03 September 2010

Five days down, 175 days to go!

No, I'm not really feeling like I want to count down the days. Actually it has been a good week. I could fairly confidently say that I know about half of my students' names, and I'm beginning to know a little of their personality and abilities.
I've just finished reflecting on this week using some very simple questions, so instead of reinventing the wheel I'm going to copy and paste my reflections for all to see.

Date: Friday 3rd September 2010

What new information did I learn this week?

I learned so much new information this week that my head is spinning. One important thing I learned is how the A-Z reading program can be used to inform teaching, and to differentiate instruction through the use of reading groups. I also learned that I need to speak more slowly. I think I already knew this, but I was reminded of it.

What have I done well this week? What made me so successful?

I have done well at teaching some lessons, especially the ones that I planned well for. I do not think the children have been bored at all this week. I think I have done well at interacting with the children and learning their names, including correct pronunciation and putting the right name with the right student. I think the name tags definitely helped me to do well at this. I will continue this for another week so that I can really get to know all students’ names well. I think I handled the conflict situations between children well, because I listened to all the different views of the situations then helped them to see that forgiving is important, and that they need to let go of their anger so they can be happy again.

What didn’t I do so well this week? What can I do to improve?

I think the thing that I didn’t do so well at this week was always speaking to the children in a quiet, gentle voice. I don’t think I shouted at them, but I wasn’t always quiet and gentle either. I would really like to improve this. I think that I need to consciously pray about this each day, and to think about how I am going to speak before I speak.

I don’t think I differentiated very well this week either, but I am still getting to know the children and their abilities. I think that, as I get to know the children better I will do this. An important thing that I really need to work on is effectively handling the extroverted children in my classroom who need to verbalise information in order to process it. This is something I will review and think about. I need to plan for more student talking time next week.

How do I feel about my teaching this week? Why do I feel this way?

I feel partly good and partly frustrated about my teaching this week. I feel good, in that I did my best, and I think the children had some fun, and that some of them learned some things. I feel good because some of the children, who initially would say nothing at all, have started to speak to me, even if it is only in a whisper. I pray that they will feel safe enough to take some risks and speak to me and know that they will be accepted for who they are. I feel frustrated because it is so difficult to tell how much some of the children actually understand, and I’m not sure if I am reaching them. I’m also frustrated because while I didn’t shout, I did raise me voice at times, and I really do not want to do that. I pray that God will help me to remember to use other strategies to get the children’s attention, and to be patient when they are talking when I need them to listen.

What other things have I been thinking about? Is there a reason for these thoughts?

I’ve been thinking about my friend K, and how I want things to be a little easier for her, because I know she is having a tough time in India. I’ve also been thinking about L as she continues to wait for God to give her a job in the US, and I’ve been thinking of and missing some of my colleagues from Logos. I’m enjoying my colleagues at EWIS, but it’s really hard being new!

What new possibilities could make my teaching better? What are the possibilities for next week?

I think that the way the A-Z readers are set up could really help make my teaching better, with its potential for differentiation. I think that the most important possibility for next week is that as I learn the students’ names and personalities I can do a better job of differentiating my teaching. I that once I get the Language Arts groups finalised then it will be easier to differentiate; especially now I know which is my more capable group. The other possibility for next week is to start some differentiation within the Mathematics program. One other possibility is to get some really good word work happening. The best thing though is to continue to rely on God for His strength for each and every day.

I thank God for the opportunity I have to teach 3rd grade, and know that God is using this time to teach me many things, as I continue to serve Him here in Cambodia.

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