Documenting of Growth
I am going to be reflecting upon how my experience as a teacher has changed from my first day of teaching in pre-internship to my last day of teaching in pre internship. I have provided pictures of my lesson plan, worksheet and target sheet from less #1 (you can see the real lesson plan under my lessons section – foundations and precalc 10) and I have provided pictures of my lesson plan and worksheet from my very last lesson (you can see the real lesson plan under my lessons section as well – foundations and precalc 10).
Looking back at this lesson, since it was the first ever lesson that I was going to teach, I clearly had everything down pat that I wanted to cover. I remember being quite nervous and I relied heavily on the notes I created in order to get through it. As you can tell/see from the pictures above, I wrote quite detailed notes on which order I want to present things, what I should say, when I should say them, when I should do what, etc. Looking back at the lesson now, I realized that I was more focused on getting through and making sure I touched all the notes I have made for myself rather then getting through the lesson and ensuring students understood the concept. I also didn’t really anticipate any of the questions that the students would be asking me, so when a student asked a question on the beginning activity or during the lesson I was quite flustered when I couldn’t find the answer on my notes. I guess one could say that those little pieces of paper were my comfort blanket up at the front of the room and if something when off of what I have planned/thought it was a little scary for me! My co-op told me that it is okay to have those notes but one shouldn’t rely on them and eventually, with time, I will be able to be up at the front without any notes in my hands and able to perform my lesson like it’s nothing.
My target was classroom management and I wanted to keep it as “strict” as I could. I wanted the students to listen to me and I wanted to get everything covered that I planned on. As you can tell from my target sheet, I asked my co-op to record (put a checkmark) for whenever I had to apply any of my classroom management strategies. There’s clearly a lot of times she had to do so because I kept implementing them. Also, she commented and said that when I first tried to deal with the management it worked and then slowly it turned back into the classic chatty loud classroom. Thus “at times the students stopped and moved forward but it was very inconsistent” as well as “it will improve the more you get to know your students”. Looking back now, I believe that I had too high of expectations for my first ever day of teaching. I need to realize now that it is more about getting to know each student and then creating more specific targets to try and tackle any difficulties that may arise. Yes, it was nice having the students quiet and always listening, but I felt like I was too focused on hitting my target rather than getting to know the students’ needs and focusing on the lesson.
This lesson had a completely different target than then my first lesson did (it was focused more on ensuring all participated) but looking back at my first target it made me realize how natural instinct that target has kind of become. Since I have gotten to know the students, and they have gotten to know me, my classroom management is kind of just a spur of the moment, natural occurrence. The students knew when they should be listening and quiet (when I’m explaining or talking) and they knew when they are aloud to talk quietly and be a little less “proper” during the lessons (class time to work on whatever I assigned). Don’t get me wrong, I still had to settle the class down every now and then, but it was not as often and painful as it was in the beginning. This kind of showed me that even though everyone wants to have the perfect, silent classroom, it is ok to let my guards down and have a little bit of noise every now and then. In fact, I kind of like having the little noise because it makes it less intimidating and more like a welcoming environment to me. Reflecting back on my lessons and notes that I had when I was teaching, I have realized that I’ve become a lot more comfortable up at the front of the classroom. Halfway through the second week, I stopped having my notes attached to my hands during the whole entire lesson. I still had them near me, they were on the table in front of me while I was teaching, but I only glanced at them when I needed to. Usually if it was for the correct answer in a question that we were doing. I became more confident with my lessons and teaching and started to become less focused on structure and more okay with freedom and spur of the moment questions. As you can also tell, in the picture of my notes, I have little to no writing of what I should say, do, etc during my lesson. I feel as though my lessons went a lot better this way due to the fact that I wasn’t so stuck on routine that if a little extra question or something off topic came up it didn’t throw me off all together.
Reflecting back on my first lesson compared to my last, I have realized that I have grown to be a lot more comfortable in front of a classroom and more open to anything that occurs. I have also realized that it’s about getting to know your students to create a better classroom environment rather than enforcing things to occur. Looking back at my first few lessons, I kind of feel like I was a bit of a control freak and wanted everything to go my way. I had things planned step by step, I had strategies to enforce silence and paying attention and I had a laid out plan on what to get done during the lesson. Teaching a class is not always going to be timed out perfectly, the class is not always going to listen and things are not always going to go as planned. I have learnt this in my 3-week block and am now able to deal with these types of things occurring. I am now more open to freedom and have realized that everything occurs to benefit not only myself as a teacher, but my students as well. I feel as though I have grown so much within these past few weeks I can’t imagine how a 4 month period of actual internship is going to change me as a teacher.