I believe today was a day of success. All week I’ve been nervous about today because my supervisor was coming in to observe my performance and evaluate my teaching using the Danielson Framework. I have been preparing with my cooperating teacher on what I would be instructing for the observation and even practiced during my cooperating teacher’s conference period. I feel comfortable teaching, but I don’t enjoy being watched and evaluation makes me nervous. I was especially worried as I was told that the Danielson Framework is tough and that student teachers are not expected to do much better than a 2 or 3 on a scale of 4. We would also be graded on every aspect, whether it was witnessed in the observation or not. Thankfully, I was nervous for nothing as it all seemed to go beautifully.
Today was an Early Release Day, which added to my reasons to be nervous. Today, all of the classes were cut down to 35 minutes, making it difficult to accomplish much in such a short amount of time. The shortened time cut my cooperating teacher off guard during the first class, AP Art. After having a critique on the students’ pieces showing motion, my teacher was about to demonstrate caricatures when the bell suddenly rang.
“At least we got the critique done!” I reassured.
My teacher explained to me that on Early Release Days, she usually needs to have a special agenda. For the next two Art I periods, she explained that the students would not simply continue working on their eraser prints, but she would deliver printmaking instruction through a PowerPoint and show examples of linoleum prints.
“Early Release Days are perfect for delivering vocabulary,” she explained.
I helped click on to the next slide as she delivered instruction. I found that her PowerPoints are not of the highest quality and that the examples she shows are pulled from the Internet. Because of this, she doesn’t know a lot about the examples and they might not always show the students what is expected of them. Sometimes they don’t even match the assignment as one example seemed to be an etching and not a linoleum print. When I teach, I would like my PowerPoints to be of higher quality. I especially enjoy making PowerPoints and feel that they can be done well. I’ll also make sure to account for Early Release Days and plan ahead.
During 5th Period, the art instructor from across the hall asked me to watch his class as he ran an errand at the District Office. He assured me that it was an Advanced Sculpture class and that they knew what they needed to do. They would not require assistance and I would simply be monitoring. I was happy to help and crossed the hall into the classroom. Although this classroom is also an art classroom, it is much different than my cooperating teacher’s classroom. This classroom is incredibly small, about half the size of my cooperating teacher’s room. Instead of individual desks, there are large tables for multiple students to sit around. There are also no windows and the room seems dark and dreary. I like my cooperating teacher’s classroom much more than this classroom, though this room did seem much more tidy and organized. I’m sure that this teacher can’t afford to be disorganized. Now I understand why he’s been looking for extra storage rooms in other classrooms and within the building.
While monitoring the class, I was able to observe what this class is working on. These students had glued hundreds of sheets of paper together to create small towers of paper. Now they were using carving and sanding tools to carve the blocks of paper down into actual sculptures. I’ve heard a student in my cooperating teacher’s class talk about this assignment. He had talked about how much he hated it because it’s so time-consuming and unrewarding. I could see how difficult the assignment was and how each person’s sculpture was looking about the same, but surprisingly, most of the students were working diligently throughout the entire period.
The class ended as the bell rang and I started feeling nervous. The teacher hadn’t returned yet and I had no idea of what to do with the next class. I didn’t even know what class it was. Advanced Sculpture again? Art I? A conference period? My cooperating teacher came over and explained that his next class was Art I and it was his problem class.
“Why don’t we switch places? You go back to the room and I’ll watch his class,” she proposed.
I was relieved with this proposition and was even more relaxed when the teacher came running around the corner.
“I made it!” he exclaimed.
“I was going to trade places with her since I knew that this was your bad class.”
“Oh yeah, I wouldn’t do that to you guys!” he joked.
My cooperating teacher and I returned to our original classroom and began preparing for the observation.
“Would you like to practice?” she asked me.
I felt a bit awkward, but I conducted my watercolor demonstration for my cooperating teacher as she sat in the back of the room and pretended that she was a class full of students. I worked with the Elmo and together we made sure that the demonstration would be of optimal quality. She gave me a few tips and suggestions and suddenly it was the last class of the day, my observation time.
My supervisor entered the room and we found a space for her to sit and observe me. I greeted students as they entered the room and took attendance when the bell rang. I began my demonstration and think that it went fairly well. The students paid attention for the most part, though they didn’t react to my questions as much as I thought they would. I reviewed the criteria of the assignment, the artists we were studying, and the techniques we were practicing. I stayed within the time constraint and ended the demonstration with just enough time for students to clean up and prepare to leave.
Afterwards, I spoke with my university supervisor and was surprised to find that she had nothing bad to report. She gave me high remarks in all of the categories and explained that there was only one moment when I slipped into a teacher-centered teaching style, rather than a student-centered style. Otherwise, she was proud of my reviews, questioning, and respect for the students. This boosted my confidence greatly as that was completely normal teaching for me. I didn’t purposely try something different or have to remind myself to do something. I was just teaching. Now I feel more comfortable for future observations as I know that I just have to teach like myself and that I’ll do well. I feel so proud and happy at the moment and I am much more inspired to continue.