Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday 20/06/08
Prac Block Day Twenty Nine

The final day had arrived!! It was very much a normal day. I arrived at school, I set up the classroom. The students came in and I revised kanji with them. Then I gave them their tests to do – most of them did pretty well! Hooray!! Then they got on with their work and I just did supervision.

After Japanese I went to music and the students worked on their compositions.

Then I had maths, the students actually worked well. The final class of the day was also maths – but the students did not work well here. Honestly I was surprised to find even one person working in the whole half hour that I spent walking around the classroom. A lot of them wrote on their trail sheets that they had only done one question.

After school I was setting up for trivia with my supervising teacher. She said that I had really been great. She said that my ability to anticipate the needs of the students and teachers in a classroom and be able to react to that was a great quality. She also said that my classroom management was fantastic. It was funny to hear her keep talking about how good I was.

I don’t know if there is any area of teaching that I’ve particularly grown in over the last six weeks but I do think that on the whole, my ability to teach a class and know how to approach the students has been refined. I think that I’ve learnt a lot about different approaches to teaching and how to manage students which has been very practical.

I’m looking forward to getting my final report back so I can see on paper how I did.

I’m going to be a teacher!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prac Block Day Twenty-eight

My last day in C2!! HOORAY!! I can’t believe that I am so excited that I’m done with that class, except that today almost every single student in the class asked me at least once (most of them asked twice or more) some kind of question about Russian. Can I speak Russian? Was I born in Russia? What is the time in Russia right now? So glad that at the end of the day I could say dosvidoniya – no more C2!

Ok, so yesterday was a fairly good day. Was able to pull everything together in my last class for the beginners, we did counting but I had to modify the lesson. It went pretty well, my supervising teacher says that my classroom management is improving because I had the students do a task and after the allocated time I said “if you haven’t finished by now, you’ve just been wasting time.” Pretty funny that that’s how my classroom management has improved, but ok.

Today was a very observing kind of day. One of the students had the Third Day the Frost by John Marsden, and considering I’d just read books one, two and four of that series – I was pretty happy to pick up book three. I read it during the last ten mins of class and lunch. Then I got to guillotine paper for the origami cranes we are making tomorrow night. I think I was even over being a teachers aid. A lot of the students in C2 seemed to have a fair few issues that were really playing up today and I didn't want to deal with them.

I wonder if as a teacher I’ll ever get so sick of my class I’ll want to stop teaching them? I guess when you are a full time teacher and you have a whole class from the word go, you have a lot better relationship with them, and you’ve got more of a desire to teach them. That’s probably why many people say that prac is totally different from real teaching. I’d probably agree. Being on prac has been like being a free teachers aid for the last six weeks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday 16/06/08
Prac Block Day Twenty-Five

The last week! Hooray! Today started with Japanese and my kankyou class. I had them work on sentence structures again and had them write it down to start with. They still seem to not be able to get how to rearrange the sentences completely, but they are doing loads better. Also, they are getting heaps better at their particle use and are putting them in almost everywhere! Hooray!

After this I let them work on their own stuff. Quite a few of them are nearly done, but I think it will still take a bit to have them all finished by next Friday. I wrapped them up 15 mins early and did a quick revision of their kanji again. They have their test on Friday and I want them to do well. Most of them know the meanings and almost all of the pronunciations so that’s good. I hope they do well on Friday.

Next we had maths with Boat F – noise level 10/10, working productivity 0/10. It was a struggle to get the students to do work. I sat down with some of the struggling ones today and worked with them on the first question in their booklets!! How could they have done two whole weeks of work – four lesson – and not even done the first question?! Outrageous!

It was a similar story in Boat E after morning tea. I separated a group of girls because they weren't doing anything, but they snuck back together. My supervising teacher said I should have told her sooner because that's a deliberate disobedience to a teachers request and it’s one that you usually get sent to the office for. I’m more worried about the amount of time those students wasted instead of doing their work. How does anyone in this school pass grade 11 and 12 if they haven’t done the grade 8, 9 and 10 work??

After Maths, I had music last lesson. The students were working on their compositions in the library. I wrote a lesson plan for my lesson tomorrow. Not much to report here. Some of the students are almost done, others have barely started. Meh.

Prac Block Day Twenty-Six

This morning started with me doing another Japanese lesson. I continued on last weeks pet lesson by teaching the kids how to count animals and then starting on jobs. I didn’t get through as much as I thought I would with jobs, the vocab took longer than I expected and tended to drag. Also the students are pretty quiet, so I had to work quite hard to keep the energy up. I think last week an aspect of the lesson that helped that was to get the students up and walking around.

The day continued with Maths – no one wanting to work as usual – and then Maths again, a few more people wanting to work here.

