Friday, October 17, 2014

Submerged: The First Week of Prac

Well, I did it.  I survived the first week of my practicum: the teaching placement where I get practical experience.

I say "survived" but I don't mean that in the sense that it was hard or painful.  No, that creates a negative image and that would not be accurate.  By "survived" I mean that I have not passed out from exhaustion because, man, being in high school is overwhelming.  Everything is go-go-go as students go from one period to the next with a brief lunch in between.  I find myself once more in the centre of the stream, being swept along from one thing to the next as I try to get my bearings and stay afloat.

One of the big challenges of the week is learning the names of all the students in my three classes.  So that's roughly 75 names and seeing as they keep changing clothes every day, the students are not making the process any easier. Haha.  I think it's important to learn their names because I want to show them that they are important enough for me to know their name.  I'm not just here to "earn a grade."  By knowing their names, I think it also allows me to exercise my authority when needed.  It's a lot easier to tell a kid that he needs to get back on task if you can say their name versus saying, "You..."  And then, in addition to learning students' names, I'm learning the names of the staff.  And while I've learned a number of their first names, I don't know many last names, which can be a challenge when a student is referring to a teacher and I'm oblivious to the fact that it's the teacher to whom I was speaking to moments before.

Another challenge is merely the flood of information.  Globally, my host school is great and they really want us Teacher Candidates to have the best placement experience possible.  We have all been told that we are free to join an extracurricular activity or that we can help out in different areas of the school should we so choose.  All we need to do is pick something.

Zooming in on my country or host teacher, this week has been busy learning where she is in the curriculum, what style of lessons she tends to give, how she manages the classroom, how everything is received by the students, what she expects of me and what (and when) I can start teaching among other details.  We have wasted no time and I've already lead a few activities in a couple of classes this week--which has been fun and a tad nervous-making.

By the time I got home in the evenings, I felt like I could pass out, but then I had tasks to do for the following day and lesson planning to start for next week.  Nonetheless, even with all the work I am enjoying my practicum so far and can even say that I am having fun designing my lesson plans.  There are so many things I want to try and so much more to learn.

As I go forward, I hope and pray that each day is full of new opportunities and that I stay afloat in the days to come.

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