Before I say what beliefs or presumptions I had that were changed by my CFE, I must explain what my CFE was. I helped design and run programs for the Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster. Most of the programs cater towards primary school classes brought in by their teachers. There are a good variety of programs; some scientific (like testing the water quality of the Fraser or about the Sturgeon Life-cycle), some creative (art inspired by the river), some historical (archeology, people who lived on the Fraser, fur trade). Overall it was great and I learned that I enjoy puppeteering.
But what could such an experience do to challenge my preconceived notions? There is a reason why I want to teach secondary school students. I have heard that primary students are unruly and will slowly drain the joy from your life, like miniature pint sized vampire kidlets. I did not completely believe this, but it still effected me. After the CFE, however, I feel much more comfortable about teaching primary students if needed. I would still prefer secondary, but I could manage primary. As a corollary, I had expected the younger students to be the more problematic ones, but the Ks-2s were almost universally well behaved and engaged. That one group of 3’s? Not so much.
Would I say I “knew” I wanted to avoid elementary level like the plague? Not really, but it was a general feeling I had and now it has changed.