My first week, well full week, of student teaching was a little crazy! I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. I knew that from the start I would take over the English 10 classes. I also knew that I would try to jump in as much as possible with the other classes: American Seminar 11 and Honors 10. And I knew I would be introduced as Mrs. Stanton’s co-teacher from the start, which I was excited about because it gave me an important authority role from the start of the school year.
My first week started with Thursday and Friday. I met my freshman, who I would have every morning of first semester for Quick Time [a period before school starts where students are able to meet with teachers, work on homework, complete missing assignments, or make-up work due to absences]. My Thursday consisted of getting to know those freshmen, introducing them to the school, taking them on a tour, helping them get into their lockers, and making their first day at Mason City High School seem like a breeze.
On Friday, I met my actual students. My plan was to get to know them with a fun name tag activity, then introduce them to their computers and help them get into the Google Classroom website. On Tuesday, then [no school Monday because of Labor Day] I jumped in with lessons. For English 10, that was starting Tuesdays with Morrie. Honors were working on their summer autobiography papers and revising them. American Seminar was jumping into the Colonial Period and The Scarlet Letter.
In reflecting on the week, the one thing I think I want to work on is student engagement in my English 10 courses. My first period students are silent. I mean absolutely silent. Some of them look just like the picture on the left. Getting them to talk is like pulling teeth. I have to stare at them until someone speaks [which usually takes a while, so I haven’t been doing that] or I have to call on individuals, and then I’ll receive one word, quick responses.
My goal with these students, specifically, is to find ways to get them engaged in the material. Perhaps small group work, or with having them write something than share it will be more effective in getting them to speak up and share independently. I feel that the majority of the students understand the content, they are just unwilling to share with one another, or even more so, with the entire class. I’m going to plan activities and discussions that incorporate more individual thinking first. Perhaps this will provide the material so that there are no issues with confidence–the material is there. It is now a matter of speaking it aloud. This will also allow me to do a formative, informal assessment of where each student is. Hopefully this will start to solve my awkwardly silent class problems 🙂