Upon entering my classroom the second time, I had noticed that my teacher had rearranged the desks so that they were no longer in pods of five or six but in stereotypical rows. I had planned on getting the kids to do group work in their pods after my lesson, so I had to change that idea – which was easy enough. I liked the chance it gave me to think on the spot and adapt to my situation. I think I’ll need more complicated situations than that which can really help me develop in that area.
But the majority of my effort and time in that class was spent on the lesson I taught. It was Grade 7 Math, specifically Cartesian Coordinates. In my pre-conference, I showed my teacher my lesson plan and he thought it looked really good but had some suggestions to make, which I marked down in blue and red pen on the plan. During the pre-conference I also explained my observation sheet to my partner which I asked him to fill out for me. The pre-conference was fairly straightforward. Then I taught! I can’t say it was tons of fun, but the kids were engaged and didn’t want the lesson to end because they were enjoying the activity I had them participating in – which were positive signs for me that I was doing at least something right.
Then came the post-conference with Sébastien and Denny. During my post-conference I was nervous that Denny would have a lot of pointers and suggestions and things for me to consider for a next time (which I was totally up for, but I had just wanted to do really well right off the bat), but he said that I did incredibly well for my first lesson. He said that anything that he thought needed improvement, I had changed as I was teaching. For example, there were a few students at the back that I hadn’t been paying attention to and he was going to suggest that I try to hit every corner of the classroom and all the kids in the back but just then I straight-up told the kids that I wanted to see some hands from the kids at the back and in the opposite corner of the room as me because they hadn’t participated yet. And again it happened when I had a couple of students try to draw a good 2D coordinates plane on the board – Denny started to write down that I should come up with something for the other twenty-six students in the classroom JUST as I asked the rest of the class to pull out a piece of loose leaf to try and draw their own. Situations like this happened about three to four times. Denny really did not have anything for me to think about or consider by the end of my lesson, which is both good and bad I think. While I’m glad I killed the lesson, I always constructive criticism that will encourage me to grow and develop in different ways.
While Denny nor Sébastien had anything more than compliments to pass on, I know, for myself, that there are some things I want to work on for the next lesson. I want to learn to use my tools more effectively – I had different coloured white-board markers but didn’t use them to colour-code anything but rather just to make the board colourful and therefore a bit more appealing to their senses than just black on white. I wish I had remembered everything I had prepared… I had it all written down, but when I was at the front all of my notes started to jumble together and something’s got forgotten (nothing overly important other than the set I had prepared for the kids). I told Denny that I was bummed I forgot to do my set, he laughed and told me that I still did a great job at bringing the kids in and get them thinking about math by asking them about their previous unit and asking them to tell me how they felt about the last unit using hand signals (thumbs up for good, thumbs down for rough). Another thing I wish I had done differently was have a separate sheet of notes for myself. As I said earlier, everything I had on my lesson plan started blending into each other and so, next time, I will make a separate sheet of notes for myself with bigger font, bigger spaces, and still highlight the key concepts like I did on Wednesday. And the last thing I need to remember is that my audience is grade 7, not university students. My words and body language were appropriate for grade 7, but I was not specific enough with my instructions. I’m used to thinking that, when kids come to class, they pull out their binder and immediately make notes on the given lesson – these guys needed me to tell them, “Okay, you’re going to want to write this down”.
I asked Denny if I could have his paper that he wrote notes about my teaching on afterwards and he said he would type it out for me in an email so that I could make sense of it. So I’m excited to have that and look over as a reminder.
Overall, I feel really good about how the day went and I’m feeling much more confident for the next lesson I am teaching, which will actually be easier than the math class I taught. Next Wednesday I will be teaching Phys. Ed. I’m excited and I’m loving this experience so far.