Food Journal Reflection

Over the course of this summer B term – the most challenging assignment for me was keeping an active food journal. It was a surprising struggle to be mindful in tracking my eating, exercise and sleeping patterns. Initially I perceived my eating habits as very healthy; I exercised regularly and sleep well most nights. And though at the end of this experience I am still as healthy as an eater I assumed I learned that I have few habits I could work to eliminate from my lifestyle. Those habits were stress snacking, and drinking too much coffee and mindless eating at social events. The stress being the biggest proponent of these concerns, and this crossed over into my sleeping pattern and regular exercise.
Looking back at what I logged the first week I noticed some positive trends in my diet/lifestyle. With the exceptions of Sundays, I have the same breakfast, lunch and mid- day snack: a fruit smoothie in the morning, for lunch a veggie salad and lean protein (one teaspoon of olive oil) and for a mid-day snack some mixed fruit or veggies with hummus. I exercised at least four days a week and was active when possible (i.e. walking instead of driving, planning active activities with friends like beach volleyball etc.) and every Sunday I go on a long distance run with a close friend.
However, I noticed a trend that in the evening I tend to not be as mindful of what I eat or the portion size. I also noted that I snack (more than needed) after dinner as well. When looking at my water intake I was not drinking enough and seemed to compensate with too much coffee. I reflected that this over eating or “mindless snacking” occurs at night because my brain is off “school/work” mode and I tend to mull over the various stressors in my life. This is, I am assuming, what is causing me to not sleep as well. I thought I could function on five-six hours of sleep but know we all need seven –eight hours. I saw the trend clearly: stress leads to over- eating/high caffeine intake which effects sleep that curbs energy to exercise. The following week I tried really hard to maintaining my eating habits (which sometimes was derailed due to birthday in class treats!) and not over snack. I started drinking more water and forced myself to go to bed early to get more sleep. I am already seeing the results from it but am still in progress to fully eliminate and improve these tendencies.
I can see how this would be a great tool for students. It could help them and their family track positive and negative eating/lifestyle patterns and become motivated to improve on their diet and lifestyle. Students tracking what they are putting into their body in relations to its effects on their sleep, activity ,health and school work will make them see food as fuel and not just “stuff” they crave or mindlessly eat. This will make them care about what they eat and care about their lifestyle, giving them the tools to carry this mentality into adulthood successfully.
This could also be put into the classroom by integrating it into various subjects such as math, science or writing. Like measuring their food properly, learning what makes up their favorite foods, and keeping a journal that tracks their reflections on the matter. It might seem daunting to my future students to keep a food journal, and I will fully anticipate their resistance (since I had many reservations and struggles with it myself) but once they make it a part of their daily life , the positive effect it will have is sure to leave a lasting impression on their lifestyle. Which, I believe, it paramount in the learning experience for children.

Advertisements

small reflection

Yet again, I had another great day observing microteaching in the classroom. I am really enjoying observing my peers slowly reveal their teaching styles, and practice. And though we all have much to learn still, it still amazes me that we maintain a safe and supportive environment for this process. Everyone thus far has handled constructive critique and seems to take it in thoughtfully, which instills my belief that they will be fine educators one day. Because if we are not always reflecting, re-learning, and learning something new then how can we call ourselves “teacher”?

Microteaching

On Tuesday I experienced my first microteaching lesson. Working in a group comprising of two other classmates we came up with a lesson based around promoting positive image for sixth graders. The collaborative process alone was a learning experience,and for me, the first time any ideas /planning for lessons were to be acted on. Truthfully I was completely focused on the content and activities we had planned that I put the thought of how I wanted to seen as a teacher in the back of my mind. Overall the lesson was successful and I received some great constructive critique on the content /delivery (it was a learning experience after all). But what really made me happy was feedback from my instructor and peers on how my demeanor towards them as “students” was and the questions I would ask them. It made me feel confident in being on this path towards education. Connection with students and forging a positive relationship with them is important to me while guiding them though the learning experience. Though I have much more to learn and experience – this felt like a great start to my journey in the classroom.

How High Can You Jump ?

The end of the school week on Friday was one filled with intense focus, competitiveness and emotions strung high. I am talking about a relay race involving hula hooping and jump roping, and rhymes created by the various groups. My group came up with a dolphin rhyme to jump rope to (inspired by the dolphin card we picked). It was a fantastic reminder how everyone, old and young needs a little friendly competition and exercise to get you off the couch/out of the desk and re-start your brain. It made me think of how I would give my students a break that incorporated some exercise and working with others. Some of my favorites in class games I recall on are musical chairs, scavenger hunts and some spirited relays (for the classrooms that had an entrance to the playground). Not only does it burn off some mid morning energy, it also wakes you up post lunch. Making one more alert and attuned to a lesson to follow afterwards.

Teaching Through the Fear

Today was a day filled with microteaching presentations. Watching my peers put themselves in the “teacher shoes” made me feel very proud of them. It is nerve racking as a student teacher to present and teach a lesson to their peers, all the while knowing they will be assessed afterwards. I reflected later today that there is no need for us, as a group, to feel intimated or nervous to practice teaching. What is a better environment to take risks, try new techniques or lessons then one filled with teachers? We are being trained to effectively assess one another, with professional respect of course. And we also are inherently wired to be active participants in an activity and engage in the learning process. Which is why, I wonder, so many fear their first year of teaching? Or, presenting new lesson plans/curriculum to their students? I think we forget, with all the busy thoughts grasping at professional perfection, that part of the learning experience is the process. It is with the release of nerves, or the “what ifs”, that we can reveal our ever evolving teaching style, learn from our mistakes, reflect on constructive critique and rejoice in success!

Issues on student abuse/neglect: a small reflection

Today I participated in a workshop on identifying and reporting neglect/issues of abuse in our students. I came into class this morning with an attitude of “I already know how to identify these concerns”, this is mostly due to my background of working in health care. However, I quickly realized that I did not in fact, “know everything” in terms of what constitutes abuse/neglect and reporting from a teachers perspective. I found that issues of neglect and abuse are not so black and white. For example, what will I do as an educator when a student’s parent simply cannot afford to buy them prescriptions glasses? Is that a form of neglect? This is the type of question that brings into play the idea of how we view poverty and its effects on the student and their families. I was reminded to not be quick, in some scenarios, to judge the parents ability of caring for their child when facing other challenges such as poverty. Rather then labeling them as neglectful, I could guide them to other resources to help, in this case, get proper glasses for said student. I realize this is just one minor facet of a heavy issue for an educator, but I feel satisfied, thus far, with some new revelations on the matter.

Food for Thought

Recently, I have started keeping a food /wellness journal and the process is reminding me of other reflective tools I will be using as a future educator. At first I was very resistant, but forged ahead with it ( I won’t deny that I actually had to …because it is a school assignment!). The first couple of days I looked at my journal with resentment, but started to realize I did not want to write anything down because, insert dramatic gasp, I didn’t want to take a hard look at my eating, sleeping and exercise habits!
Though I eat relatively healthy and what not, I could improve on a few things. nothing extreme, but have developed some new goals like drinking more water, getting more sleep and trying to lay off the extra three cups of java. With this I have started to think what tools I will use to reflect on my teaching practice. It’s been an easy journey to keep a journal and record my experiences as a student teacher, but will I do this as a teacher? I am hoping to keep reflective journals, in some shape or form throughout my practice and not let personal insecurities or trepidation hold me back from looking clearly at the way I teach. However, if I can keep a food journal, I this will be possible.