THE NEXT CHAPTER
Day 1 – January 4, 2018
“Good morning grade 9 – __________. My name is Leah Mae Reyos Albofuera. I am currently enrolled at Cavite State University – Carmona Campus taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Mathematics”, what a lame introduction. Today was the day for “please-introduce-yourself” stuffs and I am not really a fan of it all. In spite being a people person, I despise opening my stories to anyone.
Since the day of deployment, which was yesterday, days was rather tiring and boring. Making observations for one more day or so will eventually tire my body more than actually teaching, for sure. But, this sure enough has to be done.
Being dressed as a student teacher gives me quite a sense of authority. This school was not new to me. On many count, I have visited this school for field study and came here as a student back then. Today, I realized how evident students recognize the power of a teacher’s uniform. It was such a privilege to feel like a teacher. This was once a dream. I already have come this far, yet the eagerness was still here, inside me. Who would have thought that my laziness will not get in the way of my teaching career? I must be one lucky lass, and here begins the next chapter of my life.
GETTING TO KNOW HER
Day 2 – January 5, 2018
I had a good idea of what to expect during my first week as a student teacher. At the same time, I kept an open mind as to what to expect more during this initial week. I will be teaching segments of my CT’s class by next week and will be the lead teacher all day in the following days. This was something that I did not expect to be doing so soon, but I grasped the opportunity with both hands. Reflecting about this as a student teacher, I think it is a good idea to be teaching immediately instead of observing for several days of the student teaching internship. I don’t think it is a ‘sink or swim’ scenario, but it is a good idea to get into teaching directly with the students which enable me to interact as soon as possible with the students. This approach by my CT has certainly helped to build my confidence with regards to my teaching ability. I am grateful for her being my CT.
Mrs. Susan B. Valdez, my cooperating teacher, was a fine woman with a short hair. She usually arrives early in the morning, 6:00 – 6:30 in the am to be exact, and goes home as late as 7:00 pm. A jolly, sweet, passionate and oh so “techy” school teacher that can literally makes you comfortable with her in just a while. My CT gives me pointers about handling classes once in a while. She got to approach me and set examples for me to fully understand the tips she wants me grasp. I can see how easy my teaching will be if my CT will do this regularly, but there is one thing that she can’t stand for, irresponsibility. From the start, she never failed to remind me to always come to school early. Yet, another statute I can never submit to. I guess there will be lots of reconciling that will happen.
FIRST OF THE FIRSTS
Day 3 – January 8, 2018
We need not to see the whole staircase, just take one step and eventually end up where we should be without even knowing it. This day was another step into becoming a professional teacher. Lucky I am to be able to come this far. Today was the first day of formal teaching. My knees are shaking as my heart’s skipping every beat. I guess this is it, the first of firsts.
The fourth grading period of the grade 9 curriculum was all about Trigonometry. This conforms with the spiral curriculum implemented by the department of education where segments of the branches of mathematics will be taught every year for great retention of lessons. Too bad that I am not a fan of trigonometry. Luckily, the lessons I will be teaching was clearly thought to us back in my school. The first lesson was to familiarize the students with the six trigonometric ratios. I saw how well the students grasped the lesson quickly and I am glad that it does not take us too long to finish up the lesson. I considered this as a good omen.
The students were warm. They more or less helped me during lapses while teaching. I could barely feel nervous after some time. I expected that they will most likely to check first how long my rope was, but I guess I misjudged them. I am glad that everything was going smoothly so far.
THROUGH THEIR EYES
Day 6 – January 11, 2018
As I looked into the paper sheets I am holding earlier. I saw not only the letters and numbers but also the terrified faces of the students in the back of my mind. How lovely it is to see them finally complete in attendance. This scenario only occurs twice every grading period, during periodical exams.
Every so often, I glanced through the crowd in front of me. All were looking down to their answer sheets while occasionally peeping into their seatmate’s papers. I lost count on how many times I have called the class’ attention and reminded them to mind their own papers. Some of them were awfully hard-headed. Then there was this little boy whom I suppose looking at me from time to time then peep at the answer sheet of the girl seating next to him then he will look at me again, repeat. I am trying very hard to ignore but later, he got comfortable with what he is doing. That was when I should have taken action.
