Thursday, August 21, 2008

it does get better.

Thank you to all of you for your comments about my student teacher yesterday. I really appreciated knowing that there are many of you out there who feel the pain.

Today she improved greatly.

As I said yesterday, with the kids she is really good. She knows her content and she has a great rapport with the kids. She is very different to me as a teacher - and I have pointed out that this is a brilliant thing. Her teaching style is a subdued, confident approach. I told that I saw this - she was unaware of her style and then was worried that it was wrong. I assured her it was not and that it was beautiful.

Where the problem is is the fact that she doesn't trust that she 1) knows the information and 2) is concerned what the kids/teachers think of her.

It is hard going.

Compared to my last student teacher she is a delight as she knows her content but is wanting to find more. There is none of the arrogance that he demonstrated in his first few days. I realise that both of them have demonstrated behaviour that shows insecurity. Both have shown that they are very young. Both have demonstrated that they are capable. Each has their own journey - I just wish I had the manual on their behaviour BEFORE they got here. That way I could be prepared.

Gorgeous did tell me in an email that 'there is a reason' that I am getting these particular teachers. I know this but when you are so busy (MASSIVE CONCERT NEXT THURSDAY NIGHT AND I AM IN CHARGE OF THREE ENSEMBLES - I am whispering that to you as loudly as I can!) it is hard to remember that I have things to teach them and they things to teach me.

Student teachers provide me with the opportunity for reflection - on my own teaching and my own development. They keep me in focused on what my journey is and has been.

So to the positives of the day. Her rap class (made up of my own lesson plan) went well with the other supervising teacher. Her single period with me went really went well too! The year 11s were being challenged in their analysis work. She quietly reprimanded a child for not doing the homework and then told him that he could take notes from what the others were discussing but would have to report on another aspect next lesson. The look on his face was priceless.

I think the best thing for her today was to SEE how busy we are at the moment and that you do have to constantly work at things. The first time she and I sat down to talk properly was after school. She said "I haven't seen you all day." I think she was going to follow with some other comment which could have been something about yesterday and my reaction so I jumped in with what I was doing all day.

Here is today's timetable for me for today.......not usual but necessary for this time of year with THE MASSIVE CONCERT NEXT WEEK!

8am before school theory.

8.30 Meeting with singing teacher to finalise solos for last item of concert.

8.50 (although I was late as I was photocopying but raced over to let in and came back) taught first class - Year 11 Performance. During this lesson I spoke to the kids who had solos etc and pointing out that some are going to be disappointed as they haven't got what they might think they need etc. We have something like 16 senior singers to consider here!

9.40 English Skills with two diametrically opposed kids. One a ratbag but highly entertaining and will do what I ask once he has had the chance to flex his rebellious muscle; the other a kid who is striving to do the best he can in everything - just wants the opportunity to have his voice heard. Reading, spelling and grammar (my weak link is grammar!) with laughter thrown in.

10.30 set up band room for later rehearsal - this was while I was on yard duty

10.55 supervise student teacher while working with my year 12 student in styles.

11.40 Band rehearsal. Sound ok but need to concentrate (who doesn't?)

12.30 lunchtime - shortened - meeting with solo singers, backstage crew, compares. Discussion with kids "should I do year 12 music next year?" Quick planning with head of department about how to 'teach' three year 9 music classes with only 2 of the regular teachers present........still thinking through that! Was I meant to have eaten? That didn't happen!

1.15 Year 9 class (you know the one we just planned!!!!!) I had two classes together doing one task while he had the other. I had another teacher with me but we only have about 9 more classes with these kids and we want to make it worthwhile......they're composing. [We planned that there will be some team teaching going on when other teacher comes back and rotational stuff going on. The other teacher needs to be in room with only one class as he is doing the 'recording' unit and needs the kids on computers.......Then I go to that one in 3 weeks time and he does a unit with the teacher absent is confusing still but it will work out...I will put a diagram up if you REALLY NEED and when I work it out but now I am just rambling!]

2.05 rehearse with year 9 band. not my group. I was sight reading. They did ok but not brilliant - it'll all work out when they have either of their directors. Both absent today.

2.55 early finish - more students asking me lots of questions

3.15 meeting with student teacher while eating my lunch.

4.00 debrief with a few staff - needed to today!

Her mouth fell open in disbelief as I told her this while I ate my lunch. I then told her about the need to look after yourself at these times as a music teacher. I said that it is often easy to forget about yourself and that you might let diet and exercise go out the window. I was eating homemade soup that I had in the freezer. I said that planning is the GREATEST need of the music teacher. She took notes! (bless her!)

We planned her lesson - it looks fantastic! I then dealt with how I think she has changed since yesterday. I said that there is only one way to go but up. There was a moment when she gave herself permission! To do what? She needs to allow herself room to grow and develop. She needs to experience - it's all process and she needs to give herself permission to play.

Long post but cathartic. If you're still here.....thank you and love to you all. I'm off to sing.


Frogdancer said...

I'm scared to talk to you after your post and my post...

still, I feel better now. Jack told me he talked to you. G.N. told him that he has an awesome talent but was too immature to handle it. He needed a bit of translation from me to work out what that possibly meant...

Gorgeous said...

I am so glad things are on the improve.

Anonymous said...

Of course I am still here. Having student teachers in my class is great, but I have to say that of late there are only 2 streams. Those that should and those that should not. Why those that should not get as far as they do is not quite.... right ... somehow.

Laura Jane said...

Ahh, insecurity, it can bite anyone on the ass sometimes.

Nowhere to go but up, hmm. I'm sure you also told her that just because she's on the lowest rung, it doesn't mean she's the worst on the ladder, it just means that she is the most recent on the ladder, and some people are on the lowest rung and never progress very far no matter how long they spend there. Others, with the qualities you have described, will start moving up immediately.

I'm new at this supervising/preceptor business. Its not easy.