Week 6 Reflection

This past week I started teaching at 75%, which is where I will stay until the end of my practicum. So now, I am currently teaching 2 Math 8 blocks and 2 Pre-Calculus 11 blocks where one is an honours class and they are both taught in the flipped classroom style. There are at least 50 students watching my video lessons on Youtube now, which is pretty remarkable and makes me fairly nervous. Overall, the feedback on my video lessons has been great, but I have received some good criticism as well for it. I need to slow down when I’m writing out the work and describing the steps, give more time in between questions, and correct some spelling and grammar errors. As I work to finish the rest of my video lessons for my last two units I will definitely try to incorporate all these suggestions into my work.
On Monday this week, I had the opportunity to participate in one of the Math department’s collaboration days where all the Math teachers at my sponsor school come together to discuss future plans and for professional development from their colleagues. It was pretty neat to be a fly on the wall in some of their discussions about programs and policies at their school, as well to observe the interest in my one sponsor teacher’s method of using an online database for quizzes and such. I got to spend the day with both of my sponsor teachers talking shop and start planning to implement some of these ideas into our teaching. Everyone had a blast sharing and got a lot out of it.
I’m starting to build up more confidence in front of my students and really dive into some of the questions that they ask in class about the content. With my grade 8’s this week we had two classes, one for review and work time and the other to finish off the first half of Unit 5 with a test. They responded really well to the review activity and worked very hard to complete all tasks for their portfolios and prepare for their test. I had several students come in on their own time to ask questions and go over some concerns they had. I was really glad to see them coming to me on their own and working hard to achieve a high grade. I have noticed that my grade 8’s need a lot of feedback right away on their work in order to continue their progress, so it was great to see a lot of them take account of their own work and be a little more independent.
My 11’s also had a Unit test this week, but since I am teaching using the flipped style my students work to their own pace and test day is considered a deadline where hopefully most students will write tests. If they do not write they are to come in for extra work to prepare to write as soon as they can. I was so happy to see that the majority of my students were ready to write on test day, and the rest came in to morning tutorials and wrote before the end of the week. I was pretty nervous that most of them wouldn’t be ready or wouldn’t show up to tutorials, but I was so glad and really impressed that they came to work when they said and felt comfortable enough to tell me when they weren’t. At this time I have been able to sit down and talk with all of my students in that class and really get a good understanding of how they are feeling and what their strengths are. I am looking forward to see what the next few units will create.
I had my first lesson with my Honours class on Wednesday, and honestly I was a nervous wreck until the lesson started. I had already been able to build relationships with the students assisting in the class, but I had never leaded the instruction with them and I knew they were a strong bunch so I really wanted to start off well. There were a few small stumbles, but as soon as I started the instruction I felt relaxed and it went great. We had some great questions that we investigated and they all went into work time with confidence. At the end of the lesson all of my students gave me some really nice feedback and we also discussed some of my video lesson issues which I already mentioned. That class is such a joy to work with because all of the students enjoy being there and work really hard independently, while assisting classmates.
Friday was the last day before spring break and I only had one class that day with my Honours 11’s class, and I was also being observed by my faculty advisor. I had planned an activity for them which were sort of like a puzzle where they were given pieces of questions and they had to determine the order. I made it a bit more challenging for them, but they worked well in their teams to come up with some strategies to approach the problems. It was really interesting to see how each group was working through the puzzles. My faculty advisor loved the activity and it was a lesson overall. We finished the day off with a game called Password which was a blast and my sponsor teacher even jumped in to play.
Some things that I took away from the week that I know I need to work on are continuing building my confidence with the content and instructing in front of my classes, being more strict and enforcing repercussions for inappropriate behavior, and placing the instruction on the students when I can to help them share ideas and work through problems.

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