Observation Week – Friday
Lessons one to four today were spent shadowing a teacher. The school tried to make sure that we could see outside of our own department, and also that we were placed with teachers who were not very long out of training. I suppose the latter point was designed to give us another chance to talk to someone about what we are going through now and over the next year or two. I don't know about other people in my group, but I didn't really have a chance!
From the beginning of lesson one it was pretty much all go. The first period, incidentally, was Maths, being covered by the English teacher I was unceremoniously dumped on this morning. Although it was relatively basic prime factors, my general mathematical incompetency made me feel more than a little useless for the lesson, which was with a slightly troublesome year 11 class. It was still interesting to see a teacher cope with both behavioural problems and a lesson outside of their specialism. As a History teacher, I'm positive I'll be teaching many more subjects than History, no matter what the school.
The second lesson was also interesting, with a year 8 class who were really struggling with effective communication with each other. This was obviously a behavioural issue, because they often talked over each other and their teacher. At the same time it was detrimental to their learning, not only because they missed things, but because they would be having assessments on Speaking and Listening. Their teacher had decided to tackle the issue early, and devoted an entire lesson to an activity based around communication skills. I have to say that even with a difficult class, it seemed to work for the majority. They came up with ideas of what made up effective communication, which the teacher then pointed to whenever these 'rules' were broken.
Lessons 3 and 4 were a double devoted to Macbeth - yay, Shakespeare! - in particular, the scene where Macbeth has his doubts about killing Duncan and Lady Macbeth attacks his masculinity with manipulative and merciless efficiency. It's one of my favourite scenes from Shakespeare (you may have guessed I slightly idolise his work), so I really enjoyed those lessons. As with yesterday, I began to wonder if I was teaching the right subject...
Both today, and this whole week, has been extremely useful. Several people in my group have agreed that it's the most useful thing we've done so far. Most of all we all appreciated just how much the school has done for us. The effort involved in accommodating our needs has been fantastic and hasn't gone unnoticed! I have a feeling I'll keep coming back to this week over the next few seminars...
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