Back in School

keep-calm-and-pretend-it-s-on-the-lesson-plan-47

As it was my first experience in a secondary school, I was so excited about meeting my new students and school environment.  I felt valued when I enter teachers’ room. Actually, the thing is that practice teaching students were not allowed to share the same room with the teacher in my previous practice school. We had to mingle with students, which made hard to introduce yourself as a teacher rather than a senior student in a university. After meeting with my mentor teacher, we entered the class together. I was expecting more, as my mentor was a young nice woman. Unfortunately, I was painfully wrong. The attitudes of the teacher towards the students weren’t nice at all. She was rude and cruel to them. I think she was just thinking that it’s the only way to be able to control such a crowded and dynamic class. Anyway, I tried to ease myself by thinking that there might be a strong argument behind this attitude. I introduced myself and started observing the class.

Since it was assigned beforehand, I focused on figurative classroom language used during two observed classes. She was using the expressions to take attendance, control and discipline, deal with students and the problems, start and/or class, etc. Her main emphasis was on controlling the class so that the lesson would continue in a disciplined way.  She was so strict that no one in the class, including me, was comfortable in the class. The lesson was like “terror in the air”. Students were not allowed to do anything without permission. The teacher was the only authority in the class. If you want to observe a class where interaction and student centeredness are almost none, I can recommend you to go that very class. She used expressions like “nerde kalmıştık”, “açın kitabınızı sayfa 72″,”şimdi Sindirella’yı okuyoruz”, etc. I don’t know whether she did it on purpose or not but she used almost no praising after student responses. Those kinds of praises are important to courage students to participate and learn more. However, she did the opposite. For example, after a student read his piece of writing, she said ” olmuş mu sence? “, ” senden daha iyisini beklerdim”, ” çocuklar ne olmuş sizin hayal gücünüze”, ” o nasıl bir telaffuz yaaa”, etc. As far as I observed students’ responses after these words, they felt bad. They rarely attempted to participate again. If she had given more positive and constructive feedback, the students would have felt eager to take part in classroom activities. If I were in the mentor’s shoes, I would be more careful when choosing my words. I would use a neutral language targeting no one in the class. I could use expressions that the students may need to use in their daily life and learn the classroom language easily. In order not to criticize her completely in a negative way, I want to talk about her good behaviors as a teacher. She asked the students at back rows whether they could see the board clearly. Later she made the students having problem with seeing sit in the front. She warned the students to listen their friends: ” çocuklar listen please, dinler misiniz arkadaşınızı?” I would do the same things in her situation. However, for the bad examples, I would use milder and more appropriate versions of them. For example, instead of saying “olmuş mu sence? Senden daha iyisini beklerdim.”, I would say” it’s ok, but we can work on it more.” Rather than saying ” sen okuma yaa, sen okuyunca hepsini düzeltmek zorunda kalıyorum.”, I would offer ” what about reading after some of your friends read it .I think I am good enough to use FCL. However, it requires experience and a bit practice, so I am not so efficient. I believe that by setting classroom rules and routines and using daily expressions that students need to use in class activities, I can improve myself in my own class. Besides, I am aware of how and when to use those sentences. That’s why we have a course like practice teaching and observing the classes of some experienced teachers by combining our previous knowledge that we obtained from our own classes.

This week was a little bit challenging for me in terms of getting know the school environment and student profile. I hope upcoming weeks will be better than this.

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