On your marks, get set…..

Day One of blogging!

I have decided to start blogging to map my journey from student to teacher, and also to record many of the things I learn during my practical experience for others to share.It is, after all, an experience which us student teachers don’t really get the chance to debrief about. Hopefully many of the experienced teachers out there who read this will also be able to contribute to this blog, offer advice or even take some of the ideas for your own classroom use.  It is the perfect platform on which to share resources with other teachers and student teachers, and perhaps it will motivate some of you to start sharing your resources online with those across the world.

As someone who has been at university for what feels like forever, I was of course chomping at the bit to get started on my practical experience in a school. After some considerable delay (I’m sure many of you share my frustration with university administration systems!!) one of the most efficient, dedicated and motivated people I have ever met introduced me to another extremely efficient, dedicated and motivated person in the form of my practical teacher, bhewes (some of you may know her blog).

My first contact with my practical teacher sent me into a whirlwind of excitement and sheer unadulterated panic. Her organisation was out of this world; before the day was over she had allocated me classes, she had given me a run down of the units of work each of her classes was teaching, she had introduced me to something called PBL, directed me to her blog – and all via one email. And she had managed to sound chirpy about having a student teacher practically forced upon her!

Monday morning found me making my way to my first class at 7:30am, and being greeted by Yr 11 students who were surprising alert for that hour of the morning. I was thrilled at the choice of text the class (soon to be my class!) as it was based upon a case I had previously studied in a law degree, and involves a (tragically realistic) view of humanity which sends shivers down my spine. Overall, I felt blessed to have been allocated such an enthusiastic class; they worked well together as a unit and seemed seriously engaged by the text and in the task.

I was introduced to ‘edmodo’ (fantastic teaching tool!!!) which I can already see making my teaching life incredibly less stressful by being able to organise assessment, worksheet, monitor student participation and incorporate technology into the classroom (those of you out there who aren’t on it-organise it!), and was taken on a tour of the school grounds. The tour of the school brought back memories of my old high school, which really impressed upon me the vision the Wyndam scheme had for high school students. The staff I met on my first day were lovely-and even agreed to put up with me observing the behavioural intervention programs.

The encounter with my future year 9 class did not go so swimmingly though. Off task behaviour was rife; students were procrastinating, complaining and even zoning out. I was partially relieved when I saw that my teacher was also stressed about the situation, as I just couldn’t conceive of myself teaching these poor kids anything if they couldn’t even concentrate on an engaging task which was modelled and scaffolded appropriately.

After such a jam-packed day, I went home at a loose end: how could I ever match my master teacher’s teaching? I was so grateful I had been given such a fantastic role model, but the PBL style of teaching was so radically different to anything I had witnessed before, including on previous practical experiences, that I coundn’t picture myself mastering it. This feeling of complete inadequacy was compounded the next day when I went to uni and discovered I had been awarded a Credit for an assignment I worked tirelessly on (I am strictly a HD student).

Yesterday when I received an email from my master teacher though, my spirits perked up immediately. She had used a resource I recommended (so surely my suggestion couldn’t have been that hopeless!) and she directed me to her blog where I witnessed her also at a loss as to what to do with the Year 9 class. Thank god! She assured me that she was restructing the yr 9 unit programs and perhaps even reshuffling the classes to suit a PBL style which would work with the students, and counselled me not to worry. Exhale.

My next day at the school is tomorrow (another observation day), so stay tuned for the next post.