I marched near him slowly. I guess he noticed me close approaching. He then settled down and sit up straight. I wonder, what was he thinking? Was he measuring my rope? Well, I got long patience if that is what this is all about. Besides, I have always been true to a promise I made several years ago, that is “to always look through everyone’s eyes to avoid misunderstandings”. Since then, I have always avoided to shout every time I am at my own peak of anger. Fortunately, this behavior of mine prevented major conflicts in my life. But then. I still have to give this student quite a taste of his own medicine.
Day 8 – January 15, 2018
Since my new placement started a week ago, I am happy to have the new grading period introduced to the students. Math lessons tend to be structured in a way that allows for more hands-on learning than other curriculum areas. A tool I have found particularly useful in teaching math is cooperative and collaborative learning.
As collaborative learning is a method of teaching and learning in which students’ team together to explore a significant question or create a solution through collaboration, it seems to follow that this model is the perfect fit for math discovery which was essential in the K12 curriculum. Based on observation, I have found that students really benefit from and enjoy working together in small groups on a structured activity. They take this type of learning seriously and work hard to achieve as a group. During our lessons last week, I walked around the room stopping to visit and work with each group I saw so much evidence of teamwork and students were fully engaged in helping their peers. I also saw how students have great times while learning.
The students seem to understand that they are individually accountable for their own work, and the work of the group as a whole, which I believe is a valuable life lesson. I also like the fact that cooperative groups work face-to-face and learn to work as a team which mimics the adult work environment better than the standard whole group model. This would really help me build proper introduction to my classes and I would make sure that this will be an effective way to retain lessons longer in my student’s minds.
Day 9 – January 16, 2018
Today was the first day of formal teaching. My knees are shaking as my heart’s skipping every beat. I tremble as I took the first step on the doorway. Good thing that my CT demanded to handle the first morning class. She supposed I must have observed her first before jumping into my own teaching. My CT taught Avocado with expertise. I felt really worried about how my teaching would sound. I have been uttering a prayer long enough.
One hour quickly passed by. Soon after, the time had come. Later on, I found myself singing. Singing what? “Shut up use SOHCAHTOA!” (appendix). I am so delighted to have practiced singing for the priming activity. I mean, hoisting up talent should always be anticipated if you are a teacher; hence, it must come handy at times. I suddenly remembered how Mr. Ian Orig put emphasis on the fact that teachers function not only inside the class but rather to every aspect of students’ very existence. In fact, as a teacher, one should take plunge into any other needs of the students. As for example, a teacher’s gift of good voice should be utilized whenever the students need help for some jingle making, chorales, etc. likewise, dancing techniques and advices, from a teacher with a gift of good dancing skills, must be shared to students when they need a hand for interpretative dances, cheer dancing, etc. Not only this, but also every other talent a teacher possesses should aid students as long as their improvement as an individual is concerned.
TEACHER’S DUTY 101
Day 10 – January 17, 2018
Aside from the actual teaching, I was involved with taking attendance, grading papers and entering them into the computer/grade book. I feel this first days of teaching has given me a full introduction in to the roles of a teacher. I’m really happy about this. It was a lot to do in the first couple of days, but day-by-day I could do exactly everything that my mentor teacher had shown me during the week.
However, there are some areas I need to work on that I have identified at this early stage. I should not be nervous about making clear rules to the students. If we are all on the same page, then there will be no confusion. By this I mean having a uniform policy about cell phones for example. I should not also be timid to speak up about inappropriate behavior. As the day wore on during Friday I became more comfortable in this role. I’m glad that even at this early stage I can reflect on and identify areas I can improve on.
I think I am truly ready to apply my learnings from 3 years and a half of college life. I am looking forward to the coming days. I feel this first week of actual teaching is helping me to lay a good foundation for the weeks to come.
THE END OF THE ROPE
Day 11 – January 19, 2018
The day started like any other day. It was worksheet day today and the students were too stubborn to participate in doing their worksheets. I certainly needed all the patience stored in the bottommost of my already saddened heart and my upset mind. I wondered what to do to make them finish the worksheet. At first, I thought that me being angry will force them to work but eventually, some continue chatting and some were sleeping. I will definitely lose all hairs from my body if things will stay like this.
The day passed fast, and I am down to my last class. Bayabas was such angles sent by above. My every class with them feels like just playing, no stress, no hassles. Today was their off day, from morning until the afternoon they just practiced their play in English. My CT argued that they were supposed to do their worksheet today which I think the reason why they seemed awfully groggy today. I am aware that they were not in the mood to do the worksheet, but it is too much that they actually copied each other’s answers in front of me considering that I already have called their attention several times to stop. I have come to the end of my rope. I felt very disrespected. If they were not Bayabas, I could just bear the pain, but I am very disappointed that my angles were now the cause of my pain. I admit that I cried in front of them, I just cannot help it.
