Student Name: Erin O'Connor
Every day I go into my classroom about 20 minutes before the school day starts and my mentor teacher and I chat about what she’s teaching that day and how I can get involved. We are reading a novel called A Separate Peace by John Knowles and she has been letting me introduce and guide different discussions about the novel. I’m so excited to be gaining experience with the students, but I’m finding that guiding a discussion is more difficult than it seems because the students are not really comfortable with me yet… so getting them to participate in a discussion is bit like trying to explain gravity to a two year old. There are a lot of blank faces and uninterested stares looking back at me. There are a few token students who will raise their hands willingly, but usually I have to force discussion and call on people. I have noticed a major difference in participation when I lead a discussion versus when my mentor teacher leads a discussion.
This is a little disheartening, but I think participation will improve once students start to trust me more. I guess its all part of the learning process. That’s something I have to get better at: accepting that I am still learning. I keep expecting to get in front of the class and have everything just work out, but that’s not how it usually pans out. Teaching is hard work. Its unpredictable. You have to get used to the fact that sometimes you are going to lead a lesson and its going to completely flop… But you also have to realize that that’s okay as long as you reflect and improve. Some people say live and learn; I say student teach and learn!