*If you get bored reading this, just skim until you get to the interesting parts - because there are some VERY interesting parts. Mrs. Craig was the scariest teacher I have ever encountered, with the exception of my seventh grade science teacher, Mrs. Kaplan. Please look for "Little Miss. Butterball" and "She tryin' to take my man"...and there are some others. My observation day was un-f-ingbelievable.
Jessica Mason McFadden
Jessica Mason McFadden
EIS 201 Dr. Yuki Hasebe
Field Experience Paper
October 31 2006
Peoria Field Experience: A Structured Analysis of Classroom Observations
Topic 1: Description and Overview of the Learning Environment
The Peoria Field Experience is an activity created for future educators and aimed at providing students with a direct encounter with diversity in the school system. Professors and facilitators involved in planning the diversity experience hope that the program will increase students’ awareness and understanding of urban environments, as well as inform students so that they will be able to consider the proverbial strings that are attached to different educational environments. Being aware of the intricacies of diversity is often a fundamental contributor to the success of educators. Location informs educators about students’ potential needs, as well as provides educators with opportunities to meet those needs in a supportive environment (where fellow educators and institutions serve as resources).
Although I am not a student in the Education Department, I recognize, on an instinctual level, the importance of the Peoria Field Experience and others like it. As an English major, I know that it is likely that I will eventually become be faced with the prospect of becoming a teacher. So, I am grateful for the opportunity to be introduced to the learning environment, even at what I consider an early stage in the process. As a group of eight students, we drove to Peoria to observe classes at Irving Primary School. In the past, Irving has welcomed students from Kindergarten to fourth grade, but just this year, Irving began serving fifth grade students, as well. I’m sure adding a grade has been chaotic and difficult at times, but staff members seem to be adequately managing the changes. After speaking with the Principal at Irving, I was escorted across the street into smaller building, where the youngest students reside. I was placed in a classroom of first graders with an instructor, Mrs. C, who obtained her degree in education from Western Illinois University.
Aside from introducing herself, the first thing that Mrs. C said to me was that she was not going to allow the students to hug me. She warned me that they might try to hug me, but that she would stop them because she feared it would get out of hand. I was disappointed that the students would not be allowed to hug me, and I did not find her reason for not allowing hugs to be convincing. In retrospect, I think students, and people in general, need to be shown affection, and I do not think fear of chaos is any reason to restrict hugging all together (there is a time for learning and a time for hugging, I suppose, but can we learn anything from hugging?). Needless to say, I did not have a positive first impression of Mrs. C, but I was certainly willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and her students a fair chance.
After the debriefing she gave me on hugging, she brought me into the hall where I first encountered her students. They were lined up, facing forward with their legs crossed against the walls, waiting to use the bathroom—boys on one side, girls on the other. There were twenty students, ten of whom were identified by their teacher (and by society) as boys and ten of which were girls. As soon as every student used the bathroom, we returned to the classroom where I was able to observe their primary learning environment. The classroom, aesthetically speaking, was pleasant. Mrs. C had a candle burning throughout the day, so the room smelled like apples. In general, there seemed to be adequate resources in the learning environment. There were two computers in the room that looked to be about ten years old. In the center of the room, there were four rectangular tables. At each table, four students had permanent spots. There were four math books piled at the center of each table, four name tags glued to each table, and four plastic containers filled with crayons and pencils at each table. There were colorful bulletin boards, two large dry-erase boards, an overhead projector, four large wooden doors that opened into a closet where students hang their personal belongings, fans, plants, posters with giant letters and numbers, a Velcro calendar, little plastic lawn chairs, storage shelving filled with books, and plenty of antibacterial liquid soap.
While some of the expensive items seemed old, the paper and plastic items appeared to be new. I was happy that there were large windows on one side of the room that let in a lot of light, but I was surprised to notice that there wasn’t a reading area. I imagined a little area of the room might be set aside for activities that allowed students to be out of their seats (for instance, having a reading area with a rug for students to sit on or having a rug to designate a place where students can sing and jump around a little). The environment seemed restrictive in so far as its lack of space for movement. I find it somewhat troubling, considering how much young children require breaks and enjoy moving around. The environment supported student learning for the most part because it was stimulating and colorful, yet at the same time I feel that it did not allow as much room for interpersonal bonding and self-expression.
