Another week has finished and it’s crazy to think that my practicum is just about over! The last month has flown by, and now I will be wrapping up my classes this coming week. I started this past week off feeling really confident with all that I have done in my teaching and excited to finish off strong in the next several days. However, I had an observation Monday afternoon and it threw me for a loop because I was feeling confident and that I had grown a lot in the areas that I was weak in but I was informed that I was not where I needed to be in monitoring behaviour. It was a tough afternoon with my grade 11’s with the changing in weather and hitting the half way point of the semester, so behaviour that day was pretty inappropriate. I tried to handle it in the ways that I had been taught throughout my practicum, but once the situation was over I immediately thought of ways that would have been better and would of set a tone for all of the students. Well since I was being observed I knew that it would come up in our debrief at the end of the day and I was prepared to talk about that, and that I knew I could of done things differently for better effectiveness. However, I was not expecting the conversation we had because it seemed like they thought I had had no growth in classroom management and it was a serious concern. I felt pretty stunned to hear the things they were saying to me, so I got emotional during the conversation. In the end I understood what they were saying about monitoring behavior and I did admit I had apprehensions about it that I have to get over, but I left it feeling lost about where I really was in my progress from my practicum. I took time to think about it all, and I decided to shake everything off and continue on with the new techniques they talked about for classroom management. The next lesson I had with that class went great, and the observation I had from my sponsor teacher from it showed that I am growing with that area and I take in all the feedback they give me and try to apply it. From that day the rest of the week was awesome, I had great lessons with all my classes, I was able to discuss classroom behavior with my students and I set the tone for what’s appropriate and what the consequences are when they are not. Even though the week started off hard for me I was able to shake it off, take in what they said, apply it and finish off strong. Classroom management is something that teachers will always have to grow in with the new students they have each year, so I know that throughout my career I will be able to continue to grow and development for whatever comes my way. In my last week this coming week I am finishing with some summative assessments and then I plan to have some fun and celebrate with the amazing students that I have had the opportunity to work with!
This week I started my last units with all of my classes, and so for the next 2 weeks I will be completing my last assessments with my students. Report card marks for term 3 were due on Friday, and I was able to choose appropriate work ethics and comments to go with my students grades this term. I find the process can be a little hectic with students completing assessments right up until deadline time. However, this week cruised by smoothly and I feel I was able to accomplish all the goals I had for the week. I was able to get some students from my grade 8 classes to complete assessment or re attempt assessment to finish their term grades or improve them in time. In my grade 11 classes I was successful in providing support for students to complete any re-writes they wanted before term grades were entered, and to have the majority complete their last assessment of the term on time.
My observation this week was great as well, and I went away from it ready to apply a couple of the tools and techniques my faculty advisor gave me. My sponsor teacher and I worked together the next class to implement some of her ideas and I was thrilled with my student’s responses. I will continue to use these strategies such as entrance slips, and checking for learning in my next couple weeks.
I introduced a new assessment strategy with my grade 11 classes for the last unit I am working with them on, and so far the feedback has been excellent. I gave them 3 options to choose from as their final assessment of the unit which were; to write a unit test I had created, to have a one-on-one interview with me about the unit, or to write their own test and then present it to me. I found that most students wanted to continue with writing a unit test that I had written, but I did have a nice amount of students trying new things by choosing the interview or test creation. When I presented the strategies to them I also provided rubrics of how I would assess them on the two new strategies, so they would be able to know exactly what I am looking for in each category. I’m glad I am able to finish off my teaching with these classes by trying something new, and at the same time using the different strategies that I needed to incorporate into my practice. I have had a lot of great feedback and questions from my students since presenting this, and I look forward to the final products next week.
This next week is my last full week of teaching because I will start to hand back my classes to my sponsor teachers the following week. I plan to finish strong by continuing my class structure and monitoring behaviour and progress, and have fun trying new things with my students. I feel great right now about the position I sit in as I am finishing my practicum, and have definitely learned a lot that I will take with me into my future practice.
