Finally, Some Teaching Practice

This was the first full week of school in Darien thank to Hurricane Irene and Labor Day and being the beginning of the school year, I’ve had little opportunity to fill in for teachers but lots of time to observe them which has been lovely.

One such occasion had me watching a 10th grade class on Wednesday as the teacher walked them through Says/Does analysis. Using Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as an example, she first played them an audio recording of the speech then broke the speech into component parts, explaining what phrases or paragraphs actually said. As that finished, she then showed the students the tactics employed by Lincoln to get his point across.

She then had the students work with an essay, taking the first few paragraphs and having them read aloud. Students were then prompted to identify what was being said followed by the ways in which the writer conveyed this to the reader.

Students were then paired up and given 3-4 paragraph sections for the rest of the essay to work on for presentation to the class. On Thursday, the class was dropped, and on Friday the teacher had a scheduled day out so I was on tap.

This was a tremendous opportunity since I was picking up right where the teacher left off and I was very excited at having the chance to teach a bit. I was to have them work in class on the final three paragraphs. I annotated the section for myself in the morning and then, as the final period of the day presented itself I took over.

I had built this up in my head as a great opportunity since it was my first real shot at teaching anything since the spring so was ultimately disappointed when the students did not react to me in the same way as they behave for their regular teacher.

Despite having a work sheet of terms and Wednesday’s practice, they still fell short in analyzing these final paragraphs.  Hands weren’t going up to volunteer as I had expected and I had to actually call on students. At first, they found only two techniques employed for the three paragraphs whereas I had 4-5 per paragraph so I had to do some coaxing.

It was real teaching and a reminder that I have far to go.

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