This post has been on the cards for a while, however, as often happens in life, other things took over such as Christmas, family visiting, finishing off assignments and of course working, unfortunately bills need to be paid. With two days to go before starting on my next assignment and a brief retrieve between jobs, it’s now or never really to get this post written.
Going into my first teaching prac I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy it. The initial week was probably the hardest, I was thrown in the deep end and teaching lessons pretty much straight away. The first class where I had to stand up at the front of the room with 23 Year 9 students sitting there and staring at me, waiting for the teacher to say something, was totally terrifying. I was responsible for them, I had to teach them something; my palms were sweaty, my throat dry and my heart was racing. But I got through the class, thanks to being an overly organised person, I had a fool proof lesson plan written, extra material in case I rushed through the content of the lesson too quickly, and a teacher in the room, just in case it all went haywire.
Over time I learnt which ones were the cheeky ones, who needed extra help, which boys needed to be split up and sat with the girls, who handed in their homework and school work on time and those that needed constant reminding and chasing. But those first few lessons were so very scary.
I learnt so much over the seven weeks that I was teaching there. I taught a mix of classes; an online Year 7 English class through a trial virtual selective high school (xsel) for students in rural areas around NSW, a traditional classroom group of Year 9 students and a small group of Year 11 students who were taking English Standard classes.
As with most things I had good days with a sprinkling of bad ones. But each day I learnt something new and every mistake and error I made (and trust me there were a few) I learnt from and took that experience and feedback on board. What I enjoy about teaching is that every day is different, you have different classes to teach, different students and a different topic, so no one lesson or day is the same.
There were a few small misunderstanding on account of my accent (one student thought I said a character was blind instead of blond) and a number of questions about Leprechauns, all of which added a bit of humour to the lesson.
It was hard work, involving a lot of late nights and working over the weekends; correcting homework, creating lessons, searching for resources and writing endless reports for university, but cards like this one and genuine thanks and questions as to whether I would be coming back to teach the class in 2015, made it all worth the while. The pride I got from seeing the end result of the class newspaper that my Year 7 class created was immense. I had taught them a media studies unit from the start to the finish, decided what areas needed to be covered, assigned work to students and fed back on their creations. It was so fulfilling to guide them through the process, observe their progress and get frustrated when they did not take feedback or suggestions on board. And the end result confirmed that they had learnt something and that my teaching had been successful. At the end of the day, isn’t that what teaching is all about, those moments of pride where you can clearly see that your hard work has paid off!