Weekly Reflection: Teaching Experienced

Teaching Experience 1 is all over bar submitting the paperwork (and dear god is there a lot of paperwork).The last few weeks in particular have certainly given me a lot to reflect back on as I went from an observer and small group teaching to taking responsibility for planning and teaching 4 classes a unit on probability over the last few weeks. I also taught some algebra, fitness and a Te Reo class. Despite my initial jitters I’m thankful that my associate let me pretty much have free reign over the classes for three weeks. I doubt that I would have learned nearly as much if I had done the minimum of 5 days of full control. Certainly having an opportunity to do some unit planning was a highly useful exercise.

I also valued teaching in a school that not only was highly ICT friendly but also had specialist teaching. Not many primary teacher trainees (or indeed teachers) get the opportunity to develop skills in a specific subject area, maths in my case, and I had the opportunity to do so relatively early in my career. Hopefully there’s a school out there which would value someone with some extra maths teaching experience enough to give me a job.

Effective classroom management is essential – You can have the greatest lesson in the world planned but if your classroom management isn’t up to snuff then it doesn’t matter. It’s amazing how gust a few tweaks in classroom management can make the difference between a good lesson and a great lesson. But on the other hand, a few missteps can turn a good lesson into a disaster. I’ve ended up at both ends of the spectrum, and did need to be reminded to actually use all those classroom management techniques I’ve written about.

Keep it Simple and Succeed – There were times when I had far too much going on the classroom to manage it effectively. This is undoubtedly because I’m still stuck in the beginning teacher mindset of ZOMG 45 minutes how on earth am I going to fill up that time? Rather than realizing that by the time the students arrive, get settled and pack up, they’ve really only got about 35 minutes of proper learning time and ZOMG where did the time go?  To that end, I need to work on making sure groups are better aware of what they are doing and having some relevant activities set up for students who do finish early. I also need to not bite off more than I can chew during my lessons.

In terms of planning I am generally happy with the overall concept and also using evidence to develop the unit of work. I have some work to do on developing success criteria and making those known to the students. While I am reasonably happy with my planning, my execution is still not particularly good. My major problem areas at the moment are classroom management and time management. I’ve got a good repository of management techniques I could use but need to develop my own style for which ones I actually use. Time management will be even more important in my next placement where I will not have a bell every 45 minutes to remind me that it is time to change lessons.

Despite my poor performance in some areas, I’m so stoked to have had such a fantastic placement at such an awesome school with such a great associate teacher. I’ve been recommending my school to one and all whether they have kids or are in need of a placement for teaching experience.

Right now I’m trying to summon some enthusiasm for lecturers and assignments now the ‘fun’ part of the diploma is over for the next few months and I’m back to the drudgery of readings, assessments and exams! Oh my!

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