If I would just pay no heed to what they did, I am certain that they would not learn their lessons. I need to be tough and rough with them staring tomorrow.
TIRED? SAY NO MORE!
Day 12 – January 18, 2018
My first week of student teaching has been a non-stop roller coaster ride. And by non-stop, I mean I honestly don’t think these teachers ever sit down. When students go to specials classes, teachers are making copies, meeting about how to better meet the needs of their learners, and creating challenging and engaging lessons for the next unit. And even then, you do not exactly “plan” how each day (or hour) is going to turn out. With over 60 students in each class I am interning, I have noticed the needs of each child are vastly different. Whether a student needs extra attention, struggles with reading, or is exceptionally bright, each lesson must adapt to these needs. And it was very tiring!
Throughout my college years, I would have been what they considered a “night owl”. I usually stayed up until midnight doing who knows what, but surprisingly I am often very productive in the late evening hours. That, however, has changed. It’s day fifteen of student teaching and 10 pm has become past my bedtime. I have never been so physically and emotionally drained. However, even when my alarm goes off at 5 am and it is still pitch-black outside, I look forward to coming to school because my kids at school have opened up to me, greeted me with hugs, and count on me to be there for them. And I can’t let them down. I just hope I will never stop of feeling like this.
Day 13 – January 22, 2018
I still have hangover from last week’s incident. The weekend failed to destress me. How could I be not troubled? I discovered that most of the scores of Bayabas last Friday falls below 10/40. Some of them even got 0 (zero). What a mess! I felt furious. Even though I am really not in the mood to teach, I still have to do it for the rest of my classes. Everything went smooth from morning till afternoon.
During my vacant time before my class with Bayabas, I prepared myself for the reprimanding that will happen later on. I put on my red lipstick and eye glasses, I also bun my hair and I literally look like Miss Minchin (Appendix Figure). I picked up their worksheets from last Friday and toss it at them one by one. Sooner, I began the scolding.
To have come to a point where you are at the edge of your staying power and you have unsuccessfully pulled yourself together, it was certain that something must have come to its limits. I am not mad at my students, I am mad at what they did. I genuinely believe that they were more than this. I saw potential in them that is why their misdeed disheartened me. I am very disappointed. Now I start to question myself where I have gone wrong. This was definitely one of the most heartbreaking moment of my teaching career.
Starting tomorrow, I will be tougher in implementing behavioral management if that was what my students needs right now. Nevertheless, I am here not only to educate them academically but also to impose discipline amongst them.
Day 14 – January 23, 2018
Generally speaking, I am enjoying my stay here at my cooperating school. Not taking into account the small dispute between me and my last class in the afternoon, I guess I am making great development. With regards to my teaching in the classroom, I am gaining in confidence. I know this is early days yet with regards to my internship, but I am happy in how it is developing and how my mentor teacher continues to give me tips, ideas, and more duties. I am now not afraid to dive right in. I believe this total immersion approach from my mentor teacher works well for me in particular. This way, the students get more direct instruction time from me. My mentor teacher and I are following a team teacher approach right now. I think the students like this, as they have two teachers with different backgrounds teaching them and I think at this early stage that they are learning more as a consequence. The students have welcomed me into the classroom.
As to my own perception, I think that thinking positively contributes into the days positivity. Metacognition you might call it. We should think about how we think. The negativity inside of you will eventually leave your body and poison your environment, likewise if the positivity within you was the one you decided to spread, how lovely your everyday will be.
Day 15 – January 24, 2018
Something happened today that I can possibly remember all of my life. Yesterday’s performance task was quite easy but then what I got was the lowest of the lowest scores form several of the students. I felt discouraged. I do not know where I have gone wrong. My frustration turned into annoyance all day long. As a consequence, I made countless yelling and scolding in most of my classes excluding G9-Anonas. I am glad that one of my classes was the highest section where I can literally make use of my planned flow of lesson of the day every day. These kids in Anonas was quick learners and very bright as expected that is why it lessens my stress every time they were my class.
