My Practice Teaching Experience Essay
901 Words4 Pages
Early on in my Block A experience I realised that a major contributing factor to the success, or otherwise, of my lessons was the pace. This is an area that I have looking at improving over the course of my Block A placement.
The advice given by Gererd Dixon (2011: Online) is that;
‘One of the hardest things for new teachers is to inject pace and purpose into lessons while recognizing the needs of slower learners in the class.’
Working out the correct pace for my classes did prove to be a struggle as it does require the teacher to understand the needs of different learners in the room. In moving on too quickly I left students behind, whereas allotting too much time resulted in misbehaviour and boredom. My task was to attempt to come…show more content…
When I looked back at my planning during this time I found that I had not fully understood the purpose of ‘discussion’ or ‘thinking’ time and had instead left the students to their own devices which had generally led to pupils getting off topic and disruptive behaviour to begin. I tried to take this on board when thinking about planning my future lessons, to try and have an idea of what I wanted to achieve by the end of the lesson.
Using another strategy suggested by my subject mentor I began to use verbal reminders of timings throughout the lesson (see week 11, paragraph 2).
‘Think about how people work – we are always more efficient when we have a deadline to meet – and use this to your advantage in the classroom.’ (Cowley, 2009: 50)
I found that students were much more responsive with this tactic in place and it also worked to help keep behaviour under control. Occasionally I would give them a time limit, and then extend or shorten this as appropriate, once I had seen how the students were working. Using this tactic helped me fully manage the fifty minutes of teaching time effectively and also worked to motivate the students to play an active role throughout the lesson. I found that to further help myself and my students to stick to time limits I would also have a timer running on the board especially during periods of group work. On several occasions I found that pupils would stop themselves after the
The student teaching experience allows you to put everything that you’ve learned about education and your subject matter into action. You get to test the waters under the supervision of an experienced teacher who can guide you along and help you become the kind of teacher that you want to be. If you embrace the opportunity, you can learn a lot from the experience. In fact, here are some things that I learned during my time as a student teacher.
Prepare for the Unexpected while Student Teaching
During my student teaching experience, I spent a lot of time preparing each lesson plan. I worked hard to research different ways to present the information for each lesson. I looked for activities that my students would enjoy, and I made sure that I had all of the materials and other things that I needed before class started. Even then, there were always things that would go wrong. Technology would fail. Students would complete activities quicker than planned. Or students would require much more time and explanation than expected.
As such, I realized that I needed to be prepared as much as possible, but, more importantly, I needed to prepare to be flexible. You never know what’s going to come up or what will catch the students’ attention. When creating lessons, remember that you need to be prepared for changes. Figure out alternative activities in order to help your day go as smoothly as possible and allow your students to gain the most from the lessons.
Photo by thetaxhaven
Teaching is difficult. You’re going to have rough days, and you’re going to need help sometimes. Introduce yourself to the librarian, cafeteria staff, administrators, custodians, secretaries, and other teachers. As I talked to other teachers about lessons that I was working on, they had plenty of suggestions for activities that I could use. I loved getting ideas for tried and true activities for my students, but I also enjoyed the tips and ideas that they could provide to help me grow as a teacher. They could also help you land a teaching job, too.
Not only can making friends prove to help you as a teacher, but it can also make your day more fun. Rather than eating lunch in your room every day to catch up on work, go to the lunch room and mingle with other teachers. Talk to teachers on the playground. Use the time to get to know others, and you just might end up making a friend for life.
“Dare to Disturb the Universe:” Be Fearless as a Student Teacher
In high school, I had a teacher who always encouraged us to “dare to disturb the universe” as quoted from T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” To me, this meant that we shouldn’t be afraid to do something different or to think outside of the box. When it came to student teaching, I found that I needed to listen to this advice again. I wanted to excel. I wanted to get great recommendations from my cooperating teacher, and I wanted my students to really learn the concepts.
What I found was that student teaching was the perfect time to think outside of the box and try different things. If they didn’t work, they didn’t work. At least, I got to try them in a safe environment. And in the process, I got to work on vital skills for teaching, such as classroom management. Luckily, I had an awesome cooperating teacher who set me free to try new things. Of course, it was always helpful to have my cooperating teacher review my lesson plans and advise me on things that I could do to improve my ideas to ensure that they were viable in the classroom.
Confidence is crucial for a great student teaching experience. Students need to see that their teacher knows what he or she is talking about. They need a teacher that demands respect. When I first started as a student teacher, I was awkward and unsure of myself. I wasn’t sure what my cooperating teacher would think, and I worried about how my students would perceive this teacher who didn’t look old enough to teach in the first place.
As I fell into my groove and gained more confidence as a teacher, I found that my students not only respected me but felt more comfortable talking to me, too. Confidence meant I could be myself while still demanding respect from my students and colleagues.
Immersing yourself and taking advantage of every opportunity afforded to you can really enrich your student teaching experience. One of my biggest regrets as a student teacher was that I didn’t get involved more. Sure, I attended all of the meetings and met with parents. With the amount of work I put into creating lessons, I chose not to volunteer in after school activities, for example. I wish that I would have taken the opportunity to get more involved. You can gain more experience, meet more people, and find a new niche within the teaching community.
Seek Feedback on Your Student Teaching
One of the most important lessons that I learned was the importance of feedback. During your student teaching experience, you want to find ways to improve your teaching skills. Don’t be afraid to ask your cooperating teacher for advice. When observing you in action, he or she will notice things that you hadn’t noticed before. Maybe you use too many filler words, look at the floor too often, or stand in one place the entire time. Your cooperating teacher can point out these things to you, so you can make the necessary changes to improve.
More than just asking for feedback, you need to have a good attitude about the information that you receive. What will you do with this information? I found that when I was teachable and willing to hear criticism, I saw greater improvements in my teaching and increases in my confidence.
Student teaching was a great experience. It had its ups and downs, but I became a better teacher by working to make the most of my experience and looking for opportunities to learn.
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