Thursday, October 1, 2009

Saving Face

Growing up as an Asian American, I think it's ingrained in us that you need to put your best face forward - only show your best work, and that "practice makes perfect". I know my parents did not drill this into my sister and I, but I picked it up along the way - the tiring act of being "perfect".

As a student teacher, we are supposed to observe and take on small lessons each day. My CT (cooperating teacher), however, gives me a lot more freedom and now I teach about 4 lessons a week (two a day, since I'm only there two days a week). It's been a really good learning experience, but also scary! She has been so supportive, though, and really encouraging as well. She gives me good feedback as well, so I'm really learning a lot as I go.

I realized a shift in my mentality, though, about teaching. Before, it was all about, "How can I present the best lesson to my kids?" I would practice repeatedly and most times, present a very polished lesson. However, were my students learning anything? I realized through my first month of actual student teaching that teaching has to be flexible. Students may not give you the response you want, but that doesn't mean they're not thinking - you often just have to probe a little deeper to see where the connections are coming from. The lesson may not go as you had planned, but sometimes, it's even better that way. I've learned that my students' learning comes first, and even if that means taking the lesson I planned and throwing it out and going with where the discussion is going, that's okay! If real learning is taking place, that comes first. :)

It's not about me presenting the perfect, polished lesson. It's about my students, and how much they get from my instruction. I want them to learn the most that they can. My own "performance" does not matter if no one is learning anything - I gotta learn flexibility and the ability to think on my feet faster.

Lessons learned. I love it!