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Courtney Langton

Courtney is an aspiring high school teacher. Her teachables are History and English, but she's happy to teach anything that doesn't involve numbers or formulas. Her particular interest is in promoting gender equity and anti-oppression both in and outside the classroom. She writes a detailed To-Do list every morning, and enjoys nothing more than a good book and a plate of bacon on a rainy Saturday.

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan's primary interest is moral education. His teachable subjects are English and Music. He encourages critical thinking and hopes to teach his students to recognize, and strive for, what is truly important to them without forgetting to be compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded along the way. He likes making analogies and his favourite is one that compares life to jumping on a trampoline.

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ARCHIVES: June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 March 2010

More reflection on prac
Friday, October 9, 2009

Something’s not clicking with my teaching, and I’m not sure what. I certainly don’t know how to fix it.

I’ve thought of myself as a teacher for such a long time; I’ve always gotten positive feedback from teachers, students and profs, and I’ve never found lesson planning or execution all that difficult.

Nothing’s changed, really, except the feeling I have when I finish teaching. It jut doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like a success.

Admitedly, today’s two lessons both came up short on time, leaving me with a game as filler. I wasn’t unprepared for the possibility of extra time, but it still looks a little dodgy when you’re starting a game with 10 minutes left in class.

The fact that I was left with all this time is a little baffling, since I was initially worried that I wouldn’t have enough time. I had so many interesting activities and things to discuss that I rushed through them and ended up going faster than I should have.

I also think I may be planning too much and relying too much on my lesson. My associate teacher just sort of walks in and does his thing, and it works perfectly for him. He has way more structure than I do, and he usually decides what he’ll teach on the spot. Of course, he has a unit plan, while so far I’ve just been teaching filler lessons while my associate teacher marks papers or goes to meetings.

I think another problem with my lessons is that I’m using the same techniques that have worked so well with the kids I’ve taught before. ESL is a completely different medium of teaching, one I’m beginning to be familiar with, but one that I certainly haven’t fully figured out yet. I lecture too much, but then I try to have discussions and it just doesn’t take off the way it would in another class. I’ll be shifting towards more visuals as much as I can, but I also have to be careful about group work, because these classes have the tendency to get out of hand easily.

It’s not all bad, though. My goal for this lesson was to have one or two kids leave the room with a real sense of how beautiful poetry can be, and how their own thoughts and experiences ultimately determine what the poem means to them—and I did that for at least four or five kids. While it’s great to have that handful of kids in the class who thrive off the things you’re teaching and how you teach them, sometimes those other blank (or sleeping) faces overpower the memory of the few students who really got it.

I’m not trying to be too hard with myself; I’m trying to get a better perspective on the skills and strategies on which I can improve. I’m starting a full 3-week unit on Tuesday (since Monday is a day off for Thanksgiving here in Canada), and I want it to benefit from these practice lessons. I’ll have a nice long session with my associate teacher, pick up some specific things to work on, and hopefully become more confident that I’m going in the right direction.

I know we’ve all had (or are currently having) some setbacks in the realm of teaching—share with us in the comments!

 

Courtney posted at 11:38 AM - Comments (0)

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