Topic 2: Description of Physical Development
As I said earlier, there appeared to be ten boys and ten girls. They were equally as interested and attentive to me, smiling and, at times, waving to me during the day. The students appeared to be between six and eight years old (only one or two may have been eight years old, most were in the six-seven range). They had well-developed motor skills and were physically engaged. During class, they were eager to use their bodies, often paying more attention in activities in which they were able to use their hands. During lunch and recess, it was obvious to me that they had gross motor skills. They were dancing, running, pushing, and hopscotching all over the schoolyard. In the classroom, they worked on their fine motor skills. Mrs. C incorporated hand and finger movements into her lessons. They sang songs about the days of the week and months of the year, during which they had hand signals to represent the words in the songs. They enjoyed any opportunity that they had to use their fine motor skills during the day, and it seemed to me that they had many opportunities to do so during their lessons. They had one written assignment in which they were asked to write words that the teacher spoke aloud (a dictation), so I was able to see their development of handedness. There was only one student in the class who was clearly obese. Most students had a lot of energy, especially during lunch and recess. Depending on the time of day, students either seemed bored and tired or bored and restless. Most of the time, they appeared to be restless and easily distracted, tapping their toes, swinging their legs, and looking around the room for distractions.
Topic 3: Description of Cognitive Development
There were a variety of subjects covered throughout the day, although it seemed that a lot of time was spent preparing for activities (i.e. giving directions, going to and from the bathroom, getting organized, getting dressed, packing up, and cleaning up). Some of the topics covered in class were spelling, phonetics (word sounds, pronunciation), vocalization, word/object identification or matching, creativity (having to come up with ideas as a group), decision-making (having to decide what they like and articulate their preferences), counting (days of the month and objects), and categorization (counting how many students have black hair, for instance). Many of the activities that Mrs. C implemented involved vocal, visual, and physical elements. She was careful to use multiple activities to approach each subject.
When teaching spelling and grammar, she changed her position in the classroom and the equipment in order to refresh students’ interest in the subject. First, she worked with the dry-erase board at the front of the room, writing a sentence and having students fill in missing letters and correct mistakes. For this activity, students had to write their answers in a notebook before they reviewed the answers as a class. After a bathroom break, they returned to the same subject, but this time Mrs. C moved away from the board and renewed their interest my holding a puppet. She said part of a word, the lion puppet says the first letter of the word, and then the students jump in and put the two pieces together, saying the whole word three times. The repetition helped students stay involved and the puppet maintained their interest. Other activities included counting syllables by clapping, listening to a tape and repeating sentences from the recording out loud, listening to Mrs. C say a word and, in response, identifying sounds in the word, and making shapes of letters with their hands as they look at pictures of objects in order to be able to identify consonants and vowels.
Students also participated in an artistic activity taught by another teacher, Mrs. Fleming. In the art class, they learned about fire safety and shapes and colors, while also expressing themselves creatively. Art class required that they exercise physical skills (particularly fine motor skills because they were coloring) and cognitive skills (because they were answering questions about fire safety and reproducing the shapes that the art teacher was drawing on their own pieces of paper). Drawing a house with fire safety equipment in it required that they make connections between the home environment and school. It also required that they be able to connect an image in their head with a projected image on the paper (in other words, drawing what they are seeing or imagining). They were given the opportunity to draw their home as it was and had the freedom to add any additional items to their drawing.
Throughout the day, I noticed that students had extremely short attention spans. It’s not that they did not want to learn or had consciously chosen to feel bitter and bored, it is simply that they had difficulty concentrating and were easily distracted. Their short attention spans require that teachers remain attentive and enthusiastic throughout the day, and, not surprisingly, this is very hard on teachers, often causing stress and creating a hostile environment in schools. I also noticed some of Piaget’s concepts in my observation. It was clear to me that the students in Mrs. C’s first grade class were either in Piaget’s Preoperational Stage or between the Preoperational and Concrete stages of development. During a counting activity, Mrs. C tested her students’ abilities to reason. She said, “If it is the 28th today and there are 30 days in the month of September, how many days are there until we get to 30?” Students called out a variety of answers. A couple of students claimed that the number of days was two, but when she handed each of the students a pointer and asked them to come up to the board in order to explain their answer, the students grew confused and were unable to explain their reasoning. One student held the pointer up to the number two on the board as her explanation. Another student pointed to the number 28 but could not go any further in his explanation. Mrs. C seemed frustrated that the students were having difficulty explaining their answers, but according to Piaget’s theory, children do not have the ability to reason at this young age.
