My second week as a fulltime student teacher was certainly a lively one and it continued to open my eyes into how much time and prep is required.
In World Lit Seminar, we were concluding Imagining Argentina and I tried a few tricks to prompt my students into better participation. First, I assigned journal prompts to see if that would have them come in better prepared. I gave two pop quizzes to ensure they were actually keeping up with the reading and I graded their journals one day. It seemed to help overall and they responded better.
On Tuesday last week, I had my first formal observation from my advisor so I donned a tie and my kids rose to the occasion. They used their journals to kick off the morning conversation and when I had them pair off to work up a list of themes which we then charted on the computer screen, it worked well. My write-up was positive and I have potential, he thinks.
Wednesday was a chance for the kids to use the quotes they had been collecting from the beginning, and use them in groups to create Found Poems. Not only did it give them something creative to do, it allowed them a chance to review the material as we prepared to close out the novel with a graded seminar discussion. Thursday, they should have finished the book and come in prepared with questions they wanted to offer for the discussion and I let them review, revise and accept the questions to be used. This gave them talking points to study for and on Friday one of my two classes would have the seminar while the other would have to wait until after the winter break.
The kids brought their A game, which was observed by my cooperating teacher. It was a solid conversation that didn’t need much facilitating from me. We actually ran out of time before questions which was a good mark and my post-observation discussion went well and I can now try the advice when we return to school.
Meantime, over in English 10, we were concluding poetry and did a little grammar, preparing to move them into Shakespeare. The students in those classes have taken to calling me Mr. G or Coach G. (where that came from I can’t say). My teacher there spent quite a bit of time with me reviewing the students’ personalities and needs as I continued to refine my Macbeth lesson plan. For that, feel I will need to be practically scripted and will spend this week completing my detailed notes.
Two first year teachers were telling me how they teach all day, stay after school to do work then go home for a few more hours of work and prep. It sounds all-consuming and I was assured it is the first two-three years but by then you have built up a repertoire of lessons and techniques and will feel more comfortable and relaxed, which explains how I see the more veteran teachers jot some notes to themselves and go teach.
The lessons continue, even during this week off.