KSA #01 Contextual Variables · KSA #07 Student Needs · KSA #15 Professional Learning · KSA #16 Vision of Teaching

The Battle Between the Perfectionist and the Realist

I have just finished my second day as a student teacher in Grade 3. Frankly, I am a perfectionist and I like to think I am a realist; the perfectionist in me takes over 99.9999% of the time. This made my first day at the school extremely difficult.

There was something funky in the air that day, the weather was changing and the students were wired. In addition they are involved in the Remembrance Day celebration tomorrow that they are still anxiously preparing for and the icing on the cake was me, a new unfamiliar body to the room. For a class of twenty grade 3’s this can throw off an entire routine, leaving me feeling completely thrown off.

I have found that Time Management is something I need to work on and as a result this is #1 in my Growth Plan. Reflecting on the model of Time Management, I think that an important concept to consider is wait time, which may seem so small, but is so crucial to a smooth lesson.

When we got to PE, last period, the students were even more wired. The first day jitters took over and I quickly assembled the students into game of octopus tag and let them loose. Needless to say, mayhem resulted and from then on it was a race against the clock … that wasn’t moving fast enough (How many of you know what that is like?).

That night, I went home and did some serious reflecting. My classroom management needed to improve and it needed to improve ASAP. I had another PE Lesson to plan and I took todays events into very careful consideration. I planned to sit with the students, on the gym floor at their level to connect with them even further, and discuss the chaos that happened in day 1 and how that couldn’t happen anymore. From there, the students informed me of their rules and routines and as a class, decided it would be a really good idea to continue those when I was teaching as well. From then on, the students really respected me and the lesson went far more efficiently. The students participated in the relay, began on the signal and waited for further instruction after. Of course, 8 year olds will not behave 100% of the time, but when I used the correct cues, the students responded very well.

After PE, we moved into LA. For LA, I planned a Remembrance Day lesson. For this lesson, I took careful consideration of wait time to allow all students more of an opportunity to contribute. I was pleased with the classes engagement in discussion, which was done in a very respectful manner. The final activity, writing of the acrostic “Remember” poems, went over time. Through discussion with my TA and reflection, next time I will have the students brainstorm words and phrases as a class, before having them work individually.

You can plan a perfect lesson on paper, but realistically when you get into the classroom you must be willing to adapt, think on the fly, collect yourself and press forward. Perfection is nice in theory, but realism is the key to sanity in the classroom.

Until next time,
Mr. B

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