Even when students attempted to provide reasons for their answers, it was obvious that they were only capable of using transductive reasoning. Not only was their difficulty with reasoning apparent to me, but I was also aware of an egocentric quality in their behavior. Some students showed evidence of departing from egocentrism when they expressed concern for others’ feelings and needs, but most were preoccupied with their own perspectives. They wanted to share things about themselves with me, and they were not able to consider how I would react. An example of this egocentrism is that students were eager to grab onto my hand and hug me. They did not consider my feelings beforehand, they simply acted upon their impulsive desire to hold my hand and hug me. According to Piaget and in my own opinion, the egocentrism and difficulty reasoning that they displayed is typical of this age. Many are in a period of transitioning from preoperational to concrete reasoning.
Topic 4: Description of Social and Moral Development
The primary interactions that I observed were teacher-student oriented. Mrs. C often addressed the students collectively, but she also called on individual students for answers and confronted individual students to address behavioral issues. I did not feel that Mrs. C successfully connected with her students. I was not under the impression that she was interested in helping them grow or engaging with them as individuals. I will say it plainly: In my opinion, Mrs. C simply had a bad attitude and terrible temper, and I feel sorry for any child who enters her classroom. The first interaction between Mrs. C and her students that I witnessed occurred in the hallway, as they were lined up, waiting to go to the bathroom— silent, legs crossed, faced forward, “gentlemen” on the left and “ladies” on the right. Although I did not see what caused the altercation between Mrs. C and one of her students, I saw the manner in which she handled the situation. The tone that she took with the child conveyed annoyance, hostility, disgust, sarcasm, and rage. It would break any person’s spirit—child or adult, and this is the tone that she used in interactions with students throughout most of the day. What made it even worse was that Mrs. C targeted the student throughout the rest of the day rather than giving her some space. I realize that Mrs. C may find this student’s behavior to be problematic on a regular basis (when I am not there), but frustration is no excuse for being emotionally abusive. I observed Mrs. C nag and intimidate the student multiple times. Even in the case that the student was out of control, she should implement discipline in a manner that is mature, collected, and instructive rather than explosive and mean-spirited.
Mrs. C expressed hostility and irritability throughout most of the day. She seemed extremely unhappy with the all of her students (which sends her students the message that something is wrong with them), but abusively targeted students who were distracted or disruptive. At times, she encouraged and thanked students for their participation, but spoke in a tone of voice that conveyed annoyance. Mrs. C did not encourage informal or unstructured play and friendly social interaction, yet she encouraged formal social interactions in the form of team work. She encouraged students to work together in groups to brainstorm ideas for a future in-class activity and made efforts to compliment them as they announced their ideas to the class. Students, for the most part, wanted to be liked by Mrs. C (despite her harsh personality). Most students were very enthusiastic about class activities, frequently raising their hands and volunteering answers. Although she might be a bit of a bully herself, Mrs. C did not tolerate bullying in her classroom. She set clear boundaries for students, especially boundaries related to respect. She did not allow one student to interrupt another, and at one point, addressed a disruptive student by saying, “When we’re talking, we’re talking as a team.” I think she set a good example and positively influenced her students when she said this because she included the student she was responded to rather than singling her out.
I observed two types of student-student interactions, the first of which occurred in the classroom under the supervision of the instructor and the second of which occurred outside of the classroom with distant adult supervision. The supervised student-student interactions that I observed were peaceful and pleasant. The students were not allowed to talk to one another throughout most of the class. When they were lined up to use the bathroom, they were expected to be silent, but I observed a lot of nonverbal communication between students. They frequently made eye contact with and smiled at one another, but the girls tended to interact with the girls and the boys tended to interact with the boys. This did not surprise me, considering they were separated into groups based on gender so often. The students were curious about each other, but the most common way they expressed this was through staring.
When they were allowed to work together in small groups, the students were primarily interested in their own ideas. One student showed social support for one of his peers when he noticed that she had her head down and was frowning. As soon as the groups were permitted to work on their own, he directly said to her, “What’s wrong, Sole? Don’t be sad.” I was touched and impressed by this gesture. He was clearly showing empathy by reaching out to his classmate, and his empathy is evidence that he is moving from Piaget’s Preoperational Stage to the Concrete Operational Stage. The student was departing from egocentrism by communicating with his friend out of concern for her well-being. At least for a moment, he was not preoccupied with his own thoughts and feelings.
