My Very First Lesson!
This week I taught my first lesson in my practicum classroom. (insert squeal-of-delight here) The lesson was a literature-based lesson that we designed as a group project in our "Teaching Social Studies" class. The process of creating and planning the lesson proved to be hard enough, but I was even more nervous about teaching it. Every teacher I have talked to has said that experience is the best "teacher" when it comes to learning how to teach, and that I'll learn more from experience than from any college class. How true this is!
Overall, the lesson went well. But the biggest lesson I learned in teaching my lesson was not what I expected it to be. Going into this, I was most worried about how I would perform as a teacher. Would I explain things clearly and logically? Would I be able to keep the kids engaged? Would they understand the concepts and "get it"? Surprisingly, this wasn't really an issue. My greatest challenge turned out to be something I hadn't prepared for in my lesson plan... classroom management!
The students in my class are wonderful, and they were well-behaved during my lesson (as they usually are). But I realized that this good behavior is attributed to more than the natural, pleasant dispositions of first graders. Sure, I had observed student's behavior plenty of times, when my cooperating teacher was teaching. I guess I never realized how "high-maintenance" classroom management can be. This showed me what definitive control my teacher has over her class. Her students instantly respond to a hand signal, a whisper, or a look. Sing-songy tunes like "1,2,3, eyes on me", positive reinforcement, praise, and high-fives seem to be much more effective than corrections with negative connotations. She never raises her voice, because she doesn't have to. As a result, the classroom has an aura of happiness about it.
Having the role of "teacher" opened my eyes through experience to all the little things teachers have to pay attention to. Observing in the classroom has taught me a lot, even more than I expected or have learned from class. But stepping into my teacher's shoes and actually teaching clued me in to the power and effect a teacher can have by the way they manage their class. I'm eagerly looking forward to having more of these learning experiences.