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November 13, 2010

Musings on PP1 W2

Aren't you glad I wrote "musings" and not "reflections"? I am really getting sick of the R-word.

This week has been looooong. I have done a few starters, team taught, and worked with a small group. I've also spent hours planning lessons for next week. I've also learnt a lot of Polish.

Starters with Y9 set 1:

This is a really nice group. They are very chatty, but will work at the same time. There's a nice level of banter in the classroom, and there's a nice atmosphere of humour. Their teacher will often joke with them, knowing that it is safe to do so with this group. This is the class I'm supposed to be team teaching. I'm starting off with a few starters and will hopefully move onto doing some plenaries and expositions too. My only worry about working with this class is that they love their teacher so much, they'll be annoyed when I try to take over. I gained some of their respect, however, when the teacher was arguing that the PS3 is better than the Xbox and I agreed with the pupils.

My staters were just quick questions on the board relating to shape, space and measure because these topics don't come up in year nine but we don't want them to forget everything. They went really well, I remembered to ask some good questions and got them to think. I controlled the class well but that was dead easy as the class is so good.

Team teaching Y12:

Me and my mentor sat down together and jointly planned a lesson for the year 12s. It was their second lesson on differentiation. We started off with some questions on index laws, a topic they have only recently finished. Shockingly, the class had forgotten almost everything!! So the starter took a lot longer than expected. I went through some questions on the board which was a bit of a disaster. The pupils refused to answer any of my questions, apart from one of them who would have answered every single one if I'd let him. I had thought the A level students would have been more willing to get involved with the lesson, but I was clearly wrong. I will bear this in mind in the future.

Small group teaching Y8 set 3:

I have really really really enjoyed teaching a small group of pupils. The teacher gave me three pupils and we went to a very small room (well, cupboard really) and did some work on simplifying expressions. Two of the pupils took to me straight away, asking me loads of questions about me and saying I was a good teacher. These pupils normally don't do much work in lessons but happily did work for me, which was gratifying. I'm getting a different group next week, a group of the highest achievers in the group so I can stretch them.

Form Period Y7:

I've really loved being part of a form group. I've been told to sit with two pupils who have recently arrived in the UK from Poland with very poor English. They are very friendly, happy pupils. I obviously don't speak any Polish so I had to think hard about a strategy. I decided I would get them to teach me Polish. In doing this, they would also be learning English but it would feel like they were helping me and not the other way round. I was very bad at pronouncing the words, which I played up a bit, so they would laugh at me. I wanted them to realise that it's OK to make mistakes and sound a bit stupid when you're learning a new language, and not feel scared about having a go at saying something. I prepared a list of words that I wanted to learn, and asked them to teach me them. They didn't recognise the words, so they had to look them up in a Polish-English dictionary first. This is a useful skill for them to learn. There are these dictionaries in every classroom and they shouldn' be afraid to use them if needed.

What was really nice was that me doing this with them has got the pupils sitting nearby interested because we were having such a laugh. In general in the school, the English pupils tend to ignore the Polish pupils, but in this case, the other pupils wanted to join in and learn some Polish, and teach me some words in other languages they knew too.

All in all it was a very enjoyable week. Next week I'm teaching my first full proper lessons. Four of them! I'm nervous but also quite excited. We're doing probability which I think is probably the easiest topic to have a bit of fun with.

Emma x x x

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