JOURNAL ENTRY 9: SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS
MONDAY – FRIDAY (JUNE 3-7) – WEEK 6 OF PRACTICUM
This week I am learning that even though I feel a lesson went okay there are so many factors that
could be improved, and it’s a bit hard to swallow. My biggest issue with the students is discipline – I
have a low tolerance for off-task behaviour – talking and what not – however I am not sure of the
best approaches to deal with this. I need to remember to remain confidence and unshaken
regardless of behaviour.
I was given advice to just move the students – names on the board – split up groups – and I feel I
have done this before but with no luck . However, I feel more consequences need to be put in place,
so my AT told me that once the names are on the board they have once chance to get onto their
work and if they don’t then they come back at lunch time. If they don’t come back then an incident
report gets written. Hopefully this sorts them out a wee bit. This is hard though, as a student teacher
because I am only here for another week and I don’t want to get the students in a fuss as I’m just
about to leave. I feel that during my next practicum I could do this a lot better as I haven’t had such
a shaky start. I almost feel like some of the students feel betrayed by me as I was cool and excited
about them but then they get growled while I am teaching because they are off task. Some of their
facial expressions say it all.
Inspired by Hubber & Tytler’s chapter on conceptual change models given to us in class, I tried to
incorporate an ‘explain the misconception’ activity into one of my lessons on forces and motion.
These were not based on any known misconceptions from the class, but just in general (I found a
resource) and what happened was this: I gave the students a statement (misconception) and asked
them to 1. Identify what was wrong with the statement, 2. How would they reword the statement to
make it correct? And 3. Draw a picture to illustrate their statement. This would help students think
about what they may have thought and how the concept can be explained more scientifically than
originally thought. For example, ‘a moving object stops when its force runs out’ is a statement I used
for this exercise, and initially I am sure the students would have thought like that, but upon learning
more about balanced and unbalanced forces they could correct the statement. Students were then
asked to share their justifications with the class so that they could all think about the material and
perhaps start up a discussion if they wanted to.
I need to decide how I want to appear when I go on my next practicum – and I need to get organized
a book of teaching approaches, tactics to battle undesirable behaviour and ways to reinforce good
behaviour as well as ways to interest the students in lessons that aren’t terrible exciting. This is
something I need up my sleeve, not to try and think of the day before I take the students. I hope to
be much more prepared next time around. This will definitely help both my general and content-
based pedagogical knowledge.
It’s hard sometimes to get criticisms from my AT’s when I, on occasion, see them doing the same
thing or letting the same behaviours slide. I really need to talk with them and find out what to do in
certain scenarios. I have talked a lot to the other student teachers and have found that the things I
have tried from what they have suggested just didn’t work. But in saying that, if I didn’t try them I
wouldn’t have found that out – so it’s good I know what doesn’t work.
One lesson that went particularly well was one that started off with the students given a pep-talk by
my AT and I about their behaviour. They fell into line that day, but were talking non-stop the next.
It’s hard to put my serious face on when I want to be the happy, bubbly teacher they all want to
enjoy, however this is where I need to find the right combinations of me and ‘teacher me’ to be the
best teacher I can be.
I have learnt that I need to analyze student behaviour and decide to carry on or break up the lesson
with activities that weren’t in my plan at that time. I felt I was made aware of this too late on my
practicum, as it is something important to me and it was left until the last week to be made explicit.
However I feel this is something that will be on the forefront of my mind next practicum and I will
aim to improve my reading of student behaviour and how I act on it. I feel I was just too concerned
with sticking to the plan to see this, and just didn’t make the connection in my mind that the level of
talking showed their disengagement – I thought they were just being their chatty selves. Lesson
I feel I need to work on my lesson preparation and representation, as well as being confident in the
activities I choose to use – however the time constraints I had on my lesson plans (got told the day
before each lesson what I was to teach) so my plans would be completed each night and emailed to
my AT. This really limited by ability to tailor any adaptations of the content to students in the class,
which was reflected by the outcome of some of the lessons. Although the students did complete my
achievement criteria each day, they could have done better if I had prepared the lesson better. I did
feel quite limited on practicum just due to resources, room changes and the need to get through
content, alongside the expectations of my AT which made me feel like I couldn’t quite be me, and
that I didn’t have enough time to be me. I know I can achieve better lesson plans by planning further
in advance than I had this practicum and aim to be a lot more organized next time around.