There was, however, also evidence of egocentrism in the student-student interactions. I was particularly aware of this in the unsupervised student-student interactions. For instance, when I sat with students in the cafeteria and began to eat pretzels, they immediately began asking for pretzels. In fact, they all wanted pretzels. Once one person asked for a pretzel, they all began asking for pretzels. They were not thinking about me or the fact that I was losing out on my lunch, nor were they thinking about each other. They simply wanted to have what I had and what their peers had. I admit, though, that I did not know how to react to their pleas. Instinctually, I wanted to give them all of my pretzels, but I knew that doing so would be frowned upon. Once I gave one a pretzel, I realized that I had made a mistake because I would not be able to fairly put up a boundary. If I could do it over, I would either eat what they had to eat, bring enough food for everyone, or eat at a later time.
The unsupervised interactions between students were interesting and entertaining, as well. During recess, the students gathered around me. I was surprised and concerned to notice that there was only one adult in charge of more than forty children. Two students injured themselves during recess, both running to me for help. I felt needed, but I was primarily concerned because they did not have a trusted adult upon which they could rely. Some of the students were clinging to me immediately when I entered the play yard. It was as if they felt that the playground was their territory, so they felt comfortable approaching me and making demands of me. Some of the girls held onto my hands. They boys were more hesitant about approaching me, but one boy came up and hugged me. None of the children thought to ask me if it was alright if they held my hand, they simply grabbed on or wrapped their arms around me. This is evidence of their egocentrism—they wanted to hug me, so they hugged me.
I was very surprised to notice a drastic difference in the behavior of one student as she transitioned from a supervised to an unsupervised environment. In class, this student was polite, enthusiastic, helpful, and intelligent. In the schoolyard, however, I noticed that she was impolite, forceful, and hostile. She ran up to me and hid behind me, grabbing hold of my hand. When I asked her what was upsetting her, she responded in a way that shocked me. She said, “That’s my man. She tryin’ to take my man,” pointing at a classmate. The classmate responded, “She always cussing,” which upset the student even more. She immediately let go of my hand and pushed her classmate, yelling, “What you sayin’, girl?” I had to break up a fight between two first graders over a jealousy issue related to possessing a “man.”
Obviously, the angry student was mimicking a behavior that she had observed. While the scenario was entertaining, I should also note that this student was bullying her classmate by attacking her physically when she felt threatened. The student did not understand fully the message that she expressed to me; she learned it from another source and repeated it. Her statement implied that she had sincere, possessive or romantic feelings toward a male student, but it was obvious that a romantic relationship did not exist between the two. The peer relationships did strike me, at times, as unusual. The same student who was trying to keep “her man,” later became defensive with another student. When Mrs. C left the room for a moment, I overheard part of a conversation between this student and a male student. The male student called to me, saying, “Can you tell her to be quiet?” Before I could respond, the girl quickly responded in her own defense. She said, “I have one mama, and you ain’t her.” Her response struck me as comical and unusual, and again I assumed that it indicated that she was a clever impersonator and talented performer. Frankly, I did not know what to make of it. While a few students acted as though they were at an advanced level in their social and moral development (through mimicry), most students showed characteristics that are typical of their age.
Topic 5: Description of Personal and Emotional Development
During the field experience, I observed a range of emotions expressed by students—some of the emotions I observed were boredom, sadness, neediness, excitement, fear, anger, disappointment, interest, and happiness. I was impressed by the number of students who wanted my attention and yearned for my positive regard and compassion. In general, students were proud of their work in class and in need of a lot of encouragement. During art class, one student held up his picture, hoping that I would compliment his work. As soon as I expressed my admiration for his drawing, he smiled with pride and went back to work with confidence. He then began repeating the behavior, showing me his work and looking for my approval every few minutes. When other students heard me complimenting his work, they began holding up their drawings in the hopes that I would praise them for their work. Students were smiling at me all day long. By smiling back at them, I was letting them know that I approve of and accept them. One student who had been disciplined sat with her head down throughout the first half of the day. She was showing signs of low adaptability because she resisted new activities and tended to be particularly resistant during transitions between activities. I felt bad for the student because Mrs. C picked on her even though she knew that the student was upset. When the student looked over at me, I smiled at her in an effort to convey encouragement, compassion, and acceptance. She immediately cheered up, and continued looking over at me every so often to share smiles. I was not trying to make Mrs. C out to be the witch (that she is), I simply wanted the student to feel a bit less alone and misunderstood. I know that teachers can be insensitive (they’re human) because I was once a student. Growing up can be very difficult, so kids (and adults) need as much love, acceptance, and support as possible.