Well another week done of practicum and only 4 more weeks left till it’s all over. This week was more or less a regular week of teaching for me, especially since we have had so many days off or assemblies or something to interrupt class time. I finished another unit with my Math 8 classes, and I was very pleased to see such high outcomes from all my students on this unit. Also I was glad to have several students attend tutorials for re writes this week, so they could boost their marks for their term 3 report cards which will be done this next week. In my Math 11 classes we worked on completing Unit 4 requirements and had a couple in class quizzes to prepare for their unit tests first thing next week. My sponsor teacher and I decided to change the structure of class time for this unit because so many students were falling behind in the last unit, and I am happy to say I noticed a great change in that most of the class is right on track with the work and will write the test on time. I have also noticed students taking the initiative to come in for morning tutorials to get extra help on tough concepts, work on catching up in the units if they are behind and to study for a re write on a previous unit test. I love seeing that they notice such a difference on their tests after putting in a little more time into the unit’s content and concepts. I have been able to see lots of improvement in my students grades in their re write attempts.
However, I have also noticed some negative changes in my student’s work ethic which reflects on their marks. I have students that started the semester off with a great work habit and the marks their received were very important to them, but lately they have been coming to class with negativity, very little work ethic and their test marks are falling from that. I wonder if maybe it’s because we are at the half way point for this last semester and as summer approaches their moods towards school changes. Anyways, I am going to continue working with my students bringing positivity and support to them so that their experience in my class is beneficial to their progress and that they enjoy themselves. I have been able to communicate with all my students making arrangements for their work and tests, so that we can have them all on track in class with their very busy schedules. I have several high performance athletes who miss weeks at a time and students going on vacations and such, but I have been able to organize their progress in a way that puts them at ease and keeps them moving forward.
I had a great observation this week with my faculty advisor who observed my pre-calculus 11 class, and we made some plans to wrap up my practicum on a high note. So far in my progress I have been able to acknowledge and find ways to grow and improve in areas I struggled such as classroom management. Now to end things off I will continue implementing those tools into my classes, but I plan to also try a few new things in my last units. We discussed that I should use some rubrics in my teaching, so for my grade 8’s I will be giving them a work ethic rubric this next week to help me decide for their report cards. For my 11’s we decided for this next unit that they will choose what type of assessment they want for the unit such as a test, project, interview, etc. I will give them the choices and how they will be assessed such as a rubric, and then each student will pick their own method. It will include different forms of summative and formative assessment for each individual.
I am looking forward to seeing the final outcomes from my students before I leave and trying any other techniques I haven’t before I am sent off on my own. I know I am ready though!
Another week down and that was the last shortened week that I will have during my practicum. Even though I enjoy the extra time off I am relieved that there are no more short weeks left in practicum. I find that the students cannot recover from them as quickly as a regular weekend, so it affects class time and their work ethic. As well I have a hard time getting back into the teaching mind after so much time off. It was a bit of a frustrating week for me because we had our third Unit test in two of my classes and a very high amount of my students were nowhere ready for the test on the test day. I had to make all sorts of arrangements with the students to get their tests done by the end of the week that fit into their busy schedules as well as mine. My grade 8s were having similar issues in the sense that many had been away missing school because of sports or family vacations, so I had to ensure that all of them were caught up too.
Every day of the week I come early before school to hold tutorial sessions for my students with my sponsor teachers. I’m used to putting in the extra time like that with my students and I am glad to see so many of my students take advantage of that time, but this week was my first experience with having next to no time to even eat lunches or take attendance because of all the assistance needed. When it was all over and done I was glad that I could be there for my students and get most of them back on track, but I know that I need to take the time for myself during the day so I maintain my health. I think that I can be available those extra times every once in a while when my students really need it, but I should be strict about coming to morning sessions if they would like or need the extra time with me.
I found myself implementing a stronger presence with my classes this week because of behaviour, so I had to show them that I will not tolerate inappropriate behaviour anymore and there will be consequences to your actions. I still need to grow with in that area, but I am feeling more and more confident every day. I have noticed a change in them as well when I am speaking to the class as a whole they have grown by being more respectful and listening.
I am entering this last month hoping to keep my students on track with their work, continue to grow in my classroom management, and try new things with my classes. I have been getting feedback from my students lately, and I would like to try to implement some of their thoughts and continue to listen to what they are feeling and thinking with the class and their work ethic.