Later the afternoon, it was again my class with G9-Bayabas. I felt sickened. I found myself wearing my eyeglasses again. But before I can start the class, I was told that my CT wants to talk to me. I should have thought that this was just a front of my students. As we get back to the classroom, I already can here my students yelling my name. At this moment, I have known they were planning on something. My guts did not fail me, they were planning on a surprise. A very long message (Appendix) was on the stairs and on the classroom was several candles form in the shape of a heart. We had a short program and I cried from start to finish. My heart softened a little. After all, I just want them to learn from their mistakes, and I guess they just have. This feels really good. I can never believe that my practice teaching would be so much of an experience.
RATS AT LARGE
Day 17 – January 26, 2018
To have familiar faces around makes me feel comfortable. That is why, every time we student-teachers arranged meetings, all of us appeared to be very excited to share personal stories about their own teaching experiences.
However, some of us seemed to have failed to remember that we are now teachers. I mean, for the fact that we were all wearing student-teacher uniforms and students were loitering close to us, it was so imperative that we act like real teachers. Well to be perfectly honest, I despise how some of us acted earlier, especially those silly boys. I saw how others detest them, but they seem not worried at all. In fact, they ignored every yell they have received. They even yelled back at us! We just want everyone to solve the problems we are facing while still being professional. I can just never believe that these boys will be real teachers soon. What a mess.
A teacher should always be professional in all his ways. He must not sacrifice his reputation for the sake of having a good point in some petty conversations like earlier. I swear to myself I will never do am impression like that. I oath to always put my professionalism above all and seek to help others be the best of themselves.
Day 19 – January 30, 2018
Now we get down to business. I have been pretty much teaching solo all week, and I’m very grateful for the trust my mentor teacher has in me. This has helped me to build my confidence. The more contact time I am having with my students the more they get to know me, and the more I get to know them. The two-week honeymoon period that teachers talk about with students is over. I wondered what my students would ‘try on’ with me as I was new. I’m happy to report that I am forming a great student/teacher relationship, being mindful to be friendly with the students but at the same time maintaining that professional distance between teacher and student. I know the students who need attention during class, and I know those who are self-directed learners. This is working out very well, and I’m glad these roles are being more and more defined as I take on additional teaching responsibilities.
One thing I have learned is that it is good for teachers to laugh at themselves. I have roll-called up most 10 names before finally getting the right one while teaching in one of my classes. This makes the whole class laugh and I think it was good for the students to know I am human and am not some kind of machine. I’ve been making a conscious effort to get to know the kids – who is up for the upcoming pageant, who are making conscious effort for their play in English, who loves make-up, for example. I want them to know that I care about them as individuals as well as being students, and I think this is paying dividends for me. I want to take a genuine interest in who they are as people.
Day 20 – January 30, 2018
Pilots have a saying called ‘being ahead of the airplane.’ By this they mean they know the airplane so well that they anticipate the movements the aircraft will make in any given situation. I feel that I have started on this road. I no longer ask myself the question ‘will I be able to stand up in front of a classroom and teach without looking like an idiot’ to ‘how I can ensure that I am holding the attention of students at all times with a compelling lesson without leaving voids.’ My CT has told me I have presence and authority in the classroom. I don’t always feel this, but it is something I am constantly aware of and strive to improve.
But today, something not planned happened. I have taught my first three classes wrong concept of angles of depression. I felt really sorry for my students because as of the law of primacy, concepts that are already taught were hard to alter. I also felt ashamed, I guess I have let my CT down. This was something I did not expect at all.
My CT told me to amend for my inaccuracy. I know this was normal for people to make mistake, but I felt incompetent. My shortcoming makes me want to give up at this point.
Day 21 – February 1, 2018
Today, I have learned the importance of messing up. I know this sounds crazy, but I have found myself so nervous about screwing something up. I expected to always plan the perfect lesson, explain everything perfectly, and have everything go smoothly and as planned. And let me be the first to say, this is rarely the case. I have learned how important it is to accept that we are not perfect teachers, and neither are our cooperating teachers! We all have things to learn, and this day has taught me how to learn from my mistakes rather than letting them eat away at me. I learned something from my CT and the students and being open to this and vulnerable allowed me to grow, adapt, and think on my feet. Having these experience is the true life of a teacher.
With being honest about my mistakes and imperfections, I was able to form stronger connections with the students. This is another takeaway from the practice teaching experience. I have always valued forming strong relationships with my students in order to create the best learning environment for them, but I was able to truly see the value of this today. I am grateful that I got to experience this in my practice teaching and I hope to better understand my students more in the following weeks.