The final lesson of the day I actually ended up preparing for my class tomorrow. I’m going to take the students through how to count animals, but I had to modify the lesson a lot for the younger students, otherwise they really won’t get through what I have planned.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday 13/06/08
Prac Block Day Twenty Four

Ahh… after 5 weeks of remembering everything and being super orginised, I finally forget stuff. Firstly, lunch and secondly, the kanji bingo cards for my lesson. *sigh*

Yesterday was the best day ever in C2. I was amazed! So much work got done in the morning maths lesson which then flowed on into the literacy lesson next. It was honestly stellar.

Some of this could possibly be credited to the fact that two of the boys who notoriously do no work, were sectioned off from the class in their own little boxes of working environments. Literally. The boys had their desks up against the front walls of the class room and then they were boxed in on two other sides with sections of moving walls. Amazingly – they both did work (one of the to a greater extent than the other)! The older boy had “You can do it!” and “Do your work!” signs stapled to the walls of his little study room.

I know it could never be replicated in a senior school classroom where students come and go, but it was an excellent idea to see.

After this they had science (most of them working on making their volcanoes), which meant that they were in group activities. There was some productive work, and other not so productive work during this time.

After lunch the students had rich task. For some unknown reason, Boat E wasn’t allowed to do rich task this day, but F and C2 did theirs anyway. Through this miss communication I found out that some of the students do cooking for their rich tasks. So when they left, I followed them. Half of them were cooking sushi (in a way that made me cringe) and the other half were making potato and corn fritters.

After watching these students for a while, I visited the art room (really boring, students sitting around everywhere chatting and every now and then “working” on their art). Then I headed back to C2 and watched the dancing people some more.

I was wearing a yukata but the students in C2 are obsessed with Russian at the moment and kept asking me if it was fro Russia. One of the boys commented that he thought it was stupid and got a long talking to by the teacher of C2 (who loves to monologue) and subsequently apologised to me when he saw me next.

Friday. Today I forgot my lunch and the kanji bingo cards, so when I got to school, I sat down and ruled up some more. The lesson went pretty well (despite the bingo cards). I challenged the students with another long sentence at the start of the lesson – I think they are finally getting it! Hooray!

Then we reviewed the kanji and played snatch – the girls were pretty good. Then I had them do “Who am I?” for a kanji each – which would have worked a lot better had the five of the students not chosen the same kanji.

After this there was music – students worked on their compositions in the computer labs. Then maths and more maths. My supervising teacher had to leave early (just before lunch) to take her son to the doctors, so I was left running Boat F’s maths lesson. Pretty challenging, but overall a good lesson. Most of the students did nothing, some of them even wrote that on their trail sheets.

Another day, another lesson. Quite a few of the prac students finished today, so there will be less around next week. I’m one of the few that will still be here. Lucky me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday 11/06/06
Prac Block Day 21

Cheryal was back today – so glad. My first class was music – which I was taking!! It was pretty exciting, but I knew I didn’t have enough planned. The music teacher didn’t give me any feed back on the lesson plan I gave her (in fact she had lost it) so I just told her it was going to be too short and to be prepared to fill it out with something (ie – compositions) and began preparing!

I hadn’t been able to find a piano score for the song that I was using, so I ended up writing my own song and giving the students the score to that. The lesson started well, and the students understood what was going on. My questioning work was a little broad and I didn’t bother writing stuff up on the board that I should have, but oh well. The students were pretty on the ball anyway.

After we listened to the songs and discussed how to write for piano, myself and Megan, the other music prac teacher, played my song for the students. They really got into it an understood what was going on with the piano writing. Apparently I could have expanded that activity more (and I probably would have) except that the second time through the song, my eyes just started watering and they didn't stop. It was so painful, I could hardly see! AHH!! It’s like teaching nightmares come true. My mascara was everywhere, I couldn’t open my eyes (I ended up finishing the song with my eyes closed!!) it was a painful experience.

Luckily there were two other teachers in the room or it could have been a very awkward legal matter, but as it was, one of the students took me down to the loos and I washed out my eyes (and all the make up off my face) while they just worked on their compositions. When I got back (with my incredibly blood shot eyes) Megan was showing them some basic chordal structures and then they worked on their compositions.

As far as me teaching – the lesson was over. I finished it up pretty well, and Megan played her composition for the students, but I felt so unsettled for the rest of the day.

Maths and maths again for the next two classes, nothing terribly eventful here (especially compared with music that morning). The students really are working well on their maths this time and about a third of each of the classes are already on their second books! Hooray! We had some more work handed in too, of which I marked the money games work. One girl hadn’t even done her final task... sad day.

The final lesson was Japanese and as I had done the lesson on pets the previous day with out my supervising teacher, I did it again with the beginners today. It was A LOT harder today simply because the sheet was in hiragana which the beginners struggle with a lot. Also, because the students are younger they are a bit more chatty than the older class.

