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.
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. :)