Last week started off rough. I had an observation by my field coordinator from the GV COE, and it did not go at all how I expected. The conversation between myself and my students was dry and superficial. Deep learning and deep conversation were completely absent. The feedback I received was unintentionally discouraging. What I was told to improve on were things I already knew needed improvement…but there are some things out of my control. The following day, students had to do some online testing (not even sure the purpose of this, but we were told they had to). Wednesday brought another day of anxiety because I was observed again. My content professor was the one to visit, however, and he observes in a very different way from my field supervisor. The lesson, again, seemed to completely flop. But instead of being completely discouraged after the post-observation discussion, I felt relieved. I was able to express how frustrated I was feeling and why. My professor acknowledged my frustration and then helped me brainstorm how to deal with it. I went home and went to bed. After some rest, I was inspired the next morning. They way my placement works right now, I have the first three hours to observe my CT and plan for my Algebra classes. I was no longer feeling that I needed a great, elaborate lesson to engage my students. Rather, I needed to work on the questions I asked them and how I facilitate discussions. Thursday was such an encouraging day. While the discussion wasn’t as meaty and thoughtful as the ideal, it was a small step forward from the previous day. That was an incredible feeling. While the Independent practice was still not my ideal, I had students ASK QUESTIONS! Believe it or not, my students don’t like to ask questions. Thursday, they did.
It’s a relief to know that I don’t have to have an amazing lesson to make progress in my placement. Instead, I need to reflect and prepare questions that build better conversations. Building an environment that allows my students to ask questions is far more important and it can be done, even within the many restrictions I feel weighing on me.
From here on out, I’m focusing on what I can practice and just rolling with the things I can’t. The time will come when I can take bigger risks and work on more things that I want to work on.