While offering a smile was helpful in some circumstances, other circumstances required specialized attention and care. One student became disruptive during art class. He was talking when the teacher, Mrs. Fleming, was speaking to the class. She asked that he move seats so that he and the student he was sitting with would not be tempted to talk with one another. He immediately became hostile over having to move. He sat in a new seat, but growled and stomped. After a few minutes of trying to work with the student, Mrs. Fleming moved him to the corner of the room, explaining to him that he was moved because he was disrupting the class and suggesting that he cool off so that he could join the other students. He then became even more disruptive, growling, showing his teeth, and moving his chair around. It was clear to me that he was seriously disturbed. He was extremely hostile and demanded a great deal of attention in his outward expression of that hostility (he was not able to contain his anger). He became so disruptive that he had to leave the classroom with an aide. When he returned, he sat down at a table and began crying. Mrs. Fleming comforted him by having him be her helper. He walked around the room whimpering as he helped her with a special task. His anger subsided and the hurt that was behind it surfaced. It was obvious that the student was experiencing emotional problems, although the emotional issues were not clear to me. The student showed high emotional intensity in his dramatic displays of anger. I am not convinced that his behavior reflected his basic temperament because I was only with him for a short time. He appeared to have some difficulty controlling his impulses, but he did not attack Mrs. Fleming or the students. He stayed in his chair and growled. By staying in his chair, he was at least showing some ability to control his impulses.
Topic 6: Description of Classroom Management, Motivation, and Self-Regulation
There is no doubt in my mind that Mrs. C used an authoritarian style in her management of the classroom. Her approach involved low acceptance and high control. At times, she was extremely rigid and at other times she was indifferent and patronizing. Mrs. C motivated her students through punishment, as well as verbal and nonverbal communication. She led activities and expressed her disapproval mainly through inflection, volume (sometimes whispering, sometimes shouting), gestures, and repetition. She constantly reminded them of the rules, but she did so in a harsh manner. Each time the students entered the classroom (before they even had a chance to behave appropriately or act up), Mrs. C immediately began criticizing and speaking to them in a disapproving manner. She was also overly controlling in her approach, impersonally trying to silence them by saying, “You are not talking because you are quietly thinking” and militantly declaring to the students phrases such as “You will be quiet.”
After lunch and recess the students had to jump into reading time without a transitional activity to calm them down. Mrs. C gave a very dramatic reading of the story, but her underlying bitterness soured the experience (at least for me). She went into the activity with a grudge from the previous day. As an adult, Mrs. C should have given them a fresh chance since it was a new day, but instead she started out by resentfully saying, “I don’t even remember what we were reading because I was interrupted so many times yesterday.” She should have acted like a mature adult and let go of the grudge, but she didn’t. During reading time, all of the students had to have their heads on the desks. I thought this was unnecessary and cruel. During a counting activity, she asked students to volunteer answers. The students struggled with coming up with answers. When one student volunteered an answer, Mrs. C asked how she came up with that answer. The student did not know how to explain how she came up with the answer, so she informed Mrs. C that she had guessed. Mrs. C responded by telling the student that “we do not guess in our classroom.” She said, “I don’t want you to guess, I want you to know.” I was truly shocked by this statement. The student was making an effort to answer the question and Mrs. C should not have discouraged her from making an effort. She should know that students at this age have a limited ability to logically reason.
When dealing with individual students, Mrs. C could be particularly cruel. She called on a student who was not paying attention. He continued to ignore her when she told him to turn around and face forward. Her response to his resistance was to say, “You’re going to be a very sad person.” I was shocked by a comment Mrs. C made to a student during an activity which required each student to put a picture on the board. After the student (who was overweight) put her picture on the board and began walking back to her seat, Mrs. C called her “Little Miss Butterball.” I do not know if the comment phased the little girl, but I could not understand why Mrs. C would ever call her this. It seemed very strange to me. And if she was commenting on the student’s physical appearance (which I believe she was), then it was inappropriate and cruel. Then, later during the same activity, another student was playing with his crayon box. She stomped over to him and screamed, “You are getting on my nerves. Stop it,” and then she took the box from him and slammed it down on the desk in front of him. This clearly was an ineffective, childish tantrum she was having in response to the student’s behavior. I think all of the examples that I have described indicate that Mrs. C’s management style had a negative impact on her students. I would be horrified to find out that my child was receiving an overwhelming amount of negative and abusive attention at school. Mrs. C motivated her students through punishment. She punished them relentlessly and gratuitously throughout the day. She also distanced herself from her students—and even worse, lacked compassion and did not show any sincere interest in them.
