nearly as challenging and effective in promoting student engagement (Standard O) as it could potentially be. The school that I intern at has just recently put into motion a district-wide curriculum that, in my opinion, is as restrictive as it is beneficial. The curriculum is comprehensive; therefore, teachers are required to follow unit and lesson plans almost word for word. So even though this has many benefits—consistency in each department, organization across the district, and an easy way to assess each teacher (if his/her class is on track with the curriculum, then he/she is doing well)—I still am struggling with it. I struggle with the fact that the curriculum forces teachers into a box. They are not allowed to take risks, to be inventive, to try things that may not work, or even to be original. Everything is regimented. So when it comes to the standards, I do not feel my methods classroom offers a challenging curricula. I can only hope that with more time, I may see that the benefits of this comprehensive curriculum outweigh the restrictions. However, I must wait and see!