November 22, 2010

Reflections on Week 7

It's been a long and tiring week. I keep track of the hours I work each week, last week was a new record at 62hours. I suspect, thanks to the many 13 hour days I did this week, I'm going to beat it. 

I've now taken over my classes and taught 7 hours last week. Should have been 8 but I was struck by a sickness bug on Friday and spent a fun day starving hungry but unable to keep anything down while feeling very guilty about leaving the lovely Year 7 class teacher in the lurch for the Period 1 lesson I was supposed to take. 

I'm not doing too badly at this teaching lark. Fewer, and different, mistakes this week. Pitched too high with recurrence relationships for Year 12. They really *aren't* hard, finding a term-to-term rule is often way easier than nth term! (Fibonacci, anyone?), it's just the notation that throws people, plus they really like to be given an algorithm to follow then follow it for some examples. I didn't do that so I'll need to at the start of next week's lesson. 

My Year 7 class are adorable. It's going really well with them even if my tasks are a bit unsuitable at times. I'm struggling with resources. We're doing angles. I have a girl with a broken arm. She can do the work on Geogebra (I love Geogebra) but this is only available on my personal laptop, not the school ones. If I give it to her, I can't use it on the board. Also, I teach them Monday, Thursday and Friday which means I have photocopying to do with no notice for the Monday and Friday lessons, which annoys the photocopying lady (since all maths teachers have Yr 7 at this time, there are loads of us all at the same time!).

I tried avoiding this by drawing questions on the board but this was rubbish as we all had to work through at the same speed and I talked too much. It's clear from their books that only a few followed it all. Yet, they didn't say! I ask if they understand and they smile and nod. Why can't they be truthful!?! After that, I tried a mixed difficulty worksheet, photocopied in advance then chose questions from it nearer the time. Didn't go down well with my mentor as there were excess questions on there. I've made beautiful tailored worksheets, choice of 3 for differentiation, for tomorrow's lesson. Hopefully will be an improvement. 

I set homework for the first time ever and therefore marked books for the first time ever. Struffy work, no titles or dates (how am I supposed to know what those random numbers scattered across the page are referring to?). Random sheets lost or stuck in random pages. Sometimes they stuck the wrong side down and therefore obscured a load of their work. I know it's about the maths not presentation, but seriously, I can't assess them effectively when it's unclear what they've done. Some of them didn't do the homework to the expectations of the class teacher (show working; see me if lose it/unsure/it's too hard) and so I'm going to have to talk to them about that next lesson. I'll do something nice after that so it's not a mean teacher, doom-and-gloom lesson. 

My Year 10's are a bit of a handful but nice girls under all the attitude! They panicked big time the first time I taught them, they'd had an unfortunate experience with a trainee teacher only last term (as in term 3 last year) which had left them a bit traumatised by the thought of losing their highly effective class teacher for hopeless trainee. My first activity went much better than I expected, it was ordering negative numbers. I pitched low to built confidence and that was a hit. I'm thinking they need a confidence boost every lesson or will just say "no I can't do any of it, I can't do maths, it's all too hard" and then are stuck there all lesson!

I do the first bit of the lesson and the class teacher does the rest. It's tough starting. They start arriving 5 mins before the lesson begins (it's after break). The first time I accidentally thought that was the start of the lesson (well, there was a bell!) and they didn't take kindly to that. The second I left it until the start of the lesson and they deliberately tested me with a slow start. The teacher suggests I do what she does, which is go around the room giving out books and asking individuals to get ready. It's a bit of a tall order at the moment as I don't know everyone's names yet! Some girls only show intermittently so there was a new face last lesson. The time before there were loads of new faces - girls who'd come in for a chat and who were supposed to be next door! How was I to know? 

They're not too bad though, one girl appeared in the doorway and shouted "Are you a cover teacher?" to which one of my class replied "Shut up, she's nice". Awwww. 

I've utterly neglected reflections this week as I've spent so long planning. As an experiment (in the context of "outstanding trainees experiment with their practice" :p) I've going to do scruffy, bare minimum planning for all lessons expect my formal observation which will be some super multi-page typed up thing. Thus leaving time to reflect, file my work, do my essay due tomorrow at midnight, read more of AfL, and possibly even sleep. 

Which reminds me, Essay. Argh! We must read our school's safeguarding policy. I finally got a reply as to where to find this on Wednesday, after my last PPA until Friday last lesson. Quickly attempted to get a copy and found I'm denied access. So I need beg for access tomorrrow. I've got registration (I do Mondays solo with my tutor group), PPA/Observations in the morning, Solo Year 7, Team Year 10, Support Year 11 then afterschool Department meeting then my parents are passing through and are going to take me out to dinner. If my PPA/Observations are Observations then I'm in trouble! 


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