Day 22 – February 2, 2018
I felt as if I’m getting into a routine with my classroom activities. This is good for me and for the students. It was difficult for me to come into the classroom when the students were yet in the hang of their last subject to take on teaching responsibilities. This week I have been preparing lesson plans and copying material for the week to come. This has helped me to gain more ownership of the class, and I can explain and describe to the class my expectations. The students are being really helpful as I take on more activities and are taking the transition of me as the lead teacher in their stride. I am really becoming more comfortable with the students.
However, the students felt more comfortable with me that I am with them, especially section Dalandan. More students were getting used to hugging and teasing me off which I bet beyond my own perception on the allowed teacher-student contact. They seem to be limitless. I know that sooner or later, I will have to call their attention for their misbehavior. This problem must be addressed to have better teaching-learning experience for me and for the students as well.
THE EVERYDAY SCENARIO
Day 24 – February 6, 2018
The wind has taken its turn back, I felt barely motivated today. The everyday scenario becomes a little more like an obligation without gratification and fulfilment. My glass is getting full. I suddenly got every feeling of hauling over each of my classes. I remembered earlier I had to step outside the room of Chico, if not, I must be regretting what might I have done with some group of ladies in the class. I know I should set aside my personal problems while teaching but I am afraid that I have found myself an emotional punching bags in the form of those ill-disciplined students. I felt ashamed that I have to write this down on my journal, however, I think I might have need some reflecting regarding this incident. I just need some break from the pattern and pull alongside the vision I had a month ago.
As much as I needed to be as professional as possible, I am only human. I get to have off-days like this and so much more. Not everyone is capable of admitting one’s vulnerability similar to this and I am proud I am one of those that can fairly judge oneself of flaws and incompetency. I surely will take this as a good lesson.
10 YEARS OLDER
Day 25 – February 7, 2018
Today left me wondering about my body age. The outside activity earlier made me feel like I was about more than half of my age range. I got to run from here to there for almost all of my classes. Can you believe that I get to hold 60 plus students for an hour outside the classroom in different locations? Not mentioning that I have 5 classes for today including the stressful section of Dalandan. It was fortunate that I have my CT with me from my first class up to the last for taking pictures that would be needed later on for their IPCRF (I have no idea what it means). Anyhow, I have used her help in getting hold of the students and guiding them throughout the activity.
Now then, I will be very pleased to punch anyone that says teachers just sat into their desks all day and gossip. How dare them look down on teachers. While they run their tongues like that, we teachers were here trying our very best to give the students the best quality of education they can get. Just for this simple activity, I get to experience how hard my dream profession was. An it was also quite frustrating that I got back pains from today which reminds me that I am not getting any younger, in fact, I felt like 10 years older.
Day 26 – February 8, 2018
The borders of the soundness of my mind was close to its limits. I can surely say that I have been making great progress with my teaching. I am now paying more attention to the dynamics in each of my classes. It has been very significant to expect mixed behavior from my students. For example, my first, third and fifth classes are attentive, ask questions and work well with each other. Classes two and four are different. There are different dynamics in these periods as there are different groups of students in these classes. There are a couple of chatty students, and a couple of students who have no interest in being in the class and therefore will not interact with each other or the teacher. This makes it challenging for me to be an effective teacher with these two classes. I spoke to my mentor teacher about this. He told me to make sure that I don’t change my teaching style to cater for these different groups within the class. The students are looking to me for a regular and familiar routine in class. I well believe her. I must also consider that these two classes were lower classes that is why it should be expected that they will be most likely to behave in such ways. Hence, I should be more careful in planning the lesson.
Realizing that the students I am currently dealing with comes with various learning demands, me as a teacher must cater their needs to and help them absorb the lessons thoroughly.
Day 27 – February 9, 2018
Today, my CT was at a conference all day. I had to sub in her classes and I was on my own. This was a good opportunity for me to get to know the kids, and even more importantly for them to get to know me. With their regular teacher out of the classroom all day today, they had to interact with me. They took the opportunity to ask me questions about my background while I was helping them with the individual activity they were involved in. I did not mind this. I took this as an opportunity to engage with them. They obviously want to know more about me as a student teacher more importantly as a person, and I am happy to build a relationship with them.
I had long personal conversations with few students in most of my classes since they were just finishing their activities from yesterday. I have this student in my second class in the afternoon whom I get to chat for almost half our class period. Sometime after i let the class continue their activity from yesterday, this student passed her half-done activity in front. I refused to accept his paper and told him to finish it first. This student told me that this was one of few time that a teacher told him to finish the activity. He added that most of the teachers accept his papers whether it was half-done or undone at all. He continued telling me the inadequacy of their teachers, underestimating their section and his classmates. I was hard for me to find words to ease the grief he was feeling all this time. I have come to my attention that this student was their acting class president and the glue to the bond of their section. I felt bad. I realized that it is best to just do what I must, and that is to give them the attention they were longing for.
