Half day of teaching

In pre-internship one of our requirements is that we teach a half-day.  In that half-day we teach the whole morning or afternoon and all the subject that are scheduled for that day.  I did my half-day at the beginning of my third week. I was responsible for their board work when they came in as well as ELA, Spelling and the Math unit I have been teaching all along.  Another requirement is that our co-op leaves the room for short periods of time during our teaching.

Overall I thought the day went very well.  A couple of things that I noticed almost right away was that I need to expand my repertoire of tricks and skills for dealing with the class, when even after being asked several times, they don’t stop talking and pay attention.  I reverted to the good old if we don’t get through this you will have this for homework. While sometimes that is what has to happen, it is not something that should be used often. I reverted to that because I had no idea what to do what while I was in the middle of it.  I will definitely be brushing up on my tricks for this before internship.

The other notable thing was that when I had free rein of the time schedule I wasn’t as time conscious as I usually am and then ended up rushing through each subject to get done.  Rushing children is never a good idea because then they end up with a bunch of homework which is what happened.  In ELA we ran out of time because I had this sense that I could actually read a picture book quickly with out stopping to discuss every page. I don’t know why I thought that, in all my years of reading books to children I have rarely read a story straight through without a discussion

I do feel that in the case of the not listening that had I been able to continue the lesson the next day, I would have been comfortable waiting for the students to listen each time and taking all the time I needed to finish.  I did feel the pressure in both the Spelling and ELA that I taught to get what I planned done because it would be the only time I would be teaching those subjects.  I have been a little better in math not rushing because I know I have the next day to continue as it was my ongoing unit.

Overall my half day was great. I felt more comfortable teaching as my co-op was in and out of the rooms so my every move wasn’t as closely watched this time.  That is not to say my co-op is harsh but it was freeing not to be evaluated all the time.

We’ll see how this finishes for the rest of the week.



A not so ordinary day

Today was an unique day that deserves a write up.  It was unique in that when we arrived at the school we had no power the same as several other schools in the area.  It was business as usual though. The students were excited by the unexpected outage. They soon settled down and got to work, until we were brought a lantern to use in the classroom.  A discussion ensued about the best place to put the lantern. It is interesting how the littlest things that are unusual get students off track even in Grade 4. I was able to observe the creativity of the teachers to adapt quickly to make changes to their plans that were affected by the lack of power.  Teachers who had smaller windows/no windows had students sitting in the hallway working by the light that came through doors and other classroom windows. On days like today I am glad that I don’t often rely on technology in my teaching, although in my observations the lack of access to tech did not phase any of the teachers I was fortunate to observe. The power came back on and everything carried on like there was no disruption or power outage.


The two big takeaways from today were that as a teacher you need to be flexible and adaptable to whatever the situation needs and you need to always have a back -up plan for those situations, maybe even a back-up plan for your back-up plan.  


Week 2- I didn’t quit.

Well after an epic meltdown on Friday and Saturday of week 1, and considering giving up on my dream of being a teacher, I returned to my class.  Most of this week was a good week.  I continued to teach data analysis in math.  Teaching though is much more than content and what you are teaching. Its more about how you are teaching, how you are responding and what you are seeing, and there is a lot to see in a classroom.

Content is important in teaching and it is important to know your content well.  In preparing for this block, I spent a lot of my time learning my content and brushing up on graphing in Grade 4.  I felt very confident in my content knowledge and I thought that would be most of what I needed to be effective as a teacher.  How wrong I was.  There are so many moving parts to teaching and those parts change frequently.

One of the biggest parts to teaching is how you respond to the students.  Responding isn’t just about answering their questions.  Response includes how often you call on a particular student or students, what order you respond to hands up when they are working.  It is also about how you respond when they give you an answer that isn’t appropriate to the question, it is about how you respond when they share a bit about their life when they are supposed to be doing math and when they are off task, once twice or more times.  Responding and the huge impact it has on your teaching and the students was so eye opening for me.

I found you spend much of your time responding in one way or other to students, while y teaching ,when they are working,when they are coming in or leaving.  One of the big eye openers I had in responding was when my teaching partner and co-op, as part of data collection for my PDP, noted that I responded to almost all boys’ questions and helped them while they were working.  It was bad enough that many of the girls stopped raising their hand.  I had no idea I was doing this until it was pointed out.  It was not something I was doing consciously nor was I intending to neglect the girls.  I thought as I helped students I was attending to everyone.  I was so shocked and glad to have that information.  After that I tried to be more aware of who I was helping or asking to answer.   I was reluctant to call on students who were not volunteering. It worked out I was calling on the same few people.  My co-op gave me some tips on calling on the non-volunteers without making them feel bad.  Calling on non-volunteers is also a good way to keep them focused, who knew.

There were other positives about the week.  I managed to make a review on google slides and then use the smart board to show it.  If you know me using that simple tech is a very big accomplishment.  I also played 4 corners to do the review which was also something very new to me as well.  I stretched even further and we worked in groups for a graphing assignment, with 2 groups in the hallway.  These things came about from feedback I was receiving.  Although I like the group work and the active learning, the classroom management in these situations holds me back.  I am working on it, putting all the moving parts together slowly. Maybe I will have some of the parts working in sync before my 3 weeks are up.

A quick aside, its amazing how insulted you get when “your kids” get unfairly accused of making noise when its older students making all the noise, I made sure to tell my co-op it wasn’t our students.

Stay tuned for what week 3 will bring, I teach a whole half day that week.


Not what I expected

I started my 3 week pre-internship block on March 11th.  I was very excited to see the students and my co-op teacher again.  I was also very happy to be spending some time with my teaching partner.  I haven’t seen her all semester as we have no classes together.

I spent the weekend prior preparing my visuals, lesson plans, and Personal development Plans( PDPs).  I felt mostly ready to take on this 3 week challenge of learning and growing.   I was a bit nervous Sunday night at returning.  Nerves after being away so long, but also nerves that these 3 weeks would be the turning point in my dream to be a teacher.  Would I be good enough to get a recommendation to move onto internship was what I was most concerned about.

We arrived at the school Monday morning, coffees and supplies for our lessons in hand.  Walking through the hall we received a warm welcome from all the staff.  We set up and and caught up with our co-op.  The best part though was when the bell rang, and the students came in.  We received hugs, and enthusiastic welcomes.  It was a great start to the block.

Onto the purpose of our return to the school, teaching lessons.  This time it was the same subject everyday for 3 weeks, 13 lessons.  We have 2 days in our block where we don’t teach, one is parent teacher conferences and the other is a PD day.   My subject of choice is Math specifically Data Analysis.  I like math and that is why I chose it.  Lessons 1 and 2 went well that is until the post conference after lesson 2.  I was going about the order in a way that isn’t the best.  Oh boy, that was really disheartening.  I am really glad I took the advice of my professors and only planned the first four lessons for the week, not to much work to redo.  However, it is exhausting being in school everyday when you are used to being the student all day. It is really hard to plan a lesson every night when you are so tired, add in making up PDPs for each lesson based on the feed back from the day, every night it was overwhelming to say the least.

I would like to tell you that my week changed and ended well but it didn’t.  I was so exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed that I came home Friday and spent that evening and Saturday in tears, seriously contemplating giving up my dream of teaching.  I also want to say that my feelings had nothing to do with my placement, my co-op and Faculty Advisor are amazing and so very supportive.  I also want to say that there will be a week 2 post because I did return on Monday.