This week, majority of the GR!S Cohort took the leap of fully taking over the classroom for the first time. Check out last weeks blog to see Kaitlin and Olivia’s recap of their experience. Overall, my experience was a fun rollercoaster. My nervous-cited feelings we at an ultimate high, but the minute I started my unit, it all went away. I realized that this is exactly what I want to do with my life. I felt comfortable, excited and happy- until I watched the videos of myself!!!
This week, I want to focus on a crucial part of edTPA- filming. For those of you who don’t know, edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) is a performance-based, subject specific assessment for preservice teachers who wish to get certified. Fun fact: edTPA is only required in 15 states!! This states are Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. EdTPA has a website that provides you with all the information about the assessment itself and allows you to look at each specific state (because not all states have the same requirements). A huge piece of edTPA is filming, because you are showing who you are in the classroom, rather than just being a preservice teacher on paper. And although it is important, having to watch yourself teach is so awkward.
What it feels like, looks like, and sounds like being filmed
Overall, filming was interesting. On the first day I filmed myself for two periods (out of 3). I thought both periods went great, and I could tell how my relationships with my students are starting to grow stronger. The second day of my mini unit was a bit of a disaster technology wise… and no, not for videotaping! But with the smart board. Lets just say that was a hard video to watch. But hey! I embraced the suckyness- and the benefit of filming yourself is seeing your improvement throughout the day. When you film yourself, you actually forget the camera is on sometimes. Although that seems silly, it is actually good because you can watch yourself being true to the teacher you are and you see all the little things about yourself that you haven’t noticed before. Some of the smaller things I noticed about myself are talking with my hands, laughing (of course) and getting on my students eye level when I talk to them one on one. It is fun to watch yourself though, because you never actually see yourself teach! Which is why filming yourself multiple times throughout your student teaching is so important- you get to see yourself grow and show a bunch of strangers your growth as well.
I honestly forgot the video camera was there once I was standing in front of my kids because I was thinking about so many other things. My cooperating teacher often takes pictures of my students when they’re doing labs or has them video record the demos he does, so a camera feels relatively natural in our classroom setting. Overall, the video quality I received was pretty poor (and I realized I had to delete files to make more space on my phone), but it didn’t feel any different for me to record my teaching.
On the first day I tried filming, I thought everything would go great. I had two separate cameras set up, I checked angles and sound input. At the end of the lesson, I went to check my footage and found basically nothing. My computer hadn’t recorded anything. My camera timed out after twenty minutes, and half that footage was the tops of students heads as I walked around. I had twenty minutes out of a forty-three minute class. The next class, I kept an eye on my computer and my camera to make sure they weren’t timing out. I had more camera footage, but no computer footage once more. I later learned that there wasn’t enough space on my computer to hold the videos. The next day I borrowed my parent’s GoPro, which worked much better. The last two days I decided to try filming with my phone, downloading an app that allowed me to send my footage immediately to the cloud. I forgot to record those lessons. The very first time I brought out the cameras, the students only were slightly apprehensive when I carried it over to their small group. After a class passed, however, they were waving at the camera when I brought it over to groups and smiling for it.
I had quite the experience with this. This first day I thought I was recording, but actually wasn’t – the thing wasn’t saving the recording. The second day that audio was missing. The third day my back was to the camera the whole time, and the fourth day was just barely watchable. I had a really small classroom and audience with my TESOL group, so it made things especially awkward considering how ‘in your face’ my laptop was. I think that it will be easier and better with my science unit, when I’ll have a bigger class and my laptop is somewhere in a corner and out of sight. I also learned to check and double-check that everything is being recorded the way I need it to. Can’t stress that enough.
Photo credit: https://www.edtpa.com/