Hello boys and girls! It has been some time since I posted last, and sadly this post will be less intellectually-stimulating, and more celebratory than anything. For I, Hunter Simmons, have finished filming for PACT!
[holds for applause]
Thank you, thank you. There are so many people I have to thank: my mother, my father, my dear siblings, my girlfriend, my classmates and colleagues, and all my acquaintances... [music begins to play] Oh I know, I know, I'm almost done, and, and, I want to thank--
Can't the CTC just let me have my moment? I digress, I do want this post to be somewhat productive, so let me share with you how this unit went.
My biggest fear, and I should say the fear of most student teachers, is that my students would not behave in front of the camera, making me appear as some sort of authority-less dimwit who has no idea what he is doing. Thankfully, my students were angels on camera and actually made me better than I may actually be. Their conversations were almost always on-task and rarely did I have to discipline any of the students.
One very real obstacle I faced was that the first day of my lesson got it's start on a minimum day. Unfortunately, I was unaware of this until a few days before, so I had to try and squeeze my lesson from 75 minutes to a little under 60. Of course, we did not finish and that caused the rest of the unit activities to become delayed for some time. Thankfully, I finished everything I wanted to and I feel that there was some real learning happening. My suspicions were confirmed when they took my summative assessment for the unit, (a short quiz composed of multiple-choice and short essay reposes questions) and I was given a good range of performance levels that I will be able to analyze and assess for the fourth PACT task.
This unit also confirmed some of my strengths.
I have a great ability to develop strong rapports with my students and identify with today's youth culture. ("But for how long?" I continually ask myself.) I also proved that I can become quite a performer if necessary. For example, I spent the first 10 minutes of the first lesson as Dr. Hans Mertesacker of the German National Board of Education. I took over the class and enforced new, wacky rules in order to symbolize imperialism. The students were very excited, either by my mustache or my three-piece suit I have no idea, and they were very engaged in the learning.
There are also some weaknesses that need work.
While I use effective transitions, I need to do a better job in the future of successfully stringing together all parts of the lesson in order to give the student understanding more meaning and cohesion. My abilities would also be strengthened by creating more differentiation for my lessons. I feel like this is the most difficult thing for a teacher to do, but I have made improvements since I first started. I have been able to an on-the-spot ability to switch up a lesson for different learners when needed. However, I would be much more effective when I can prepare for this differentiation when planning my lessons.
I'm getting pretty choked up from that acceptance speech, so I need to go dry my eyes.