Another teacher that I observed for a great deal of time last semester asked me simply, "How is everything going?" Remaining honest, I told her pretty well. The students have not rebelled against me. Classroom activities are introduced and completed with a steady flow. Most importantly, I can tell that there is learning taking place. Of course, my efforts would not nearly be as effective if it were not for the help and feedback from my master teacher and fellow student teacher. Their presence and help in the classroom has made my job a lot easier.
It would be foolish to ramble on within a reflection journal by dwelling only on my successes, for there have been some significant failures.
First and foremost, my biggest difficulty as a budding educator so far has been time management. It is common for me to get carried away with an assignment or a side conversation and lose track of time. Before I know it, the period has ended and I only got through half of what I was hoping I would get through with my class. I have started to solve this problem with a few simple techniques. I use the timer on my phone to alert me when it is time to move on to the next activity. This seems to work, so long as I remember to set the timer in the first place. Plus, the students are amused by the silly sounds and songs I have stocked up on my alarm noises.
The learning itself, while I do not doubt is taking place, is not being reflected in the assessment of students. The one quiz I gave this semester was returned with mediocre results at best. We go over all of the big points and ideas in each class period, but it is still not being reflected on quiz assessments. My hope is that when the Socratic seminar comes up next week, students will get the chance to express their thoughts in a safe, respectful environment. There are many personalities in my class, each with their own unique voice, so I am looking forward to what they have to say.
Most of the students are failing the class simply because they do not turn in homework assignments. I have urged them to turn things in late if they have to, just to get some points, but some still do not heed my warnings. Next month, the parents will have an opportunity to come to the school and meet with me if they so chose, and I can only hope that as many come as possible. Perhaps if I explain the severe consequences of not turning in homework assignments, the parents will get them to turn them in more often.
That said, the students are getting along with me quite well. I have been able to humor them with silly videos that I make, and I can relate to the students according to popular culture and relevant trends, especially when is comes to music and video games. I am gladdened by the fact that I have siblings that are the same age as my students, and I am usually able to hone in on cultural references efficiently.
My seminar has been extremely supportive in helping me develop all of these strategies. Stay tuned for my future blog posts where I will reference our readings and class discussions