disaster, education, English Literature, feast, Gibbs, Gibbs reflective model, history, learning, lesson planning, literature, PGCE, Poetry, reflection, reflective model, reformation, religion, renaissance, teaching, teaching dip, work
The week before half term was hard, but this week was hard in its own way.
I’ve been ill for the past week. With a sore throat, temperature and blocked nose. I have been drinking tea x10 a day to get my throat in shape to deliver a lessons for Friday.
Thursday was a uni day where I a small group presentation that took up more time than it should have and left me exhausted by the end of the day. I got home and planned 2 lessons for Friday. As always, the A2 class were my top priority; bigger class and deeper content.
Friday I got into work for 8am and spent those hours printing and getting my resources in order and still had one part of my morning left to plan. I finished it all 20 mins before going into lesson O_O
Experience: The 1st half of the lesson went well. I was trying to cover the historical context of the poem and this meant having to explain things repeatedly to make sure all were following. Then the 2nd half went down the toilet. I gave them an exercise to do that I imagined would be easy enough and would take only 15mins, but this stretched on for far longer. This resulting in having to finish the lesson in a rush and a lot of my students felt confused about it. Although I went round to each table to help them understand the task and questions, I realised that the work I had set was too challenging and not appropriate to their stage of learning so far in the year.
Feelings: I felt good to start off with I was showing them something visual to start the lesson with as opposed to talking to them. Then we entered a part where it was very teacher lead, but I was conversing with the students at all times. Then when I gave them the task and I had students saying ‘I’m confused’…I knew I had made a grave error. I continued to help each table and felt that at least I was able to spent some one to one time with them. But I panicked inside on how much time I was spending to rectify a mistake. This was a my reflection-in-action mode. However, I only repaired some of the damage done. I was happy when the disaster lesson was over.
Good & Bad: I tried to make history fun and interesting and the class were able to at least get the main idea of how integral this period in time was relevant to the poem and poet. What was bad was how in the end my final task made them confused 😦
To make sense of it: I became so focused on the content and how to deliver it so that it was broken down and digestible, I forgot that my students had gaps in their knowledge that still need to be filled, before I set them such a challenging task.
Conclude: In the words of my mentor “I’ve seen you do better”
I was experiencing what can be called a ‘teacher’s dip’; not all lesson will go well and it is possible for teacher’s to have ‘bad lessons’. I had just had one of those.
Action Plan: Next time, I’m going to make sure I actually do a practice run of my lessons. It’s hard to fit in a practice run when you have so much to do, but I will try to play my own students and see if I can accomplish all that I aim to in a lesson. Also, I was doing quite a bit of talking in the lesson. I’m going to make sure I reduce this down to give the students breaks from listening and application of learning.
However, I was unable to meet my action plan for the repeat Monday lesson.
Not having Internet for Saturday really set me back. I spent pretty much the whole day doing work on and off but never actually doing much. But I got one thing out of it:
Then come Sunday my brother fixed the internet router and I had the rest of the evening to plan my Monday lesson. It was going well until I realised that 1 important aspect was missing; this Monday class had missed 2 lessons due to half term and staff training days. This meant they had not covered what my Friday class already had. This changed my resources and planning dramatically.
There were 2 ways I thought to go about this: (a) stay awake till I have everything done (b) plan it out, sleep and then go finish it off at college.
I stressed over my resources and planned till 12:30am, went to bed by 1am and hoped to be up for 6:30am.
I was soooooo terribly worried I would not wake up for my alarm that in in the end, I was awake for 6am and decided to do things earlier. I was at the college for 7:20am and worked until my lesson started. My desk nearly became my pillow but I had to fight it. Fight it hard
Once I got in there I was more hopeful for the lesson to go well, in fact better than Friday and I thought I had planned it out clearly and well. But I was reminded early into the lesson that this class was the boring class. No one ever seems willing to contribute to lessons. That’s when I grew desperate and resorted to calling out names. But on the whole, the vibe in that class remained…stale.
Without going into too much detail, it felt like a lesson that was worse but in its own way. Didn’t think that was possible, but there we go. I was experiencing ‘the decent of the dip’ in teaching. And it was all happening too soon. I left the lesson quite tired and not quite sure of how I felt about it. My trying to manage one part of the lesson, I had unintentionally ignored other factors that resulted in a lesson where it was more shallow learning when it could have been deeper. In short, I was just happy to have the lesson end.
In my defence, my focus was trying to cut down on a lot of information into bite sized info. And for some odd reason the class were into talking about other things, more so than usual, which me saying a lot of ‘Alright, I need everyone’s attention‘ more than a few times.
It was decided that I would not be teaching my Friday and Monday class from now on. The 2 reasons: (a) it was becoming too challenging for me and because there was more content than I had imagined possible for me to know (b) the students needed a teacher who could understand all of what they taught, rather than someone who is learning on the go and then delivering.
This was both a blow and a relief. My weekends of stressing over what happened in the Renaissance would finally come to an end. But at the same time, it meant I was missing out on teaching different levels whilst on my PGCE; at the end of this course I need to have a portfolio of teaching a range of levels/areas so that I am more employable (sounds weird that the country is crying out for good teachers but it all comes down to how far you’ve been stretched in your training year to then progress to teaching something that might not even be what you trained for!)