Toward the end of the day, students who had behaved appropriately throughout the week were allowed to watch a movie. Those who had misbehaved had to stay in the room with their heads down on their desks for thirty minutes. This practice seemed old-fashioned and extreme. During the silent time, the unlucky students smiled at and whispered to each other. A couple of the students fell asleep because they were so bored. During this time, Mrs. C ate pizza and entered grades into her computer. She screamed, “Put your head down and be quiet,” at any student who began to fidget or whisper. Only moments after screaming at a student, she let out a huge, loud burp (caused by the soda she was drinking). She paused as though she was not going to acknowledge the burp and then yelled, “Excuse me,” to my awkward dismay.
There is one additional example of the authoritarian management style that I witnessed at Irving Primary School. One of Mrs. C’s students was punished for coming into school late. John came in a couple of hours late and I did not observe anyone taking issue with his tardiness until he acted up later in the day. While waiting to use the bathroom, he did not sit up straight and face forward. Mrs. C yelled at him and told him to come over to the table at which she was sitting. When he came over, she began scolding him for misbehaving. Another teacher, who noticed that John was being scolded, joined in. She got in his face and said, “Who do you think you are? What’s wrong with you that you think you can come to class late?” There were a few things that disturbed me about this interaction. First of all, Mrs. C was overreacting by screaming at him. On top of this, another teacher jumped in and began tearing apart his character without really knowing what was going on. What I think is most disturbing about this interaction, though, is that the teacher was blaming John for his lateness. He is not an adult, so he should not be held accountable for adult issues. It should be obvious to his instructors that he is a child who does not drive himself to school. He is not in control of whether or not he arrives at school on time. It is his parents’ responsibility to get him to school on time, and so the instructors should be addressing the issue with his parents. It is not fair for them to blame him; they should never have put the burden on him.
Topic 7: Reflection and Professional Growth
My perceptions of children have not drastically changed because of this experience, however, my firsthand experience with first grade students has allowed me to consider the ways in which I interact with children, as well as to explore my feelings for children and adults. I learned about the degree to which children are able to remain focused on a given task. The experience reinforced some of my preexisting beliefs—that children are enthusiastic, that they respond well to positive reinforcement, that they need a balance between personal space and guidance, that there are limits to what they can comprehend, and that they ultimately want to be cared for and loved. I have also, unfortunately, learned that the authoritarian style of management is more common than I had previously thought. Problems in the classroom and in society continue, in part, because we do not ensure that teachers are prepared to effectively guide and support students. Mrs. C may just be an angry person, but her anger is having a negative impact on her students. It should not be this way. If Mrs. C is going to be angry all the time, then she should not be a teacher. Students will not benefit from her presence in their lives. I don’t know enough about Mrs. C to fully understand her approach, but I have seen enough to know that I would not want to be a child in her classroom nor would I want her to have an impact on my child. Sadly, her approach is all too common. Even in my classes, I hear students support this authoritarian approach to parenting and teaching. It is widely accepted, and I find this deeply disturbing.
I have not decided whether or not I will pursue a teaching career. It’s hard for me to determine how this experience might inform my future in teaching because I would never adopt an authoritarian approach to teaching regardless of whether or not I had witnessed Mrs. C’s approach. I do feel, though, that this experience has strengthened my thoughts and feelings about parenting styles. I will be very careful about who I allow to be in the presence of my children and I will continue to speak out about abusive behaviors like the ones that I witnessed at Irving Primary. This experience was enlightening because I was able to witness a disturbing reality. The discussions and lectures that we have had in EIS 201 helped me to write this paper by forcing me to articulate some of my experiences, but I feel that I would have been able to analyze my experience on my own and in my own way just as easily. I feel that I would have been better able to make the most of this experience by not having to follow such a rigid set of guidelines in my analysis, by being able to create a unique account of the experience. Given that I had to follow each of the guidelines, I was able to use concepts that we spoke about in class—particularly relating to parenting and management styles. Aside from having to follow unreasonably detailed and inflexible guidelines, I gained a lot from this experience.