Teaching week round up – placement

Before my observed session I was teaching my Year 1 group and that was quite challenging with one student in particular being quite disruptive. Nothing major, just non stop talking, interfering with other learner’s work and such.

The students had been tasked with choosing a company from a provided list and creating a poster presentation (the simple flip chart and marker kind but with rich pictures included). The task was to discuss which internal and external factors affected the business they had chosen and to consider strategies for combatting those pressures.

They worked in groups of 4 and as I had 16 students in it worked well. It made best use of the space we had too. I gave them the option of choosing their own groups but as some of them were not paying attention (too concerned with our disruptive member) I changed my mind and I selected the groups. There was some disgruntlement coming from the group which had not been paying attention and I took the opportunity to point out that had they been listening they would have been able to work together as they wished but they had missed that opportunity. This had the desired effect of making them more attentive and splitting them up also helped.

The task went well with all groups producing some good work. I asked each group to select one member to present their poster and for the other members to field questions. This worked well but there were two boys (Mr disruptive included) who were talking incessantly despite efforts to quiet them. They were each on different teams. When it came to the second group to present I asked respectfully for silence and for people to pay attention and it worked for a few seconds then the two boys started chatting yet again. When it came to the third group I chose the person who was going to present and it was one of the two chatterbox lads. He protested at first but he protested even more when (as he started his presentation) I invited the rest of the class to start chatting among themselves about what they watched on TV last night and to completely ignore the student who was trying to present. I instructed him to try to gain control of the class and everyone’s attention.

After a minute he gave up, he sat down, put his poster on the desk and looked very dejected. I asked what was wrong, he said “Nobody was taking any notice of me, I couldn’t make everyone shut up and now I don’t even want to present the poster, I don’t feel enthusiastic at all because no one is even interested”.

“Do you see what it’s like for me teaching and for your fellow students presenting now?” I asked

“Yes” he said “Can you please make everyone quiet so I can present the poster?”

I did so and guess what? Chatterbox remained silent too for the rest of the lesson and even for today’s lesson I noticed a distinct down turn in the volume and frequency of his previously incessant noise.

Today was easier then and we had a good session even though it was mainly an assignment mop up session, I managed to help a couple of them address issues raised on feedback from their previously marked work. I had a good chat with one student about how case law comes about and precedent.

I also managed to coax two of the more artistic students into entering a World Skills competition focusing on visual merchandising. I showed a video clip from You Tube which helped and it kind of followed on from one I used yesterday too. Both very useful if you’re teaching marketing or retail related units. I’ll include them in another post. I’m so glad they took up the opportunity and will really look forward to working with them on that project.

Also today I had an early start arriving for the 8am curriculum meeting and I really felt a part of the team today, massive inroads have been made in that respect and feeling confident to make comments and suggestions. We’ve had some fun staff room moments this week and I think I’ve shown the side of me that was being overshadowed by what I don’t know, myself, attempts to discredit me… misunderstandings… I’m not sure. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and if teaching was a pudding I’m a decent enough one. I’m hard working, quick to learn and a good team player when there is a common goal and I feel part of that common goal now.

I covered a computing class today too, well two of them so around three hours teaching in all. I was only going to sit in but ended up teaching and offering guidance and I was strangely comfortable with doing so. I took a few moments to research and understand what the students were doing and was then able to be of more use than a baby sitter. They were struggling with a concept and I was able to find materials online to help them make sense of what they were doing and to discuss and comment on it with them.

I didn’t really appreciate until today that one of my most valuable skills as a teacher is my ability to self teach myself practically anything and to absorb it very quickly to the extent where I can regurgitate or practice it confidently. I’ve done a lot of self teaching as I was very ill during my degree and also had to work to make ends meet and had trial after trial to contend with so now I’m glad that was the case as it really honed an already evident skill. I’ve self taught so many things in my time from plumbing to gardening, law to piano. I’m not afraid to give anything a go and it was good to know that I’m still quick on the uptake.

My mentor (our dept lead not my usual mentor that I refer to) said she was impressed with the way I handled the situation and how I was able to find useful resources to help the class make sense of what they were doing so quickly. It didn’t feel like much to me but clearly it mattered to her and so I was just happy to help out. Nothing worse than a teacherless class.

Word of my handling of the observation situation the day before had also got back to the team and so I was on trainee teacher cloud 9 today feeling accomplished and as if I’ve proven my worth and grateful to be able to show what I long ago suspected, that I’m just made for this job. Got to blow your own trumpet there are enough people out there who are ready to bring you down, or at least try.

It’s been another great teaching week and I really am enjoying being a part of a fab team and being privileged enough to have some part to play in the education and development of these young people. There were times I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it for one reason and another but here I am, doing it and loving it… even the challenges.

Family time now and then I have an essay to write. Teaching is a tiring job but a rewarding one. I never thought I’d feel this satisfied after a day spent working for nothing, who needs pay?

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