What was a positive highlight in your teaching week?
After my experience on Wednesday (see below), I was very firm with the class on Friday. At first, students weren’t listening to my instructions. I recently changed the seating arrangement as I always do after the grading period. Several students were simply sitting wherever they wanted and just working with their best friend. I finally stopped the entire class and firmly discussed the rules and following my instructions. Students were much better after that.
What was your biggest challenge this week?
The students were very challenging on block day (Wednesday). I was very tired and weary and did not have a lot of energy to lead the class. The students sensed this and used it to their advantage to get distracted and socialize. I didn’t feel like I had control of the class and felt frustrated by the end. Mr. B. and I discussed strategies to improve for next time. I am going to focus on getting 100% of the students to listen to me when I’m speaking. Mr. B. will sit in the back of the room, and when someone is talking while I’m talking, I will stop and wait for 100% of the class to be silent. Mr. B. will stand up when I do this. When everyone is listening, Mr. B. will sit down so I know that I’ve waited long enough (I don’t wait long enough when I stop).
What aspect of teaching do you hope to work on or refine next week?
I want to continue to work on classroom management. The biggest thing I am working on is making sure the students pay attention to me when I’m speaking to the class. The second thing is getting students to stay on task when they are given student-centered projects or assignments.
The 571 syllabus indicates I am to write a reflection on the use of standards at my school site (this was for last week). We follow the California state standards for biology. Our curriculum is centered around that, as well as ensuring students score highly on the CST.
The 571 syllabus also requires a reflection on the use of instructional techniques (this week). My co-teacher and I use a variety of instructional techniques in our classes. The material is always taught first through short, PowerPoint presentations. To check for student understanding and keep students engaged, questions are included throughout the presentation, where I stop and randomly call on 3 students to share their answers. Following every new lesson, there are also instructional techniques to help students understand how to apply the new learning and use it independently. This is done through different types of structured activities, including: labs, posters, modeling, hands-on manipulatives, and other types of group work.