Weekly reflection: assess this?

Phew is that the second week of teaching over and done with?

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that my school has a specialised teaching model where the students go off to different teachers for different subjects.

The bonus of this set up is that I’ve been able to see multiple teachers in action, which has been fascinating to see how  teachers use variety of ways of managing student behaviour. The specialist subjects, with all that energy and excitement, tend to manage behaviour a lot different from maths, which is different from maths which is different again from English. I’ve picked up a whole bunch of techniques which will be the subject of a future blog post. The downside is that I sometimes feel a bit lost. Instead of following one person all day I’ve needed to find, liaise and negotiate with different teachers to find convenient times to observe their teaching.

My time in schools hasn’t been entirely observational. This week I’ve been taking small groups for maths and have run into to my first challenge as a teacher, time management. I spend the night before my lessons freaking out that  I won’t have enough activities to fill up the 45 minutes I have with the group: ‘ZOMG how am I going to fill 45 minutes?” However by the end of class I’m left wondering where the 45 minutes have gone to, and a long list of activities that I haven’t yet had time to complete. Obviously being aware of time and how much you can feasibly cover in a lesson are judgements that I need to develop. I’m also trying to work on split instructional techniques as even in my small groups there’s a huge variablity in the student’s capabilities.

But my biggest problem this week has been my English assignment. The assignment is to do some running records on a child using specific resources and then plan a guided reading session on the basis of the data. Sounds simple enough right? However I’ve been placed in an enrichment Year 8 class, which is obviously full of high-achieving students. Moreover the school doesn’t seem to make use of the named resources in class.

I’ve been able to locate some lower-level readers in other classes however the second roadblock I’ve hit is that the school does make use of a commercially produced running records. The assignment specifically mentions that I’m not allowed to use this as a way to gather data.

So right now I am feeling frustrated. With the benefit of hindsight I would have selected a primary school to do my first Teaching Experience as I would have no problems finding a reader and the necessary resources in order to complete the assignment. However I had no idea what the assessment requirements for my English paper were when I  made my school selections. Moreover I couldn’t help but feel that the assessment could have been flexible enough to incorporate different contexts of teaching. Grrr.

While it might be cathartic to have a bit of a moan, this isn’t going to help me complete my English assignment.  So instead of whining about it, I’m going to use next week to utilize my problem solving-skills to get my data and access the necessary resources in order to fulfil the assignment. I’ve also learned a lesson in ensuring students have the necessary tools to complete assessments when I am out in the field, so I’ve had a learning experience.

I still love being at school, which has made me more determined to get these assignments done so I get out of university as soon as possible.

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