Day 28 – February 12, 2018
As of today, I was able to see two big behavior issues of most of the sections I handle. Students are quick to get on tangents or find something “better” to do instead of focusing on the lesson or their assigned task. For example, I have one student who has an obsession with books. He has an IEP for anxiety, and my teacher has explained to me that he needs to have one obsession that she fixates on for long periods of time. As long as I have been there, it has been books. At first, I assumed that this may be a good thing. What teacher doesn’t want her students to love reading? I quickly found the lapse in this; he was constantly reading as opposed to paying attention, and my cooperating teacher has had to take many point away from his for this. There are several other students who do this as well, including those who will become distracted by other activities like doodling.
My classes were also very talkative. They often have a lot of great and intellectual things to say that do contribute to the appropriate discussion topics, but I have experienced their strong ability to lead the conversations off topic or lead it to a debate of some sort. After observing these instances, I have seen my teacher handle them in a variety of ways. First, she may allow the students to discuss whichever topic they brought up, using it as a separate discussion opportunity. Other times, she has simply shut it down without questions asked. I have learned that managing this takes good judgement of which conversations will enrich our discussion and which will not and then be shutting it down immediately if necessary.
Day 29 – February 13, 2018
I have this student, a small mousey girl I had in class who I think to give up was her life motto. She would work well until she came to something she did not know and then she simply quit. More times than not she had the ability, she understood the concept, but she lacked the self-confidence to move on. I spent the year putting her in situations that would both build her confidence and give her a chance to practice persistence. We had good days and bad days. She wanted experiences and tasks that were simple and easy. If things were difficult or she needed to share her thinking and explain herself she thought she was a failure.
We worked in groups often in my classroom and I remembered in last week’s activity, it came the time to share her work with her group and she refused. Her lack of confidence forced her to sit without participating while her group went on with the presentation. She refused to share her idea and therefore forfeited her right to participate. Having someone question her idea was too much. We continued to work in groups and she would continue to break down. There would always be a point in the work she would withdraw herself. After today, I finally saw the shift. Doing independent work in math this morning she came to a problem and hesitated. This time, however, when I asked some questions to redirect her, she persisted and found the answer. The smile on her face was priceless. I felt responsible for the self-confidence she gained. Teachers work with kids on persistence and teach them to learn from their failures. It’s our fault when they feel successful, proud and confident in themselves.
THE MAIN DIFFERENCE
Day 32 – February 19, 2018
I have always wondered how and why the material is received so differently by my fourth and fifth classes. In my fourth class the students seem to have their attention not on the lesson and their minds were flying somewhere outside the universe. On the other hand, the fifth section appeared to be more pepped up and is more vulnerable to jokes and fun activities.
I maybe over analyzing it. I have spoken to several teachers and my CT about this. We have had several conversations about the chemistry of a class student wise. It is amazing how the same classroom can have so many different atmospheres in it during the course of one school day as different periods come and go. I am more agreed to this now. I am picking up on if my students are having a good or bad day, more so as the day advances. This could be one of the main differences between my fourth and fifth classes – by fifth class, the students are getting sick of the day and is more pumped up into the thought of going home hence, having more energy to fun things related to going home. Whereas, my fourth class are getting tired and they have just had lunch, plus, there are more ‘mini atmospheres’ in fourth. By this I mean different groups of students who have their own particular needs and wants. I find it exhausting to cater to these mini groups inside this class. In view of this, I can generate ways to better get the students attention in this classes.
SOMETHING TO TRY ON
Day 33 – February 20, 2018
Earlier while I am surfing the net using my co-ST’s laptop, I have come to this particular website which is made especially for teachers. There they have forums where you can get to chat with different teachers all over the world. The registration for the site costs money so I ended up reading only the available conversations in the home page. While browsing into their conversations, there was this teacher from the states which has come up with a way of behavioral management.
“If you can hear me, clap once. If you can hear me, clap twice.” In this way, you can call your students attention in no time. Those students who were not listening carefully will wonder why everyone suddenly claps, then eventually, they will pay attention to you more. This was the very thought I got with their conversation. Being born as an alchemist, I made the decision to try it out in real class scenario.
