Today was my fifth day of pre-internship and my fourth independent lesson. The students had Monday and Tuesday off (due to a PD day and Remembrance Day) so this was like their Monday, which was interesting to see. Our co-op teacher said that, normally, you see students refreshed on Mondays and ready to learn. With this class, however, they seem to forget their school routines over the weekend and have to spend Monday relearning them.
My Social Studies lesson on Africa and Antarctica was during the final period of the day (I just happen to always pick the subject that comes last in the daily schedule it seems… haha), so I was expecting the students to be a handful. The lesson went much better than I expected and the fact that I actually got through my content at the end of the day on a “Monday” is enough of a victory for me! Previously, I taught Art at the end of the day, which is more engaging for students at the day’s end, so I was worried that a more traditionally “academic” subject would be hard for the students to sit through.
I was especially delighted at how quiet the students were during the interactive game portion of the lesson (but they were playing in teams, and didn’t want to risk talking and giving the answers away to the other groups, so maybe this explains it!).
While I thought the lesson went well, there are definitely some areas that could have been improved. My PD goal this week was to react to inappropriate individual student actions in such a way that would, hopefully, stop them in their tracks. I think this went quite well. Unfortunately, in my attempt to prevent individual interruptions, the class as a whole got a bit out of hand a few times. Finding that balance between individual student and class monitoring and managing is a skill that I am still developing and hope to focus on in the 3 (only THREE!) remaining weeks of my pre-internship (in the fall semester, anyways).
i have to admit, the first couple weeks preceding, I vaguely thought about my PD goal but was much more focused on delivering the content of my lesson. This week, I made the decision to focus a lot harder on my PD goal, and I found this extremely difficult! Trying to teach students about continents while scanning the room, identifying which students are and aren’t paying attention, grabbing the attention of those not listening, and attempting to stop inappropriate behaviour is a lot of tasks for one brain to manage at once! I have to say I was humbled by this realization. Co-op teachers make this look very easy when it truly isn’t. This is something I look forward to improving within my practice though!
Finally, I feel myself becoming more and more confident each week. I can see why field experience is one of the most important aspects of the Elementary Education program here. Putting the theory we learn in the classroom into practice is the most difficult but rewarding thing I have experienced in this program thus far and I really am loving every minute of it (although sometimes frustrating and nerve-wracking).
Next week, I have taken on a 30 minute Physical Education lesson and I feel this will be my biggest challenge yet. I witnessed my teaching partner teach a Phys Ed lesson today (and we had never even seen one before) and I have to commend her on her courage to try something completely new and handle our busy class successfully in (what I think is) the most difficult subject. It is one thing to get these students’ attention in the classroom, but the gym is a completely different story! The larger space, the echoing of voices, students’ need to run and scream upon entering… It all adds up to quite the scene. I know my classroom management will have to be top-notch to keep control of the class. I am already nervous, but also excited to see what I learn. Wish me luck!