I found the following information adapted from an article by Burke (2008) on Scholastic.com a great guide for preparing for lessons. As prac teachers, we are essentially the substitute teacher for 3 weeks.
Ensure you have all the essential classroom information, including:
- Class roster
- Attendance sheet
- Up-to-date seating chart
- Daily instruction schedule/school schedule
- Names of helpful students and/or a job chart
- Classroom rules
- Classroom routines and procedures
- Overview of your behaviour management system
- Passes and other official forms a substitute may need
Upon completion of the second week of prac I want to take the opportunity to reflect on my teaching experience so far. I have had some great feedback and support from my two mentors while also having the freedom to make lessons my own. This is the first prac that I have felt organised and confident enough to start trying out and build up my ‘teacher toolkit’ of strategies and not just survive in the classroom.
Lessons learnt and goals for next week:
Inconsistent student behaviour- some days the class are great and behave really well, they apply themselves to their work and finish all the tasks set; other days they refuse to follow simple instructions and basic classroom rules. Today, there were some external factors that could not be helped that caused disruption to the classroom but on the whole, this behaviour can only be a reflection on me and my inconsistency with following up challenging behaviours. It’s tricky to keep the flow of the lesson while attending to student dramas that happened over lunch break and haven’t been resolved. This is something I need to work on. Our school works within the parameters of the 4 C’s as a whole school approach for behaviour management- Courtsey, Common Sense, Commitment, Cooperation. I thought I was doing a decent job with BM until my 2 last lessons today.
Positively redirect students more as this method is more effective. It seems to be an innate reflex of mine to try to redirect the disruptive students rather than use positive reinforcement which I need to be more conscious of.
Challenge students more. With a diverse range of student capabilities, it is a juggling act to encourage student confidence in learning activities while also challenging them to learn new things that won’t be dismissed as ‘too hard’. I need to adjust my pedagogy and how I deliver the information to my students. In reference to Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of the Zone of Proximal Development (as cited in Wass & Golding, 2014, p. 671), teaching is more effective if learning activities are slightly too hard for students to do on their own but simple enough for them to do with assistance. This strategy for guided learning should not compromise student motivation to complete tasks independently. I will aim to provide clearer instructions to students by using more visual and verbal prompts and more effective lesson sequencing.
Something I have learnt to put into practice (thank you EDC3100 templates/teaching staff and mentors), a Learning Goal should be what a student is learning not doing. What a student is doing is a Learning Activity. Sounds simple doesn’t it but is easy to get into the trap of writing a LG for the lesson as ‘finish your assessment task’. Also, don’t rely on the ICT resource to engage students! What I thought was an engaging and informative video that would act as a great discussion starter was only warmly received by the students. I then had to turn to a reliable tactile activity to transform their learning experience and keep students engaged.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Burke, J. (2008). Creating Easy ‘Emergency Plans’ for Substitutes. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/creating-easy-emergency-plans-substitutes/
Wass, R., & Golding, C. (2014). Sharpening a tool for teaching: The zone of proximal development. Teaching in Higher Education, 19(6), 671-684. doi:10.1080/13562517.2014.901958