After surfing the net, I was down to my last class for the day. It was very unfortunate that I did not get the opportunity to run through it. The whole class was excused due to their meeting with their teacher in TVE. Anyhow, I still attempt to do it first thing in the morning tomorrow.
Day 34 – February 21, 2018
Another day, another opportunity to make change, one student at a time. Today I got the chance to try on my newly discovery way of behavioral management I learned form yesterday. It was performance task day and
Day 35 – February 22, 2018
It was the school-wide fourth periodical examination. I can see that most of my students reviewed their lesson in each of their classes in preparation for this. Though examinations were often confused about how one knows but how much one can cram into his head the night before, I envy those who still try to stuff their heads the lesson from the whole grading period in just one night. As I quickly scanned the students in front of me, my eyes crossed the seat of one of my students then I suddenly remembered his post the other day talking about how his grades do not reflect his future.
Indeed, those who got low grades justify their irresponsibility by quoting “Grades are just numbers, it does not define your future,” this is actually true in some points, but grades give hints to what you are more likely to become in the future, though good grades do not secure good future. Students must learn to accept their failure and learn from it. They should not justify their failure by comforting themselves with bluff lines. The reality is, grades may not define one’s intelligence, but it reflects on how a person giving effort as much as he can. Besides, in work, they do not really need a smart one but a responsible one. Why would companies hire a person who cannot even work hard for his own grades?
Day 36 – February 23, 2018
I would like to ponder here some significant incidents of the week since today was only a continuation of the long test, which apparently graded as the fourth periodical examination but that was a different story. I finally got grips with the diversity in role of my classes. I realized that my first class which is the second to the highest section sadly was my testing ground. I got to make trial and error to prepare for the remaining four classes. There, I have given the opportunity to know the best strategy on how to teach the lesson for the day, and I got to guess how well the highest section would do. Secondly, my second class gave me ideas on how to better teach the lower sections. For example, I have found ways to teach the law of cosines (SSS case) much easier after having the second class last Tuesday. I arrived at the thought that the first two classes were the receiver of my inaccuracy, imprecision and flaws. I felt embarrassed at the thought, but I have no choice but to get the river flow like this.
Furthermore, my third class, which indeed the highest section, has the perfect timing of the day. Disregarding their class time with me, which was before lunch time, I think they have got the best of me every day. I am always not too untried and not too tired. The highest section really have the best seat in anything, as far as 9th grade math subject is concerned.
Day 39 – February 26, 2018
Students nowadays rely so much on teacher. It was a common scene in public schools. Teachers tend to overly practice spoon feeding to students in terms of academic completion. Those students who failed to submit requirements in their subjects was given lots of opportunity to comply. Whether or not they were deserving.
I have told my failing students that this day was their last opportunity to improve their grade and pass the class. Some of them know that they have to do well. Others are still indifferent to my warning to them. To be honest, by this stage of my practice teaching I’m not really surprised. These indifferent students have shown this same attitude all throughout their time with me, so why should this attitude change? It is disappointing to me to see how these seniors don’t seem to appreciate the severity of their situation despite my advice to them. I am giving one of my students all of the necessary things he needs to pass the subject on a daily basis because I know he was very determined to graduate. This particular student had a remedial examination on Friday which would have improved his overall grade, but he was not in class. His choice is all I can say right now. I find this very frustrating, especially after talking to him after class to let him know that he can pass the class if he applied himself. This was already out of my control, but I knew deep in my heart, that everything that would happen in his academic track was also my responsibility as a teacher. He would fail my subject and I would fail as a teacher.
ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM
Day 41 – March 2, 2018
Being in the late second month of my practice teaching, I have learned a very valuable lesson about my students. Throughout discussions with my teacher, I have had my eyes opened to the importance of mindsets and how much the negatives of it can hurt my students in their learning and experiences while at school. Aside from my teacher simply informing me on this crucial aspect to their learning environment, I have also been able to experience some of these issues through interactions with the students.
Be it today as an example, we were done checking the students’ semi-final examination and most students performed poorly based off of my teacher’s key. I could see the devastation amongst them. We had a conversation about their grades, thoroughly going through the test paper while the students battled for points back. Students were getting unbelievably nervous and then became so upset with themselves when they would get just one or two points off. While the desire to be perfect at everything reigns true in this classroom, I am also able to witness the other end of the spectrum. I see students who give up on themselves if they do not excel immediately and I see students also stay satisfied with themselves, not seeing the point in taking the extra step in order to grow. This may stem from the assumption that they have reached their maximum effort or knowledge within a certain area. I have no idea whether to let this through or do something about it but I guess this was something that was common to students, having a variety of coping mechanism which I believe something hard to alter.
