Ch. 1 -Biographical Sketch

My name is Randi Koehler and I teach 7-12 Agricultural Education at Lawton-Bronson High School, in Lawton, Iowa. I recently completed my third year teaching  Ag Education in Lawton. I received my Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Education and Life Sciences and my Bachelors of Science in Agronomy from Iowa State University. Along with those two degrees, I hold my coaching endorsement along with working toward a STEM endorsement. With teaching, I also serve as the head Freshmen class sponsor, the FFA Advisor, and Head Wrestling Cheer coach.

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Almost Finished!

I can’t believe that I have less than a month until I am finished with student teaching! The time has flown by a lot faster than I anticipated. I have enjoyed my time and am sad to see it ending, but exciting to be finishing and starting a new chapter in my life. My next chapter will be very exciting since I will be starting a brand new Ag program at Lawton-Bronson! This experience has been awesome and has taught me a lot about myself.

A Great Day

Today was subdistrict FFA contests. The students did an awesome job competing in their contests. We will be advancing 3 students onto districts next Saturday contests! I was a happy teacher seeing my students succeed like they did.

Tonight will be spent writing 4 lesson plans for tomorrow. 2 of which will be my first time teaching those courses and 2 in which I have taught before. I am excited to be taking on 4 classes tomorrow, but wish I would have planned a little better. Definitely procrastinated a little this week.

Half Way Done!

Yesterday marked the half way point for my student teaching experience! The time is flying by so quickly and I am not ready for this experience to be over! I have learned so much from my experience, from my teaching style to learning more about myself. Even though I am half way done and have learned a lot, I know I still have more to learn.

This upcoming week will be a very busy one for me.  On Friday, we started a new trimester with mostly new classes. Since I was not there on Friday because of being at my student teaching midterm meeting. Tomorrow I will be going downhill skiing with the FFA Chapter for a chapter activity. I have never been skiing before, so this will be an interesting and fun experience. On Monday, I will begin teaching Farm Business Management, Animal Science and 8th grade exploratory. Tuesday I will be taking students up the the Hawkeye Farm Show to work at the FFA Booth, Wednesday is when sub-district contests are and then Thursday and Friday will be full day of classes. Even with a week like this, I super excited and ready to jump feet first and take on this challenge!

As I head into this week, I know to stay positive, even if something does not go according to plan!

One Month Teaching

I have been teaching classes for 1 month now, and been in my student-teaching experience for 5 weeks! The time has flown by and I am enjoying every minute of it! There have been ups and downs in this past month, but it all has been a great learning opportunity to me grow as teacher.

In this past month I have organized and planned a class field trip for 38 students, taught lessons and labs and had my first supervised visit from Iowa State. To me and the students, the field trip was a success and the students enjoyed both places we toured. I also learned a little about myself from this experience. I am definitely a worrier and like to have details and specifics. Another thing I learned was that I need to relax and not worry about the things that I can’t control (like the weather).

For my lessons and labs, I need to learn to prepare more in my lessons in case we get through everything I originally wanted to. In one of my labs, students had the opportunity to inject water into bananas if they wanted to, but only 1/3 of the students did and the lesson ended earlier than I expected. Since that happened, I just allowed the extra time for students to work on their project that I assigned a few days earlier.

My supervised visit went well and I was way more nervous about it than I needed to be. I thought that I would be distracted and very aware of being observed, but I wasn’t. By the time my two classes were over, I forgot that I was being observed and was relaxed throughout each class. He said that I was doing a great job and had very little to improve upon. This very encouraging as well as disappointing because I enjoy having constructive criticism to help improve my teaching.

I am very blessed and thankful for this amazing opportunity! I continue to grow every day in my teaching and as a person. I am thankful for the continued support from the good Lord, my family and friends! Every day I continue to look for the positives in life and teaching!

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and

                                 Start being positive about what could go right!”

One Week Down

On Friday, (January 16, 2015) I finished up my first week of teaching 2 classes full time! To me, I felt like I did an okay job and knew that I needed to change a few things in the way I teach. The beginning of my first week was a little rocky but did get better throughout the rest of the week. By Friday, I was thankful the weekend was almost there! I was also excited for Friday because I had the opportunity to go up to Independence and tour the Heartland Acres Agribition Center! The reason that I was touring was because in February, the students in Agricultural Classes will be touring there and I needed to create a worksheet for them to do. Since I am doing this for my class, they asked me to also create a worksheet for them to have for other high school groups that come to tour! I was very excited about this opportunity and makes me look forward to going back! If you ever get the chance to go to Heartland Acres Agribition Center in Independence, Iowa, do it!

