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Reflection Paper

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Anna Pino

Dr. Fleischer

EDG 2701

27 March 2006

In-School Reflection Paper

For my service learning project I worked in Mrs. Evelyn Costa's first grade class at Meadowlane Elementary. Meadowlane is located at 4280 W 8th Avenue in Hialeah, Florida and was constructed in 1957. There are one thousand one hundred and seventy seven students enrolled at Meadowlane Elementary school. Meadowlane has fifty three classrooms and fourteen portables and there are one hundred and seventy nine students per grade level. The school was built on nine acres of land. The student population of meadowlane Elementary is comprised of 97% Hispanic, 2% White, and 1% Asian.

For my service learning project I worked in Mrs. Evelyn Costa's ESOL class. Mrs. Costa's class has twenty five students in her class. Her class is a level two ESOL class. Her class is comprised of students from different countries Many of her students come from non-English speaking households. Some of the students speak English in her class; other students stay quiet because they are not allowed to speak Spanish and have no way of expressing themselves.

When you look at school from the front of the building it looks nice and clean but when you walk inside the building the looks dirty, and in need of repair. The school does not have enough trash cans and cleaning personnel. The school needs to repainted and cleaned. One day I was passing by the boys and girls bathroom and there was a strong smell of feces and urine around that area of the building. I did not like the fact that these children had to use an unsanitary bathroom. Most of the bathrooms in the school were dirty and smelled like urine and feces.

On my first day observing the students at Meadowlane Elementary I interviewed the teacher. Below are the questions and answers to the questions. Mrs.Costa, how do you work with students from varying cultural backgrounds? I try to treat everyone equally but the fact is that we all have biases. As a teacher I noticed that I try to teach gender roles to my students. For example, I get the little boys to draw cars for art time and get little girls to draw dolls and tea sets,other than that I try to be a teacher that is equal to all my students, no matter what they look like, where they come from or there gender, when they come into my classroom I am just interested in your brain and how well you use it. What challenges has this presented to you? I have not any problems in the eight years I have been teaching. How does the school's curriculum incorporate multicultural issues? The reading books are very multicultural. I like the way the books introduce different cultures. The books present difficult issues in race and culture in a pleasant way. Do the textbooks the students use reflect diversity? Yes, there are many different cultures and races in the textbooks at Meadowlane. I like the fact that the students get to learn about other cultures other than the Cuban culture in Miami.

When I first walked into Mrs. Costa's first grade class I felt tense and Uneasy. It was not because it was my first day observing at Meadowlane Elementary; it was because there were no warm and inviting decorations on the wall of the classroom. The classroom had no inspirational posters or kids drawings. The wall was just plain. I felt uneasy that the classroom had no decorations. I guess the teacher is a minimalist and she does not like to decorate the classroom. I asked her about it and she said that she did not have time to decorate her classroom. I asked her if I could her help her and she said no because then it will take her forever to take down all the decorations. If you ask me I think that is just being lazy. The children in that classroom deserve to come to a happy, inviting environment to learn. It's not easy for these children to learn in a classroom that is not geared towards young children. I have never seen a classroom that looked so cold and aloof. I felt like decorating the classroom and making it a happier, more inviting place to learn. When you walk into the classroom the children look so sad and scared. The children in this classroom did not act like normal school kids, they were all quiet, and the students did not interact with each other. The students just acted like little soldiers. Do not get me wrong, the teacher was not mean, she was just strict but I think she was too strict for the first graders. I believe that the children found it hard to interact with each other and learn because the teacher was too strict. If I were their teacher I would like to make the learning experience as fun as possible. I think the children will hate school if they aren't taught early to enjoy learning. In my personal opinion, I think the classroom environment Mrs. Costa created for her students was not appropriate for their age. The classroom had no decorations, and it was not child friendly. The classroom felt cold, and sad. Most classrooms in the school have cartoons with the alphabet and corny inspirational posters with Will Smith saying "Go to school or be a fool". If I were a student in that classroom I would not feel right learning there because it doesn't make me feel at ease or comfortable. I think that the classroom environment is very important. If the classroom isn't warm and friendly, the students are not going to learn as well as the children who are in a warm



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