Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Yesterday morning I was really nervous. I had nearly 45 minutes to get ready in the classroom, and kids were in there doing their morning stuff, which made it even more stressful. And once again I had to remind myself that there shouldn't be a reason to be nervous teaching a lesson; I've done that for almost four years now.

Once the lesson began, and the kids immediately got to work, it felt better. We got some good energy going, there was a good amount of participation and attention, and they did well with the work. I was happy and relieved. Oh, and I actually ran out of time, which was a huge relief, as I'd been so afraid of not being able to fill up the entire (long) period.

After the first lesson there was a debrief, and I was given some feedback about improvement to the lesson. Then, after an interminable hour, it was time to do the lesson again with a different class.

Oh, boy.

It felt like an utter disaster. First, I forgot part of my opener, the part that really energized the first group. Dammit. The students' skill level was not at all the same as the first group; they struggled with the reasoning and I struggled with time again. I had changed some things and interactions, and most of it seemed to make things worse, not better. God. I felt pretty bad about it, and I hated the thought of ending on a bad note.

There was another debrief, with a different person, who hadn't seen the first lesson. So at least he wasn't as harsh as I was on myself because he didn't see the comparison. I probably should have been more positive, but I didn't care; I would much rather be honest. I wasn't afraid to say what went wrong and what I'd love to do with that group again. I think that at least was a good thing, that I was showing plenty of self-analysis and reflection.

Unfortunately, other than the time issue, the differences between the classes was more a result of the difference is prior skill level. If I'd known that, I would have switched the strategies I used, since the first group needed little modeling and just some guidance, whereas the second group needed a lot more structured modeling, guidance and review. Oh well.

Overall, it was a good experience. I loved being at the school; I felt like an anthropologist, observing and figuring out their structures and rules and things. Obviously it works; it's exciting to see the potential a school can have if they emphasize certain things and work hard and work together to accomplish school-wide goals, not just academically but also culturally.

When my day was finally over, I had to go pack. But I didn't want to go straight to the airport, so I hurried to Mount Bonnell, to view the Austin area from above. The sun was out, it was warm, it was green, it was lovely!

Then, of course, I scrambled down and back to my car and to the airport. Everything went smoothly on the flight and journey home, and then I stayed up until 1.30, just because I could, since it's spring break!

This morning I tried to sleep in, I really did. But I couldn't. I've worked out and tidied a bit, and have been catching up on tv. Just the slow kind of day I've been looking forward to. And I'm sure I'll get outside into the sunshine soon. :)


17 (really 15) more years said...

I almost think that it was a bit unfair of them not to give you a bit of background on the students you'd be doing the demo lesson with. Think about it: even in our dysfunctional NYC school system, before school starts, we're given reading and math scores. If you had even a few minutes to do that, you would have easily known that the second group was not as high functioning, and you would have changed your strategies.

Whatever happens, just remember, it is meant to be- and you'll end up where you are meant to end up. Now relax and enjoy the break! (and remember: job search expenses are tax deductible!!)

Ms. M said...

That is intense! TWO hour and a half observation lessons. I bet that you are so relieved to be done.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I'm eager to hear the rest of this story--as in, when (not if) you get the job!

Mister Teacher said...

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sexy said...
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