For improvements that I think I need to make from week 1 to week 2 are:

The first thing that I figured out that I need to change is how the students gain the new information. I realized by the end of the week that I was really only reaching 2 different styles of learning. Another thing I learned was that I need to be more strict on classroom management. This was and still is a hard thing to grasp, but I hope that by the end of this upcoming week that I will have it down. Lastly, I realized that I need to use more of a teacher voice instead of my “we are friends” voice. The students sometimes do not listen to me, unless I have a stern voice.

Overall, I found out that for my first week, I actually did a pretty good job. I am very thankful for my cooperating teacher, and that he gives me his honest opinion and tips on how to improve my lessons. I still have a lot to learn from him and can’t wait to see what the rest of the semester has in store for me!

1st Day of Teaching Lessons

On Friday, we started 2 hrs. late, but I was just excited about going to school. I started my morning with Flapjack Fridays (this is for the entire month of January on Friday). Flapjack Fridays is a day that we make pancakes “flapjacks” in the morning before school starts and FFA members can come down and enjoy breakfast along with socializing with other FFA members. This allowed for me to socialize and get to know the students a little better before I began teaching full time. Friday went by way to fast and made me a little anxious for Monday.

Sunday night, I was full of excitement and nerves to be teaching my first lesson and taking over the Animal Science and 8th Grade Exploratory classes on Monday. I worked on finishing up my lesson plans before heading to bed (which I was to anxious to fall asleep at a decent time).

Today (Jan. 12, 2015)  was a great day! I started my morning finding out that I had past the Praxis II: Pedagogy, which means I now have passed both parts to the Praxis II and will be able to receive my license for teaching after I graduate in May! This served as a confidence booster and just made me even happier than usually.

The first lesson/class I taught was on Livestock Diseases. From this lesson, I learned that lessons don’t always go the way you plan. I ended up doing most of my lesson a different way than I planned, but it still went well. Personally, I felt like I didn’t do that good, but after talking with my cooperating teacher, he reassured me that the lesson went better than I planned. A few things that I know that I will need to continue to work on is my introduction and using my teacher voice (which I thought I was doing, but wasn’t quite loud enough).

The second lesson/class I taught was an 8th grade exploratory class. This lesson again, didn’t go the way I anticipated, but it ended up still working. One thing from this lesson I learned was the classroom management is not an easy thing to do. I struggled with being loud enough to quiet the students and gain their attention back. This proved that I do need to work on my teacher voice.

Overall, today was great and has me continuing to look forward to the rest of my student teaching!

2 hour delay……I will take it!

Today school started 2 hours late, but I was just excited to be going back to school! It was a great day of classes and observing for the most part. I did get to help students in the 8th grade exploratory class today, which was a lot of fun and makes me excited for the rest of my student teaching experience. Throughout the day I continued to work on my lesson plan for the Animal Science class and planning a field trip.

I very excited that on Monday I will be full time teaching the Animal Science and 8th Grade Exploratory classes. I’m a little nervous, scared, excited, anxious, happy, etc. just about all the feelings possible, I am feeling. This will be one of the first tests to see if this is really what I want to do, but after today, I feel like it is!

Just found out I have another 2 hour delay tomorrow for classes, but at least I get to go to school again!

 

Student Teaching: Day 1-3

On Jan. 5, 2015, I started my student teaching experience at Union High School. I am very excited to start the last part of my college journey before graduation. It is hard to believe how fast my last 4.5 years of college went by, I feel like I just started college as a freshmen yesterday!

My first day of classes (Jan. 5, 2015) went well since I was only observing the classes. The students were squirming and talkative since they had just come back from Christmas break, but they were also excited about the snow storm that was supposed to hit later that afternoon. Around 1:45 pm, it started snowing while I was on my way to the middle school to end the day. By the time school was over, the afternoon activities had been canceled. Later that evening, school was canceled for Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I spent part of my day working on a lesson plan for the Animal Science class, contacting people about a class tour in February and setting up my portfolio that is due at the end of student teaching.

Today (Jan. 7, 2015) will be a very similar day to Tuesday. I plan to continue to work on lesson plans, my portfolio, and contacting people about tours for all the Ag Ed students.

Finally, I hope that I have school tomorrow and can continue to learn from my experience in the class room during my student teaching experience!