The most important thing that I have learned from being apart of this course is that teaching requires a lot of self reflection. After a semester of weekly visits with the high school students, I have learned that I am in need of improvement before I can move on to teaching a class of my own. Being a teacher is not as easy as I had imagined. There are many components that go in to teaching such as lesson planning, student-teacher relationships, and the actual teaching part.
I found myself having trouble managing my time when it came to lesson planning. I was given five days to come up with a lesson for one class. I would procrastinate on planning and then find myself struggling when I finally got started. I had trouble planning the lessons because the goal for our class was to have the students learn in a conceptual way. Planning lessons where students have to think conceptually is harder than planning procedural work for them. The fact that I struggled so much to get through one lesson in a long time frame has made me realize that I need to work on managing my time better before I can become a teacher.
Another area of improvement that this class has made me think about is the importance of student-teacher relationships. Teaching is more than just sticking to a curriculum. Teachers need to form bonds with their students to get them engaged.
While I was at the highschool, I found it hard to connect with the students. I am an introvert so opening up and having vulnerable conversations with the students is a difficult task for me. I also had trouble finding a way to give students words of encouragement. By the end of this semester I found myself opening up with the students by taking small steps such as asking how their day is going or asking about their plans for the holidays. I noticed that using small talk would get the students to be more talkative about the lessons. I want to continue working on ways that I could build relationships with students that way they can feel confident in my classroom.
As for teaching, I feel as though I need to work on finding ways that the students can better understand me. There were a few times with the high schoolers where I felt stuck because I did not ask the right questions to help get their brains thinking or I could only explain the work in one way. I tend to explain math in a way that I understand it but that does not mean that the students understand it.
One of the things that I have learned in this course is the need to know how to solve problems in various ways because students will be doing their work in a way that makes the most sense to them and that might not be what makes the most sense to me. I do not want to be a teacher that tells students that what they are doing is wrong because they do not use my method.
By thinking about all the different ways that the students will interpret the lessons, I will be able to adjust my explanations to their ideas. In our class we worked on being open to listening to the students’ ideas. I found that with practice, my explanations became more clear.