Day 43 – March 6, 2018
I only have one month left teaching in my internship before my CT takes over again. I feel that this week I have really establish a relationship with the kids out of my role of teaching them. By that I mean getting to know them as people – their interests outside of class, what makes them tick and what their goals are in life. The students back in January who did not say anything to me are now asking me questions in and after class. It’s almost as if they have decided that I know what I am doing, and they feel able to talk to me. I am pleased about this.
Earlier this morning, I have been able to talk to some of my students in Dalandan. I could see how ‘solid’ the section is.
Day 53 – March 17, 2018
EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE
Day 54 – March 19, 2018
This will be completely off-topic but on my way to my second class, I saw one of my student dancing Black Pink’s song “As If It’s Your Last” in the stairs. Then, out of nowhere, I came dancing too with him (he was not a straight guy, he admitted). This causes his classmates to cheer (I have no idea if it was intended for me or for him or for our dancing skills, I do not know) for us which makes laughers echoes the hallway. I am as surprised as they are. What in the world am I thinking to have decided to dance in front of my students.
Well, that particular student I danced with was my favorite student in their class. He was not ashamed of what he does at all as long as he is not hurting anyone. I came to realize, why do all people not possess this kind of self-confidence? We were all allowed to do things just for fun! In this modern society, we seem to have this attitude of not doing something unless we are aiming to be the best at it. It will really take a long time for each of us to figure out that life does not have to be a race. We should just enjoy the experiences. You do not have to be good at things. It was never a requirement. You are allowed to just enjoy what you are doing. You do not have to be good at something to like it. And you do not have to put 100% effort into everything you do. Every once in a while, make yourself happy.
A LITTLE BIT OVER THE TOP
Day 57 – March 20, 2018
Nothing exciting happened. The students took their 4th periodical exam. The last days of the school year looks exciting for the students but not for us. The last days requires a lot of work to do.
Today’s agenda was to complete all details in the student’s form 137 and 138 (appendix). Just imagine, 60+ student’s forms to be filled with their final grades one-by-one. So tiring! I do believe that my cooperating teacher hurt her hand as she wrote the necessary information in the form and into their class cards. All I did was to add the word “grade” and write BPP before every form, but I think my hands sored. Teaching is really not the profession for the indolent.
As I wrote on the forms, I noticed some of the student’s grades were a little bit over the top. Having an average of about 96 was indeed an absolute joy to anyone but after realizing that it will only take 4 points to get a perfect 100, it surely will make you question the system like, is this kid some kind of a genius? Maybe not. This is how things work now. Besides, students develop quite a sense of pride and satisfaction whenever they saw their grades as high as the Eiffel tower. No one has ever really question the grading system, except maybe me. Nevertheless, what made me worried is the fact that grades today can fairly be the basis for students’ development. Hence, just merely numerical representation of students’ outputs. Yes, the grades definitely describe students’ school performance, but it never mirrored them as a person.
TOO GOOD AT GOODBYES
Day 60 – March 28, 2018
Today was the last day of writing the daily journal. The 60-day reflection was finally over. As I wrote this last entry, I wondered how it would feel to leave this school as we end up the internship. I will surely miss the kids, and all the people I have met in this wonderful institution. They were the ones who helped me grow not only as a teacher but as an individual.
Earlier this morning, there were few of my students asking when we are leaving. It cannot be helped to say, “I am not going to leave you forever”, but I knew it was necessary to bid them farewell, soon. That moment made me saw a glimpse of the past – the most gratifying split seconds of my life.
It was the demonstration teaching day. My mom literally was there to cheer me up although she insists not to watch me inside the room during my actual demonstration teaching in fear that this might be a cause for her blood pressure to rise. Later that night, I found out that she has met not many of my students. She, with a proud heart, shared that she heard them say “Magaling po yan si mam Leah. Sobrang bait po nya kaya yung mga classmate po naming lalaki na palaging nagcu-cutting at di gumagawa ng activities nahihiya pong mag-cutting at hindi gumawa ng activity pag sya yung teacher”. And in that instant, I am in high spirits. I can never believe that my simple deeds as a teacher contributes to great changes in my students’ behaviors. I knew that time I have fulfilled my duties as an effective teacher. I am now ready to desert them. Besides, I am too good at goodbyes.