Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thinking on One's Feet--a Gift Every Teacher Possesses:)

What happens when a lesson a teacher has carefully and thoughtfully planned out turns into a disaster?  This is an event that happens just as much with new teachers as it does with veterans (I include myself here as well).  How can such misjudgements be handled quickly and efficiently in time for the next class? :)

This clip is one that will raise the self-confidence of any teacher.  Notice how her original plans fell by the wayside when she noticed the rising noise level.  When her students starting chatting, she realized that they felt overwhelmed by the assignment.  When her hard working student raised her hand to explain that she didn't understand the vocabulary in the first sentence, she realized that she misjudged their reading skills.  By trying to attempt a heavy reading assignment in only a few minutes was unrealistic.  In fact, one student commented on how many papers they were expected to read.  He did not feel he could accomplish the task.

In between the students of one period leaving and the new ones for the next period about to come in, the teacher started reflecting on how to adjust the lesson to make it more accessible by carefully scaffolding accompanied by a teacher modeling and reading key paragraphs aloud (with time allotted for commentary from students).  She also employs a group charting strategy where small groups analyze an assigned passage and then note key phrases or create sentences using sentence starters on that topic.  After a minute or so, the charts are passed to the next group where students must first read what the prior group wrote and then add to it (like CAROUSEL but here students sit).  Students were doing most of the talking ON TOPIC than the teacher was (that is the ideal scenario).

When this class left, the teacher sought feedback from a colleague (a great support for any teacher and non-threatening since a colleague is not an administrator) where she shared her experiences between the two periods and why she was especially pleased by what happened in the second class.  Her colleague confirmed her good judgment.


The bottom line here is that all teachers have those occasional days when carefully planned lessons fall flat on their faces.  With reflection (which all dedicated teachers do), adjustments are made so that the next time a lesson is delivered, it is a more successful one:)

I hope you enjoy this very positive affirmation of what we strive to achieve with the delivery of every lesson.  Teachers never give up on trying to meet the needs of their students every day in every lesson.



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