School: Lasalle Community Comprehensive High School
For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.
My first week at my host school was exciting and also terrifying, to say the least. However, upon arrival, my cohorts and I were met with a warm welcome by the administration and our supervisor. Prior to being immersed into the classroom climate, we were first debriefed on everything we needed to know about the school itself.
The first week comprised mainly of observation within classrooms that were not part of our focus subject at McGill. This offered a unique opportunity to get a sense of the different methods and dynamics of classes such as Math, Science and Biology.
Something worth noting was the encouragement of cellphone and technology use in the classrooms. Each student is assigned their own email to Google Drive at the beginning of the school year. From here, students may access resources such as class notes, homework assignments and schedules. Parents also have access to the Drive so as to keep up to date with what their children need to be submitting.
One example would be the math game, “Kahoot!”. The game, which is shown on the SMART Board (which are featured in all classrooms), allows students to use their cellphones to submit their answers to mathematical questions. The one who answers correctly in the shortest amount of time earns more points. This appeared to be a unique and fun way to get students to not only strengthen their mental math skills, but to also boost their enthusiasm of the subject.
Another main point to this is how responsible the students act when they are allowed to have their cellular devices. It shows a shift in the tradition power dynamic typically seen in schools. Now, both teacher and student are on the same level, having access to the same information and therefore learning together.
This was a pleasant surprise, and definitely affected me as a pre-service teacher. Initially, I would have disallowed the use of mobile devices in my classroom. But now, seeing how technology now has a strong foothold in our society, I have changed my view on it.
In closing, I would like to also touch on the great sense of community within the school environment. Over the week, I saw several murals and messages on the walls of the hallways that promoted peace and unity. The school’s slogan also promoted the same sentiment: “For the strength of the pack is the wolf; the strength of the wolf is the pack.” While a quote from The Jungle Book, what I took away from the slogan was that students, teachers and administration are all part of a single pack. The thought promotes an idea of inclusion and family, which certainly may boost the esteem and moral of students and administration alike. It certainly made myself feel better, as right away the school community treated my cohorts and myself as part of the pack.