As a result, we spent the majority of the lesson just translating the hiragana into romaji so that they students could read it. I also had some boys who simply didn’t do any more. After we had done that, I showed them how to ask each other who had pets and then had them play pet bingo with each other. It worked pretty well (although walking around the classroom and literally being lost in the sea of thirteen students (ten of which are taller than me) was an experience and a half) apart from two boys who kept wasting time and asking in English.

I ended the lesson with a quick recap on the names of animals and let the students go. My teacher (who had spent most of the lesson up the back with a glazed look on her face (long day, still sick and had a headache coming on)) said I had done well. She said there wasn’t really any other way to do the translations (hiragana to romaji) although I wonder if I couldn’t have had them work on a few animals each in groups? Oh well – something for next time.

My prac folder is stuffed full of lesson plans and resources that I have collected from the last five weeks. One week and two days to go.

Today I learnt that tissues are something that are always needed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday 10/06/06
Prac Block Day Twenty One

After the long weekend, it was strange to go back to school on the Tuesday. What made it stranger was the fact that my supervising teacher was away and I had classes all by myself! Of course at the end of the day – I was told I shouldn’t have taken classes with out a supervising teacher, but considering they didn't give me one – I fail to see where that’s my fault.

Anyway, I was supposed to be taking the class this morning on pets, so I did just that! The students dribbled in but were fairly ready to work. We started by reading all the pet names in hiragana. It was pretty good – they did better than I expected although there were a few people who didn’t even try. After this I told stories about pets in Japan and then introduced them into asking weather or not people had pets.

The game of bingo that I had the students do was where they had to walk around the classroom asking their classmates if they had the same animals. It worked really well because the students were up and moving and because we had practiced the sentence structure, they were confidante to ask their classmates.

After this I had 15 mins to spare, so I let the students choose from three activities and then monitored their work. At the end of the class, I did a quick run down on counters for animals which is something we will do next lesson. In hindsight I could have introduced the counters earlier and had the students integrate them into their sentences, but at the time I felt like they needed a break.

All in all it was a good lesson – one which I will repeat tomorrow with the beginners class. Hooray!

After this I went down to maths with D1 and then after lunch D2. I got the students organised on their work, collected old work and answered questions on the new work – I’m feeling like an almost accomplished maths teacher :P I also used the 3, 2, 1 rule for the first time!! Scary but fun! The students really do respond well to it because it is so basic and they are very used to it.

After lunch I had a spare and since sport was cancelled and all I’d be doing in any other boat would be drifting around be unhelpful, I decided to stay in the room and do some work. I did. ☺ I marked the maths stuff, I reflected on my Japanese lesson and then I prepared for my music lesson tomorrow.

Then I went out and did bus duty. All by myself.

I feel very much like a teacher today – because that’s what I did.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday 06-06-08
Prac Block Day Twenty

Hooray Friday is here and what a wonderful Friday it was!

Thursday I was in C2 again, but while they did the best maths work that I have ever seen them do in the first lesson, the rest of the day I found that they just wasted time! Seeing students waste 70 minuet lessons on chatting and nothingness is the most frustrating thing ever!

By the end of the day I was ready for a break, so when the girls turned up for Bollywood dancing, I took off to go look at what the Art students do in their rich tasks. I didn’t get as far as the Art students because I saw the prac teacher from Music sitting outside with a group of students playing and clapping rhythms. I ended up joining their group for the lesson.

It was a lot of fun to be working with younger students on practical, hands on stuff like rhythms. It was also a challenge to say each of the rhythms correctly as the students clapped them. All in all it was a good way to finish the afternoon.

At assembly that morning, the principal announced that there would now be awards for bad language and bullying in the school. He showed the students the trophies he had made up. The “Bad Language Award” for Girls was a truck drivers singlet in a frame. This was, the principal explained, because girls who used foul language sounded like truck drivers.

The Boys “Bad Language Award” was a pink tutu, a set of fairy wings and pair of ballet shoes, again in a frame. This was because boys who used bad language are confused as to what makes them a man.

The “Bullying Award” was a yellow jacket (I think) which was to say that all people who bully are cowards.

The principal continued to explain that if anyone was awarded any of these trophies for any month, they would have their photo taken with it and then that photo would be sent to all contactable members of their family.

Interesting concept.

I’ve noticed that most of the students refer to the principal by a nickname and it’s not a bad thing, but it’s a familiar way of referring to him. Interesting again.

Today started with my prac teacher letting me know that her youngest daughter has chicken pox.

We then had Japanese and I got to go over sentence structures again with the students and expand on the basic work I did last lesson with them. One of the girls (who turned up late) has suddenly decided that (despite doing really well in Japanese) that she doesn't like it any more and wants to go back to her usual class. I can understand that it’s important for students to be able to have choice in their studies, but at the same time, I think it’s important for them to see a commitment they have made through, at least until the end of the term.

