(Wrote this reflection BEFORE the break, failed to post it!)
This week was not so bad…
I took over the World History class this week in addition to the U.S. history class. My biggest challenge of the week (for both classes) seems to be that I tend to rush through explanations, and then I have to repeat them. Repeating directions isn’t so bad, but I think I confuse them if I give too many directions! Another real struggle that I will need to be working on diligently is discipline and following through with consequences. In one class, I allowed some students to sit wherever they wanted to while working on a worksheet. They were told that if they did not stop talking, I would have them move back to their seats. They continued to talk (not about our assignment) and I sent them back to their seats. However, they continued to talk a bit, and I should have extended the consequences.
Overall I’m beginning to feel slightly more confident with me lectures and class sessions, but I find myself intimidated by some of the classes (i.e. the larger 11th grade class and my 6th period World History.) It has nothing to do with the discipline issues as much as I just don’t feel a “connection” to the juniors in that larger class. I am going to try to vary the activities that I give them in order to see if it helps with their attitudes in class.
It was obvious to me from the beginning of my internship that the students in my classes were “well-trained.” They were very familiar (and comfortable) with the classroom procedures—it seemed so automatic that I have definitely taken that for granted. However, as I took over the classes, it became apparent that the seemingly flawless plan was actually held together by accountability on the teacher’s part. This plan was established at the beginning of the school year; this meant that students knew what to expect, and the teacher knew what to expect out of the students. There was a plan in place that I did not know enough about, and I’m beginning to see the importance of maintaining what was begun at the start of the year. Wong and Wong write that a teacher’s “success during the school year will be determined by what [they] do on the first days of school.” At first, I interpreted this to mean that in September, the teacher had the great responsibility of creating an environment to last the entire year. While this is certainly true, it is also true that in my first moments in the classroom I was setting the tone for my time as teacher, and I regretfully feel that I could have done a better job at establishing and maintaining that “good control.”
 Wong, H. K., and Wong, R. The First Days of School (Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, 2004) 4.