So, my student has been and gone and my class were finally returned to me on Friday, ready and raring for a few mad days away on residential from tomorrow.
It was certainly an experience, one I found quite difficult at times but also learnt a lot from, although not necessarily what I was expecting.
I found it really fascinating to watch my class from a different perspective, watching from the sidelines and really being able to observe them. It actually really made me think about how I teach them from the way I saw them acting and responding. I will definitely try to keep carpet time short, keep pace high and make sure all tasks are differentiated – I was amazed that the most badly behaved children were my high ability when they weren’t being stretched enough.
I also learnt that it can be terribly frustrating being a mentor, partly because I felt that I wasn’t able to be entirely truthful due to a few factors, the main one being that university tutors are so completely out of touch that their idea of what constitutes a good lesson and what actually constitutes a good lesson are completely out of sync. This makes it difficult as students begin to think they are much better than they really are. I am also far too critical anyway; it’s a personality flaw and I’m just as critical with myself but other people don’t necessarily take it so well. I tried to put a positive spin on everything and make constructive comments though and definitely learnt more about how to do this.
Another thing I found out is that I’m really bad at occupying my time even when I have a lot to do and am not good at motivating myself to do paperwork. I had to timetable myself to do things! I really missed lesson planning and teaching and although I took a few intervention groups there were lots of times I wanted to do a lesson based on random things that happened, like the Japan earthquakes, but couldn’t because my student was teaching. It was also frustrating because we’ve had the mobile technology toolkit from the #NorthantsBLT and I couldn’t even use that to its full potential because I wasn’t teaching (again, I used it for intervention groups but I couldn’t really embed them into everything).
I found the whole thing hard but don’t think I’d be put off having another student; at least next time I’ll be more prepared for what to expect!