Today was my first day acting as the primary teacher in the classroom. My cooperating teacher set up a station in the back of the room behind a large shelving unit where she can barely be seen. From there, she works on her computer quietly and observes me, writing down her feedback to deliver to me later. I have been nervous about this experience for quite some time, especially because she has requested I work with clay with the Art I students and that’s my weakness.
Today was made even more stressful because I wasn’t able to finish my lesson plan or create a PowerPoint for my clay unit. Although I did not want to start the clay unit today because about 85% of the students are still working on their printmaking, my cooperating teacher wanted me to move on. After speaking with her, she thankfully agreed that we should start the clay unit tomorrow.
Immediately, I found that it is difficult for me to gain the attention of the class when they’re all speaking and being rowdy. Thankfully, my cooperating teacher offered me a bell that she had in her storage room. I used it during the 5th Block Art I class and found that it made me feel much more confident and really allowed me to gain the attention of the students. I’ve always wanted to use a bell to gain the attention of my students.
Other than gaining the attention of the students, everything else seemed all right. Everything is difficult, but I don’t feel hopeless. I managed the classes as best I could and tried to balance all the tasks of taking attendance, answering phone calls, receiving notes from the office, allowing students to use the restroom or get water, cutting more paper for the students, and helping students as they needed it. I felt like I was wrangling animals, but it always seems that way.
I was incredibly thankful to receive some helpful advice from my cooperating teacher. During our off periods, we sat down and discussed what she saw. She agreed that I don’t have a lot to improve on and I appear to have a successful career ahead of me, but she did give me some helpful hints. She suggested that I allow a student to change the slides of my PowerPoints so that I may circulate the room and manage behavior. I thought this was a lifesaver as I was unable to use proximity to control a group of boys during my PowerPoint presentation during 3rd Period. She also offered the bell as a means of gaining the class’ attention and directed me to slow down when I walk, hold myself in a more assertive position, and not move or pace in a nervous manner. After she mentioned that, I paid more attention to myself and tried to stop myself from pacing nervously. I took all of her advice and tried to implement it as the day went on. We stopped to chat three times today and I was thrilled when she said that I was getting so much better each time! It seems that if I just pay attention to some of my minor details, I should be able to become an effective educator.
Right now, I still feel like my weak spots are managing more troublesome students, gaining the class’ attention, keeping their attention, and regrouping when they start getting out of hand again. I’m so glad to have my cooperating teacher here as I’ve learned a great deal from her today. I am also incredibly tired today and find my feet sore and my voice tired. I’m hoping my body will get used to the requirements and not ache so much later.