Have you ever had just a really big day? So, today was a big day for me. My training wheels are coming off.
As a student teacher, you have to be observed three times by an experienced teacher (usually a retired art educator) who evaluates your lesson plan and classroom organization and management, as well as your teaching style. This observer, also known as your student teaching adviser, is basically your coach through your student teaching experience. You talk to them about all things student teaching, ranging from classroom management tips to how to manage conflicts to teaching method differences that you may have with your cooperating teacher.
My first observation was today. Student teaching observations aren’t meant to be a surprise or anything, so don’t worry, prospective student. I’d met my observer over winter break for coffee, and we planned when to schedule my first observation over a month ago. She is awesome and had given my invaluable advice already.
Today, for my first observation, she watched me teach a kindergarten class about how to create a pattern. I’ve been trying to tie in literacy skills into my art lessons, so I chose to do a read aloud from a book that I’ve had since I was eight years old, Maya Angelou’s My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me. It’s the story of a Ndebele girl in South Africa who lives in a village where the women paint patterns on their houses. For the artwork, I had my kindergartners use stamps to create four columns of matching patterns, emphasizing that patterns can happen when colors and shapes repeat themselves.[flickr id=”8474890242″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
My observer said my lesson went really well and that my students responded well to me (which is a teacher’s dream). My kids were so well-behaved and did a great job of paying attention (which was really impressive given that I had them doing a lot of listening). Here are some of the constructive things she said to me:
• Editing. I know this about myself and am working on it! I tend to want to pack so much in a lesson that it becomes a push to finish everything in one class.
• More visual and tactile props for my lesson. I spoke a lot and showed a lot of pictures with my book, but she would have liked me to have something for the kids to touch that related to the lesson.
• Find a way to make the handing out of materials easier for me. I had a lot of materials for this lesson. Paper, four paint colors, multiple stamps. I was as organized as I could make myself, but with the rotating of materials from table to table, I probably looked like a short order cook.
This lesson has been really fun to teach, and I can say that one of the best things about teaching elementary education is that you get to perfect your lesson over the course of the week. You learn from how your students respond to the lesson and make adjustments for classes that work best for their needs.
This is my first of three observations in my elementary school placement. One down, two to go. I’ll keep you posted!