Student Teaching Placement 2: Teach Harder

Hello again! I am currently writing this blog with a bit of a sinus problem. There is nothing quite like the feeling of having your head being squeezed from the inside. Guess it just means I do have to take a little better care of myself. The usual stuff: get more sleep, cut out the processed carbs, put a hard stop on my work time so I can actually rest without dreaming of Warner Lesson Plans or materials management. This week is a bit more anecdotal, as a lot has happened and the stories are a huge part of the lessons learned.

So, this week was my first at my new placement. I now fully understand why we are to do two different placements at two different schools. Sometimes it feels like night and day. What used to be major concerns at my first placement are non-existent; the afterthoughts at my first placement have suddenly taken center stage. it is amazing how even in the same district drawing from the same group of students, that the school culture and expectations make that big of a change. To cut down on the hyperbole, they are still kids, and kids do kid things and that hasn’t changed. So the principles and lesson I have carried with me continue on.

Due to some unknown reason, there is another student teacher at my placement. When I got there, she was in week 2 of her first placement, a.k.a. where I was mid-September. Despite being a student teacher, I still weirdly end up being not the least experienced adult in the room. We do learn form each other and on the days she leads a lesson, I see a picture of where I was in learning how to lesson plan and take charge of a classroom. I remember how I made certain mistakes and learned from them and in those oddly reflective moments, I appreciate how far I’ve come and how far I’ve still got to go.

One story in particular really sticks out with me. In seventh period, there is a boy who is hard of hearing and wears a hearing aid, he is also a bit shy and is an easy target for his classmates. As the lesson went on, there was a bit of teasing from a specific group of boys and my CT intervened and spoke with them after class. In the chaos of it being my second day at the school, I did not pick up on it nearly as quickly nor acted upon the way I should have, but she did and apparently was the only teacher in the day to do anything about the situation. I believe this is a big reason as to why we write such comprehensive lesson plans and take the time to prepare. When you’re not worrying about the objectives and the timing and the scaffolding of a lesson while you teach, you can pick up on these moments faster and act upon them in the moment. Little actions that may really hurt a student are caught and dealt with on both sides. The bullies have to work through why its not okay, and the victim knows that you care. Inaction to a situation is basically saying that you are okay with what’s going on. While that may not always be the case, that is how it can be perceived. So, be confident and diligent in the planning and preparing so that not only are you teaching more effectively, but you are better suited to addressing and teaching life lessons.

It has been a wild first week. A snow day, senior capstone project launches, my first foray into expeditionary learning, an observation, lesson planning, the move to a new building. I feel like I’ve watched a movie sped up: my brain knows what happened, but  I haven’t had nearly the time to process it. The sinus pressure doesn’t really help either.

Here’s to a wild first week, and seven more wild ones to go. Bye for now!

3 thoughts on “Student Teaching Placement 2: Teach Harder

  1. Granted, lesson planning is a huge time drain. But you have given us one more reason why it is so important to spend an inordinate amount of time in pre-lesson prep. Getting good at anticipating every scenario really allows time during the class to pay attention to what is happening during the lesson, whether it is good, bad.

    I am reminded of a time when I got a call from a former pre-service teacher who was now into his second year of teaching. He asked for some help re-structuring some lessons. We collaborated on design of activities that would give more autonomy to the students, make them more responsible for their learning. He put into place a number of strategies. During implementation of the lesson, I got another call… this one saying “I feel so guilty, everyone is working on task, they are helping each other, and don’t need me…I am just walking around the room checking in with students and talking to them about their progress…I feel as if I am not working”. Well, he was! He had done hours of pre-lesson work and thought and design that made the in class time seem effortless.

  2. Yeah I love those moments when a lesson comes together. You really get to connect with the students and are able to attend to what they specifically need, and it’s a great time to clear up any individual misconceptions.

  3. Ooooooh! Sinus pressure is bad news! Is it amazing how much we learned in 4 weeks at our first placement! Between the first week and 4th week, I suddenly found the previously non-existent time to talk one-on-one with students I was concerned about. Before, I felt guilty about not finding time. Imagine after a year or two of teaching!

    It is amazing and weird when I can sit back as a teacher. I remember hearing that story, or perhaps a similar one, in our first class. I don’t like feeling like a chicken with my head cut off while teaching, so I hope that I can plan accordingly, knowing that sometimes, things are just gonna come up! Guess whose back-up plans both included the internet the day the internet went out? Yup! This girl! I had to think fast, and it worked out.

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