I broke the first rule of blogging. Not blogging. Whoops 😦
BUT I’m back. Prac has been crazy with up and stressful downs. I have never been so challenged before but this is just the beginning. I’m still shaky but I know this is the start of something rewarding. So here is a BIG catch up of some of the things I’ve learned so far….
Things I know already…
I know enjoy teaching and sharing knowledge. I also reaffirmed my passion for connecting with students and making that ‘difference’. With this being said, I also have realised the stress of responsibility and duty to these malleable minds. I am finding that for the first time, I am seeing the results of the my teaching shine through their work – the good and the bad. Teachers have to carry their students to success. How do you make sure each and every student is able to reach the end goal? Unfortunately, there is no ONE answer to this. It always changes and its great teachers that are able to manipulate themselves for the sake of their students.
We are here for them.
7 lessons I have learned so far…
1. Be consistent
Being consistent in your rules and processes! If that means you are chasing up students during homeroom to check if they have their stuff, then so be it. If that means taking time out of your recess to double check if those ‘special students’ have done their duties then you might need to postpone your coffee break. Every little thing matters, especially when teaching boys. I have learned that setting your expectations is only half the battle. Seeing them through the is rest of the war. I have spent MANY lunch times and recess in detention. Written in countless diaries and looked at hoards of devastated faces. However, this is the reality of being consistent. There is no point in setting rules and processes if you aren’t going to stick to them. THIS I have learned.
2. Break up your information
You have an assessment to explain AND you have the art making process to explain. You want to connect it to the previous activity and their prior knowledge so they can base their ideas on it. That is already 3-4 lots of information you are going to throw at these mind already. Not only that, they have already attended 4 hours of lessons. What to do….
Break that information up!
Assess their prior knowledge –> hand out the assessment sheet –> explain the assessment –> watch a video about the processes.
Boys and students in general have short attention spans. They can only realllllyyy sit still and listen for about 5mins (arguably shorter). So it is imperative that you break that information up and give them short breaks. It makes life easier, you have less classroom management because little Johnny will stop bugging his friend and finally, you will get them doing the right thing!
That is all you can really ask from them.
3. Stay positive
They told me that you will have bad days and you will have good days.
Boy oh boy, those bad days can really pull you down. Luckily I haven’t cried yet. Vivian 1 – School 0!
I find that although there are days where you just want to crawl into bed and forget the day happened, you be grateful that you survived. You take the bad and turn it into a lesson for the better. Keep reminding yourself of why you chose teaching. You didn’t choose this vocation because it was easy. It’s never easy. It’s freaking hard. But you keep coming back to school and you keep improving your teaching. That is the only thing you can do and all that the students can (subconsciously) hope for.
3. Ask questions and talk
I’ve always had this problem. I don’t like to express my issues and questions. I tend to stay quiet and watch for answers. That is wrong. Do not do that. You will drown in insecurity and will make mistakes. Talk to the experienced teachers and tell them about your issues. I need to do this more!!!! I need to fill my teacher in with everything I do and don’t do. I vow that for the rest of my prac (and career) that I wont hold my tongue if I need help. I need to ask more questions and check MORE. It is better to correct your mistakes BEFORE they happen than trying to fix it later.
4. Take part in everything
School is a haven for extra activities and groups. Even when I was in school, I took part in as many extra curricular activities as I could. They were so much fun and I was exposed to amazing opportunities. However, as a teacher it is a bit different. The teacher is the facilitator and obviously experiencing a different type of ‘enlightenment’. You stay back and help out for the benefit of them. You turn up to school an hour early to help set up the hall for the talent quest to ensure that the students can enjoy school life smoothly. Again, teachers hold that responsibility to the students and ultimately to the school. When is enough, enough? (Answer: never enough)
5. Be careful of what you say and do
The office is a jungle and you are an newly introduced species.
First rule of being a newbie: Shut up and get out of the way.
This is the first time that I’ve had a proper insight of how delicate the office can be. You need to say the right things at the right time OR not say anything at all. I thought teaching in the classroom was tough enough.. woof! I’m not saying that the office is an unsafe place and you must always stay on your guard, however there is a certain mannerism that you need to maintain. Be wary.
6. Make life easier for you
Back again to classroom processes. Art has a lot of equipment!!! Makes lessons fun but messy. I’ve been trying to fine tune clean up and its taking me surprisingly longer to find a process that works. Staggering the collection of equipment seems to the best way to do things. However at the same time, the students need to be doing SOMETHING. NEVER LEAVE THEM TO DO NOTHING. EVER. Unless you want lots of talking, throwing, walking around and other disruptive behaviour…
7. Have faith
I do believe that I can become a good teacher even though I have walked away from the classes knowing that there were areas I was weak in. Keeping faith gives you the motive to keep improving. I think that is the first step of becoming a great teacher. Knowing your weaknesses and always trying to better them. This world may have teachers but it needs great educators.
So these are the main things I have learned from my experiences so far. I have 4 weeks left.. not long now until I’m out in the real world… eep~!