As it is, I’ve seen more than one student tell my teacher that they want to leave Japanese since the time that I’ve been there. It’s sad to see them not sticking by their commitments.

Music was next and the teacher had bought in a didgeridoo to show the kids and play. It was pretty fun and all the students really got into it and wanted to have a go. It was excellent to see them all so engaged in the lesson.

I had maths twice more today, and I started collecting the final lot of money games assignments to mark. Around 50 students did Money Games across the four maths classes that I’m in, and I’ve marked about 39 assignments already – it’s almost a record for work handed in! Hooray!

Also today, the teachers form a team to play against a group of boys in soccer at lunch time. It’s funny to see the principal running around in his good pants, shirt and tie with his joggers on. All the students really get into it and there are a lot who come just to watch. Pretty fun really.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wednesday 04/06/08
Prac Block Day Eighteen

I’ve come to discover that the life of a teacher is very repetitive. Especially if you only teach one subject at the same level all the time. But I’ve also noticed that the students tend to make every lesson interesting despite this.

Tuesday was a standard Tuesday at school. Japanese in the morning started off with some revision and then a listening and reading test. The students won’t be graded on their tests, but they will give an idea of how they are going with the language. I got to mark the tests, and on average the students got about 70% right. Not too bad.

After this we had maths and maths again. We have started the new unit of maths, so this meant more photo copying and handing out booklets to students. It also means collecting the old work. Some students are very on time about their work, others however, need a lot of encouragement to remember to hand their work in. My teacher is still collecting work from over 5 weeks ago now! Shocking!

I have marked most of the money games work, and the students are on their next unit. These are on topics such as taxes, “the cost of living” (house hold bills etc), home improvements (costing do it yourself jobs around the home) and “wages and salaries”. The units are also smaller than the others have been, so students are able to complete more than one in the 3 weeks that they have to do it.

The students have been working fairly well, we had maths again today and they did work for most of the time. The rain craze is fading (thankfully!) and things are getting back on track.

Sport on Tuesday was cancelled (the ground was still soaking) so I just did marking and photo copying during the spare.

Today, I had music first. The teacher took the students though how to play and write for drums. It was a pretty good lesson – especially considering we didn’t have enough sticks for everyone and drums are one of the hardest things to play. One of the students got really frustrated that he couldn’t get it, so the teacher gave us all a prep talk about why we keep trying. It was a pretty good lesson. I love the small class feel. I’m excited about taking them for piano writing next Wednesday!

Maths and maths again for the next two sessions, before I had Japanese for last lesson. In this Japanese class, the students had to do the same tests as the previous class and then they wrote out a good copy of the family trees and descriptions they had been working on in class.

I was pretty shocked, about four of the boys hadn’t been to class for a while and so the teacher took them through the basic outline of what they had to write (almost hand feeding them the answers!). I can’t say what shocked me more – that they were almost hand fed answers or that they didn’t realise it and did some of the most shocking work I’ve ever seen.

I guess when you take a class for a while you begin to really like them and want them to succeed so much that you will try to feed them answers.

Staff meeting cancelled, so I came home early to write my music lesson plan, my lesson plan for next Tuesdays Japanese class on pets, my over view for the kankyou unit and my overview for Australian Music. Yay planning!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday 02/06/08
Prac Block Day Sixteen

Rain rain go away, come again another day. The students go crazy – especially when there is no place outside for them that is undercover and they have to spend all of the day inside their classrooms. The school is on a slope, so when it rains, the water just runs down. There is quite a lot of grass, but once that is soaked to the max, the water runs over the cement areas down the paths to the back of the school (which by the way, is a dam). The low area under Boat F fills up and looks like you could go swimming in it.

Anyway, today was the first day I’ve had problems with getting my grade nine kankyou students to actually work. The girls just wanted to chat and the only boy just wanted to check every second thing he did rather than progressing. I ran everyone through some practice sentences at the start of the lesson and that really helped with how they approached their writing tasks, but on the whole, it was a pretty slack day. I think I’ll start the next lesson with some more sentences so that they can really get a grasp on it all.

After this we had maths with Boat F. They started their new section today, so we handed out their work and they got going. Most of the students worked fairly well! Hooray! One of the girls even managed to get her whole book done in one lesson – so that was exciting. She’s working on another one next lesson.

After lunch we ran the same thing with Boat E who were so rowdy I kept confusing them with Boat F. They got a lot of work done too when it came down to it.

In the afternoon, I went to music, and the students practiced their aural skills by singing do, re, mi solfa intervals and then learnt about how to set a melody. The music teacher spilt her whole hot chocolate all over the floor and had to clean it up, but the students worked fairly well under the circumstances.

Another day over, and that’s more than half of my prac done! Yay!