After spending a sizable amount of time discussing things with my mentoring teacher, I am feeling much more self-assured. Although she is not the coddling type, I appreciate her willingness to help me figure out what it is I am doing well and what I need to work on. We’ve decided that the most problematic thing for me is that, while I know what to teach and am confident in front of the class, I struggle with knowing what to say while I’m teaching. It’s difficult as a new teacher to remember all of the things that should be covered in the lesson and linking them to prior learning. I am doing my best, but I know this is an area where I would benefit from more practice.
We decided the best course of action would be some modeling. So, beginning next week, she will teach the morning class and I will follow with teaching the afternoon. That way, I can take notes on what she is focusing on for knowledge recall on the part of the students and how she is drawing out that prior knowledge to link it to the current lesson. This also gives me a frame of reference for how I might want to teach the same lesson later. Although I might not do it exactly as she does, I should be able to note what she is doing and build on it for my own purposes.
Another thing that has helped me to feel better is doing more lesson planning and understanding what the next couple of months will look like from a planning standpoint. I have learned that planning is very essential to any teacher, but particularly new ones. By physically sitting down and working on the lesson, I think critically about it myself, which then enables me to teach more effectively. I have to say that I honestly love the planning part. Research has always been one of my favorite things as a student. Planning gives me the opportunity to look at how other teachers are doing the same things I am (thank goodness for internet lesson plans!), and how I can adopt certain parts of their plans to my own.
There are some things coming up that I am preparing for, too. I have to take my WEST-E exams, and I am taking several. I’ll take the Social Studies, Reading, and Middle Level Humanities (there are two subtests) ones. I’m nervous about these, but I’ve been working on studying for them for a while now, so I should be ok. They are really expensive, though! I’m also just beginning work on my thesis, to be completed by graduation in May. Since I’m starting to feel better about things, I’m not so overwhelmed as I was the other day. Things are looking up, lots to look forward to!More