Today felt like a rushed day because it was an Early Release Day for the Comal Independent School District. All of the classes were cut short to allow the students to get out two hours early and, as a result, it was difficult for the students to complete work in such a short amount of time.
Today was another intersting day of observation as the classes seemed to be even more out of control today than they did yesterday. 1st Block was fine because it’s AP and there’s only four students, but the 2nd Block class was wild and crazy. Before class even started, several students were at the front of the room, one student messing with the computer, one sitting at the teacher’s desk, and others standing around not getting their work out or working. One student was even wearing my cooperating teacher’s glasses.
Throughout the entire class period, my teacher was not able to get the class managed, and this is the easiest Art I class of the day! She kept egging students to start working, telling them to have a drawing done by the end of the day, and instructing them to stop goofing off and get back to work. It seemed like no matter what she did, she couldn’t convince them to work. Finally, she pleaded, “Fine, I’ll just bribe you to work! Anyone with a drawing done by the end of class will get a lollipop or other candy!” The class was still rowdy and unproductive, but several students earned the reward by the end of class.
The next period started as my teacher was called out of the room to substitute for another class. I jumped into the lead and tried to take more control over the class. I had everyone be completely silent so that I could deliver the information. I told the class that they had the option of working on their clay or on the new drawing assignment, but those were the only choices. I also explained that because the drawing assignment is due this Friday and the clay has no deadline at the moment, they should probably work on their drawings. I questioned the students to make sure they understood and set them to work.
One student was incredibly reluctant to start drawing because he doesn’t believe in his abilties, so I decided to inspire him with word art, a form of art made using words. After showing him some examples and asking him how he could integrate it into the current drawing assignment, he was suddenly excited. “Oh…I can do that! I can write words, so I can make art with words!” he exclaimed and immediately set to work. He had a finished drawing by the end of the class period. I felt proud to have inspired him and I hope that he’ll continue with this confidence throughout the year after I leave.
My teacher returned shortly and, together, we managed the class and kept them productive in the short amount of time that they had. I kind of felt that my teacher needed my help, so I decided not to return to the back of the room.
I did the same for 5th Block, aiding my teacher in assisting the students and managing the class. 5th Block was better today, but still hard to deal with. My teacher started off the class with a new seating chart, which really only moved about four or five troublesome students. The students were confused and unhappy with the change, but thankfully obliged without any issues. The seating change seemed to make a huge difference today as the disruptive students were quiet and not troublesome. They actually completed work, although it took one student a lot of coaching to get started. Overall, the class was loud and unproductive, but that seemed to be the trend with all of the classes today. Perhaps the Early Release Schedule was throwing off the students or making it feel like they didn’t need to accomplish something in the shortened amount of time. Between the two of us, my cooperating teacher and I helped students stay on task and figure out what they were working on.
During 7th Block, my university supervisor came to observe me at Canyon High School one last time. My cooperating teacher wanted to instruct, so I was asked to assist. I circulated the room and tried to help students get started on their pop art paintings. It was difficult to get some students to put away their electronic devices and pay attention to the presentation that my teacher repeated from yesterday.
After the observation, my cooperating teacher and university supervisor sat down with me to give a final evaluation. Thankfully, everything was what I was expecting, which shows that I am good at reflecting upon my own strengths and weaknesses. I know where I’m at and what I need to improve on. I’m glad that there weren’t any surprises. Basically, I am skilled at instructing, setting instructional outcomes, creating PowerPoints and lesson plans, and lecturing. Anything to do with planning, delivering information, creating assignments, etc. I have nailed down. Where I need to improve his mainly classroom management. I still need to work on my “teacher voice.” I need to find a way to get the entire class to stop talking, pay attention to me, and keep their attention on me. I also need to find procedures for dealing with incorrect behavior and act on them. This is my least favorite part about teaching and it’s what I most need to improve on.
Thankfully, my university supervisor explained that this is where most new or student teachers struggle, and they quickly learn the ropes and improve within a few years. She’s confident that I’ll find my place in my own classroom and will make a successful art educator. That’s a comforting thing to hear. I’m looking forward to a bright future!