February 7th, 2013

This week I knew that I would only be teaching twice because in our practicums we start off teaching 25% and move up to 50% and then complete the rest teaching 75%. It seemed like it would be a fairly straight forward week with lots of time to continue prepping for classes to come. On Wednesday, one of my sponsor teachers told me that they were going to be away the next day and a TOC (teacher on call) would be coming in to teach that day for him. Since his morning class is the class I plan on taking over when I start teaching 50% he thought it would be great for me to teach them while the TOC assists, and then the afternoon I would return to teach my grade 8 Math class with my other sponsor teacher. I was nervous about it, but I knew it was a good opportunity to get my feet wet teaching this group plus I thought about that I’m going to have my first full day of teaching.
I have experience teaching full time from subbing back home in Whitehorse over the past few years, so I knew it would be a jam packed day and I would be exhausted by the end of it. I came pretty early to get all my photocopies done and organized for the day, and to setup each classroom for the activities we would have. I think that it’s important to come early and prepare for the days I teach plus it gives me a sense of relief that I know I am prepared now.
The morning was a success teaching my Pre-Calculus 11’s for the first time and with a lesson that wasn’t mine, so I was technically the TOC for that. Everyone worked hard for the entire block, asking lots of questions, completing assignments, and writing their first quiz. The class started off a little slow with the students still waking up, but as we went through an activity and then to open work the energy skyrocketed. I am feeling pretty confident with that class now since I have been able to start building a rapport with the students and stand up front and lead them.
In the afternoon I was back in class with my grade 8’s and I knew there was a few topics we needed to discuss before we started our new lesson. As a class we talked about ways to make better transitions and listen when others are talking. We decided to have a count down from 5 to 0 as a cue that it’s time to stop what we are doing and listen to Ms. Palamar, as well as no talking over each other because then we will stop and potentially have to make up class time after school. It seemed to work well as class continued, but I did notice that I had to use the countdown more times than I would like to. Besides learning a new transition, we had a tough lesson today introducing the surface area of cylinders. It took up most of the class working together through problems using the formula, and a lot of the students were struggling with it. At the end of the class, I felt it was a great class with better transitions and the students worked hard to understand this new content. However, I know that next time we meet we will need a good review of this before moving on to something new.
Overall, it was a very successful day with both of my classes and I really enjoyed it all. I have to admit though just like I said earlier, I was exhausted when it was all over. I can’t complain though because it was a great feeling!

February 5th, 2013 – Observation 1

Today was the second lesson I taught with the two grade 8 math classes that I have taken over from one of my sponsor teachers. The first lesson I taught to them was great, they were all engaged and having a good time in class. However, I left it feeling a bit overwhelmed because of the energy in the class was so high. I thought to myself that its cause it is Friday afternoon and its a class with 20 plus students, so its normal for them to be a little energetic and unattentive to me and other students. I felt that i definitely had great activities set up for them that they enjoyed and learned a lot from, but I knew I needed to work on my classroom managment with getting their attention and controlling their responses in class.

I started today feeling confident in the lesson I had designed for them, but pretty nervous about how the class would behave especially since I was being observed by my faculty advisor for the first time. I have two blocks of grade 8 math with two different groups of students, and she was coming to observe the second group so I was able to have a “practice round” with my lesson before having her observe. Overall, it was a success with the students reviewing concepts we learned before and having them apply that to the new topics. I felt that every student in the class left having had a good time in class and feeling confident in the new content. However, similar to before the classroom management had several issues.

So, now it was time for my faculty advisor to observe my lesson with the second group of students and I was feeling apprehensive about it. This group was a little more responsive during the lesson, but there were still many moments of struggle to control their behavior and attention. The overall of the class was great and the students learned a lot while having a good time, but I knew that the management was an issue. My faulty advisor gave me some great ideas for better control of attention and repsonses, which I will defifnitley be trying next class.

As of right now, Im feeling pretty confident in my teaching because my students are engaged and taking a lot away from each class. I’ve managed to build great relationships with my students already, so I know it can only get better from here. I know what I need to work on, and I plan on working it out!

About Me

My name is Amy Palamar and I am Teacher Candidate from UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, BC. I am about to begin my teaching practicum here in Kelowna at a local High School with grades 8-12. I was born and raised in Whitehorse, YT and have only been exposed to the school systems from my childhood, so entering a school in BC is a new experience for me. However, I have had many opportunities in Whitehorse to work in various elementary and secondary schools ever since I graduated high school.

I have been assigned two sponsor teachers at the school I am going to do my practicum at who teach different grades and have different teaching styles. I am looking forward to working with both of them with their respective styles and techniques in the months to come. I will be teaching a flipped classroom with one teacher which is something I recently became aware of and am very interested in using it in my future, so I am excited to be exposed to it in my practicum!

Stay Tuned! Im sure I will have a lot of thoughts and feelings to share as I enter this adventure!

Prep Week

This Week was the first week at my school of my three and a half month teaching practicum. It was the end of their first semester exam period, so I spent most of the week working with the other teacher candidates or my sponsor teachers on unit plans, lesson plans and any other prep work I needed to complete before beginning teaching. I have to stay it was very helpful having that opportunity because it got me to focus and get a lot done as well as talk to my sponsor teachers about anything I was confused about.

For my flipped classroom I had to make video lessons for each lesson that we cover in the class, and that was a lot of work when I first started. I was able to complete two units videos and add a fun intro with a catchy song to start off each video. Im really looking forward to seeing my students reactions to the videos and how different the design of the work in the class is.

We also had triad meetings with our sponsors teachers and our faculty advisor on our first round of unit plans for the classes we plan to teach. I was very pleased with the meetings I had because everyone felt I was well prepared and generating excellent work.

There were several moments of panic, frustration and confusion from the week though because in teaching there are so many little details that have to be considered which generally dont cross someone’s mind when thinking about the prep. However, at the end of it all I am feeling pretty good about where I am with all my prep work and cannot wait to get started working with my students!