I spent the morning happily annotating a poem I am to teach for a Friday lesson, then I had my mentor meeting to discuss my performance in my 2nd lesson taught and to plan for the next one.
I was already aware of what I had done wrong and he was gentle but constructive in his criticisms. I knew where I needed to improve on and how to go about it. I knew there were times I needed to have raised my voice slightly and where I should have been more clear with task directions. It was interesting to also see how much of a difference key words can make when used in lessons. My language wasn’t a major issue, but I kept repeating ‘should’ when I could have said ‘need to’ or ‘are moving on to’. I need to learn my lines now
We then swiftly moved onto planning the next lesson. I was quite lost with how to go about it and he was very helpful in suggesting what could be done. Once I got the gist of what he wanted from me I was able to contribute my ideas and discuss what I need to do to challenge the higher ability students, but still aid the lower ability ones.
Then we got talking about teaching techniques. I found it odd that he suggested we actually give them an answer to a question. Probably 3 times I made the attempt to persuade him to perhaps do it another way so I don’t have to tell them the answer. He soon realised what I was worried about and said “I know, you’re worried we’re spoon-feeding them, but really all we’re doing is telling them something which is obvious, not hidden. The rest they will do themselves”.
The plan was first to squeeze 2 lessons into 1. For that purpose, it was decided that we give them the answer to this question/problem. To save time. Once we changed it to spreading out the material into 2 lessons, I had then suggested the ‘why don’t I get them to figure this out for themselves…?’ It was tricky; I’m used to not being given the answers. I’ve been taught in school and in life that I have to work and think hard. So to me, it was very strange to even throw these students a bone, however small it might be. Not because I’m cruel (I swear!) but because I want these students to be challenged in class. Yet, I was reminded once again that even though they are soon to go off to university or work, they actually need to be treated like they have just come out of their GCSE’s.
Which was an eye opener; either I am actually setting the bar too high, or kids these days cannot be stretched and challenged as I once was myself. Naturally, I try to see the students as young adults, but when you realise how much direction and instruction is needed simply to get through a 10min starter, you wake up to the reality that maybe they just are too young. Or lazy. I’m still trying to figure that out.
As a teacher, I need to really be able to switch from group to group and not teach the same way in all my lessons. It’s something I need to overcome. But I also wonder if something has gone wrong with our kids….
Lastly, I had a deadline for my 1st uni assignment and it was the worst! The question seemed fairly straightforward, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this confused about the answer and theory used. Maybe it has been a long time since I wrote my last essay, and son my mind has blocked out all painful memories related to submissions. But this assignment was TER-RI-BLE! Well, I submitted it and it’s over. Roll on the next one *cries*