Bulut Tanrısever

My first teaching experience in a public school

Tarih: 04 Aralık 2019 ÇarşambaSaat: 16:01Okuma Süresi: 10 dk. 14 sn.Yazar: Bulut Tanrısever

I had successfully executed my first teaching session on November 14, 2019. I had so much paper work for the lesson that I had to find someone else to help me the previous day. We cut those papers in Devrim together, but we couldn’t finish it when it started to rain, so we had to go to a dorm to keep cutting them. How was I to know that it was the last day we saw each other?

Nevermind…

We finished cutting those papers (will be added to this document), and we literally had spent 4 hours doing that. She wondered how would I be able to complete the work without her help. Nevertheless, I was so happy at the end of the day since my work would worth every second of it. So, I put those Hogwarts badges, Hogwarts student id cards and Hogwarts enterance certificates to my bag and made my way to the school the next day.

I entered the classroom, and after 15 minutes of lesson by Çitim hoca, she left the stage for me and gave me the mic. However, I wasn’t ready for it since I had to open a slide on the internet and prepare my materials on a desk. I was planning to do the lesson the next hour, but I quickly managed to set everything as planned. I opened the slide which was about Hogwarts itself in order to inform the students who hadn’t watched Harry Potter series until that day.

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So, I basically talked about what roleplaying was about and I introduced our (since I was Filius Flitwick as soon as I started talking) school in order to increase their curiosity levels while presenting the slide. To accomplish that, I put several pictures of students who were at their age wearing Hogwarts uniforms. Then, we moved onto the next stage in my lesson. I taught two hours straight, since Çitim hoca saw that the students who couldn’t participate in the activity started to go crazy. It was OK for me to teach more than 20 minutes, and that was what I had done in the class. We decided to print more of these materials and gave them to the students who received 10 points in a quiz that they had completed the previous day.

I was happy in terms of my teaching enthusiasm, since I enjoyed every second of my teaching. It was like, I could go on forever doing that activity and students would participate in it with the same level of passion. However, I expected more of them to be accepted to Hogwarts Academy in the activity, since we had been covering those vocabulary items for weeks, and they were still struggling to remember them. This showed me that the activities in their course book weren’t so authentic, and asked very little from them. They had surely learned that ‘cut’ was related to cutting something. However, when they were asked to literally cut something, they hesitated. This wasn’t unexpected in my case, and the purpose of the activity was to check whether it was real or not. My experience proved my doubts correct. Students aren’t able to grasp these vocabulary items successfully unless they are put into real environments.

I became proud of my hand-made lesson materials after the activity for several reasons. One reason is that, students keep asking me when we will go to Hogwarts Academy in UK, even after 2 weeks have passed. The other reason comprises the students’ questions related to Harry Potter series. For example, they ask questions about wands, about the student id cards and the things that happen in the academy.

One thing that I didn’t like about my lesson was about, of course, classroom management. As students became over-enthusiastic about the lesson, they wanted to observe each competitor closely and thus, left their desks. I can’t blame them either. The students in the back rows weren’t able to watch what was going on in the class. I oftentimes tried to get their attention to my hands while pointing out the materials overhead, so that they would be able to see the activity. Yet, I found myself slating those who come to the front rows and interrupt the activity.

Until that day, I had only taught prep school students in groups of three. Therefore, it was a whole another level for me to teach a real classroom that consisted of kids, more kids… Also, the understanding of pleasure differed to a large extent between prep school students and 2nd graders. I used to link my English lessons with philosophy in order to help students identify themselves with the lesson. For example, one of my lessons was “How can I repair my broken heart? A philosophical introduction to pain”, and in that lesson they talked about their ‘broken hearts’ and I’m sure they all were thinking about their ex girlfriends. Inevitably, they talked a lot and enjoyed the lesson, though it was a bitter one. However, in the latter case with those students in Beytepe, I intentionally had to provide fun elements.

If I were to do the lesson again, which I will do it again in the next week as Çitim hoca wanted me to do so, I will definitely punish or exclude students who interrupt the process. I should create a list of not-to-do’s in the activity, so that they won’t lose their privileges. Overall, I believe that I did a good job.

I knew beforehand that the students would go crazy if I only presented my work for 20 minutes, and I was correct with my predictions. Those who failed to be chosen to the academy wanted another chance from me. Those who weren’t able to be nominated in the activity blamed me for being unjust and ‘cruel’ (though I used a computer program to choose the students). I promised to create a list of the students who couldn’t participate, but it wasn’t enough for them. I think that this summarizes their reaction towards the lesson.

At the end of the activity, Çitim hoca told me how much she loved it, and she even mentioned it to her colleague, and that teacher talked me privately and commented about how good these materials were. She also said that I should do the activity for the whole school.

 

-IIııh, okaaaay ıhıhı....

Reflection on the Feedback 

She told me that she gave me 30 points without hesitation. These were my strengths according to  her observation:

  • Has perfect skills in communicating with students
  • Perfect preparation for the lesson
  • Great at motivating students in the lesson
  • Makes good use of the language

Also, she told me that she didn’t find anything that had to be improved.

So… it’s not easy for me to evaluate myself according to these observations. Everything seemed perfect for her, and this won’t help me to criticize myself objectively. I saw her smiling several times while I was doing my teaching session. Thus, I assume that she enjoyed it too.  Nevertheless, I want to talk about these statements.

I don’t go to the teachers’ room during breaks. I spend my time with the students instead. We dance together, I teach them several dance moves (shuffle, jumpstyle). I teach them how to do pistol squats. We talk about those posters on the walls together. I think my actions are in conformity with my understanding of authentic teaching. I’m not a random person who visits the classroom for some time, and runs to the teacher room on a number of occasions. I don’t go to that school to drink a cup of tea with elder teachers, I go there to spend time with the students and observe them. That’s why I don’t struggle to communicate with them.

My preparation had been great for her, and this was mostly because of my attitude towards life. I had an existential crisis last year. On a rainy Ankara day, I went to the barbershop to shave my head, and I also went to the tailor in the campus to have him sew a Pink Floyd patch on my coat. The barber couldn’t shave my head properly and the tailor failed to sew the patch proportionally. Then I realized that this country  was full of people who didn’t love their jobs, but people who care about the money that they earn. I revolted against this situation and promised myself that, if I wanted a change in the society, I should change myself first. Only then have I been able to approach my duties with more passion.

As for the motivation part, I’ve been motivating my friends to do physical exercises to increase their medical conditions for years. Thus, I’ve been able to recognize what motivates a person. I know what fuels the fire in a soul, and I believe that I had successfully projected it in the lesson.

I might have represented a model for the students in language production for several reasons. I think my pronunciation was clear and understandable, and I used several gestures while lecturing. Although I used language patterns sometimes that they hadn’t heard before, they were able to grasp them by means of my body movements and my intonation.

To conclude, it was a nice experience for me and I’ve been able to see how good I might be if I were to teach young learners. Nevertheless, this achievement won’t stop me to fit in the world limits, and I’ll keep working hard.

 


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