Pre-Service Reflection – The First Day of School

My first day of interning in a Prairies school was exciting, to say the least! I found out at 7am that my teaching partner was ill and not able to come! I quickly switched to Plan B for our lesson plan, and printed off our questions for the students.

I arrived at the school, met my co-op teacher, and jumped in with both feet. The Ice-breaker activity that we had planned actually went really well. My co-op teacher was pleased to see the students engaged, and noted that was a good activity because they love to talk about themselves in Grade 8!

I started the “set” by introducing myself, mentioned that Ms. Hoffman was ill and that she would be meeting them next week, and a brief explanation of the game. I chose one student at a time, moving around the room and selecting a student at random. The students would state their name, draw a random question from my bag, and then answer the question.

I even felt good about my class management skills during the activity. I was able to successfully:

  • Move around in response to students that were chatting, distracted etc, to bring them back into the activity.
  • When necessary, I asked them, “What do good manners look like during class activities?” They responded with listening, not making fun of others, being respectful.
  • Once most people had gone, I asked them to raise their hand if they hadn’t had a turn. I had 7 more students to go.

Once everyone had had a turn, I answered a question myself, and then had my co-op teacher answer a question as well. This was my “closure”.

A couple of constructive reflections for myself:

  • I used “Zee” instead of “Zed” for someone’s last name initial and a student pointed out that we are in Canada! I was reminded that middle years students will call you out on things you say and do. On a good note, I acknowledged it, and laughed along with them about it.
  • I used “you guys” a couple of times, but I also used “Class” and “Grade 8’s” to address the class. This is something I still need to practice.

Aside from my lesson, I did have to remove “spitball shooters” from two students; once when the co-op teacher had stepped out of the classroom, and the other just before we got on the bus to go to Campbell Collegiate (we attended their Me to We Day). Although we had been warned last week to not be “the bad guy” on our first day, I felt I had to step in, and I did give the student a couple of chances to make an appropriate decision.

Overall, I felt that the day went really well. I was able to watch some teaching, some assessment methods and criteria, classroom dynamics and classroom management. My brain was stuffed full of thoughts and information and I felt mentality and physically exhausted. I look forward to going back next week with my teaching partner so that we can reflect and share together throughout the day.

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