I was very happy with this teaching practice. So many things that I had only theoretically conceived of were brought to into some resolution here. I have to admit also that the points stressed in Prof Studies class were indeed the things that gave me a good start with my students. They were also the concepts that I feel will sustain and serve as a basis for any further improvements in my teaching practice.
The first point I tried to imbibe was ‘personalism’. I tried my best to use everyone’s name as far as possible in all of my dealings with them. This certainly showed the students that I was genuinely interested in them and not just trying to do this as a ‘job’. Also I tried to relate to them in a ‘real’ way so that they could see me as a human being and not just a mindless adult who lived in a different stratosphere from them.
I was fortunate to not get caught up with many heavy classroom management issues on this practice. The girls were almost always well behaved and cooperative with my obviously fresh teaching efforts. They seemed to like the tasks I created and performed well. At first I was a little bit touchy about them chatting while they worked. I did have some minor confrontations with some girls about this but eventually I decided to strike a healthy compromise with them.
The first rule was: while I am talking I want your full attention (ie – no chatting amongst themselves)
If they could handle that then I told them I didn’t mind if they quitely talked while they worked so long as they got their work done. For the most part this worked out fine. There was one exception when I spent about 20 minutes with one girl who had learning difficulties one period. While I was totally absorbed in helping her, the rest of the class managed to get themselves off task and into several small chat groups. Becuase of my absorption in trying to help the one girl I was pretty much oblivious to this and it was only when I looked up that I realized the class had gone to the point where the only way to get them back on task would be to raise my voice. (I try to avoid having to raise my voice.) Nevertheless, I did the needful and got them back onto their work although some were a little disgruntled that I abruptly curtailed what was to them important conversation.
Young girls really like to chat. I never really understood that before this teaching practice. Now I can relate to them a lot better and rather than diametricly oppose their intense chatting urges – I will try to work with it as far as it is conducive to an appropriate learning environment.
I really liked the satisfying feeling that comes from giving a good lesson where you are certain that the students really learned something. The students themselves actually seemed to like to learn as well – I think that if I can actually imbibe some enthusiasm for what it is I’m teaching I will be able to genuinely transmit that to my students. I figure that 80% of classroom management issues could be resolved by this change of focus from stale curriculum centered didactic transmission of information into healthy student centered relationship based education. I am absolutely certain that I don’t want to approach my teaching practice any other way.
Furthermore, my strongest and most practical realization is that if you like kids, you will do fine as a teacher. If you don’t like kids – you shoulden’t be here. Fortunately I like kids. Now I have my own son and I am also thinking that the experience I gain from dealing with teenagers and the difficulties they go through at that age will give me a huge advantage in helping my own children through those years. I previously thought that teaching would be a good choice of career, so I thought to have a look into it. Now I’m glad I did.