My student is just about to finish their serial placement (where they come in for one day a week) and start their block placement and I wanted to post some reflections of the time so far.
The first week
The first week my student did a block week. I found it incredibly difficult being constantly watched. I was really aware that they had been put in my class to see good practice and I don’t feel they really saw a lot of that as I just go to pieces when I’m observed and being observed constantly all day was really draining and some of my lessons didn’t go particularly well (one group’s work was too easy, another too hard – ARGH!). I was also very aware that they were making copious amounts of notes about everything (I’m sure it wasn’t all bad, I’m just paranoid lol!) It did make me reflect a lot more on my lessons though and there’s lots of things that I will change for next year.
The serial placement
Over the past few weeks I have gradually been giving my student more and more responsibility with the class, and most of the time I’ve not found it too difficult to let them get on with it. During registration times I have busied myself with other tasks and during lessons I’ve been taking a group and they’ve done the main teaching. What I have found difficult is not dealing with disruptive, rude behaviour from the children. There have been a few instances where they’ve really tested her and one when I couldn’t help myself and had to jump in and say something. I think they may have been lulled into a false sense of security as their last placement was quite a difficult school and this one they see as a ‘breeze’ in terms of behaviour.
I know that when I was a student I had problems with pupil behaviour so I don’t want to be too critical but because of this it’s something I’ve worked really hard on. What I’m worried about is that once my student has gone I’ll be back to square one with my class, especially as they will then be getting ready to move on to middle school. I can envisage a difficult few months in the run up to the summer if she isn’t able to keep them under control.
I’ve never done a formal observation before and the first one scheduled is a joint one with the uni mentor! I did an informal one a couple of weeks ago on a maths lesson but I really struggled to find positives to give as well as points to improve. Obviously, it wasn’t an entirely disastrous lesson but there was nothing that stood out to put down in the positives column. Because of that, I’m concerned I sounded overly negative even though I was careful with the way I worded things and gave examples of how things could be improved. I think I need to find some positive things I can look for too.
This week they are going to teach another maths lesson and myself and the maths coordinator are going to observe together. Hopefully this will give me some help with observing and check that I’m on the right lines. I have seen the lesson plan and sent it back with some ‘concerns’, I just hope they accept the help and are not a person that doesn’t take well to changing things (I can’t tell yet whether they are or not).
So, one more week until they start their block placement and we kick of with a theme week – a chance to be creative. They have some good ideas planned so I am looking forward to seeing how it pans out. I’m sure I’ll be back with more thoughts in a few weeks.