Field Journal #3

This being the third time going into W.F. Ready, I felt really comfortable with all of the names of the children. The two or three names I had been trouble remembering I was able to recall with ease by the end of my visit.  I am proud of myself with this because I am terrible with names and happy that, by making a conscious effort to remember all 28 students’ names, I was able to do so successfully by the end of my third morning with them.

That was the highlight of my visit because the rest of it did not go the way I had hoped it would.  Last week I taught the students Math and it went so incredibly well, so I got all high-and-mighty and thought that teaching Phys Ed this week would be a breeze.  I could not have been more wrong. Whether it was because I was underprepared, because it was the farthest thing from my subject areas of English and Math, or because Phys Ed is tough for the best of us to teach, I have no clue.  I had a lesson plan and everything and I had it critiqued by my ECS 300 lab instructor, Helen Sukovieff.  She thought it all looked good, I thought it all looked good, and my cooperating teacher thought it looked good. I should have been set.

Whatever my preconceptions of how I thought my lesson would go, it did not go well.  The kids were inattentive, they were rowdy, and they were frustrated with the activities.  During my post-conference with Mr. Park and Sebastien, I found that I should have created a less structured lesson and yet be more detailed with the instructions given.  The kids are used to entering the gym and being let loose to play dodgeball, so when I had them get into groups, hold each other’s hands, and listen to instructions and make them think about the consequence of their actions, they were totally thrown off and unwilling to comply.  They wanted to do what they always do.  However, I think that this same lesson could have been taught to the same children. What I would have changed:

  • The teams should have been closer together so that I did not have to yell so loud
  • I should have had a back-up game that still pertained to the lesson in case the other two were not as engaging as I had hoped or if the games ended sooner than anticipated.
  • I should have been clearer in what I wanted the kids to do. A lot of the chaos could have been avoided if they were told EXACTLY what they need to do.
  • I should have brought my own whistle or looked at strategies for getting students’ attention in a gym setting.
  • And I should have paid more attention to the time component of the lesson. I had an hour to kill and two ten-minute activities planned…

However, Mr. Park, in our post-conference, said that it did not go as bad as I think it did. He was impressed that there was a lesson to be learned behind the games (the importance of communication for teamwork to be effective).  I was super happy that, eventually, all of the students were participating (although it was Mr. Park who gave one student a pep-talk and got her to join).

Next week we will be joining the students on a field trip to Campbell Collegiate to listen to an ex-gang member talk and the week after that Sebastien and I are going to observe Mr. Park teaching.  Although we have been with him for three weeks now, we have not had an opportunity to sit down and watch him teach a formal lesson – so far we’ve seen him interact with his students informally and in small groups at the most, so I am excited to see what teaching styles and strategies he finds effective for his kids.

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