Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I am sooooo fed up! The thing is, I've typed out my reflections on blogspot and posted it up yesterday, but the new post is not reflected on my blog. Three long paras. of work gone with a click of the "Publish" button! Some of us need to work harder to maintain a relationship with technology. :(

My reflections on my micro teaching session]

Firstly, I would like to thank my tutor and my classmates for their patience and their feedback, and I am sorry if I've made the session unecessarily punitive and unpleasant because of my tactlessness and my brusqueness in handling 'students". I do tend to tease my students mercilessly, but I'll try to keep in mind that they might have personalities like M & Ms-- hard andbrittle on the outside, but sensitive on the inside. To tell the truth, it is difficult to shift between being a "teacher" and a student, as well as to treat my classmates according to their role as students. My difficulty in transitioning between roles is quite apparent when I called out Kean Fan's name when he was tending to something else during the debrief session. During the micro teaching session, i thought I was going crazy! I consistently need to remind myself that i should not treat my "students" according to what I see (my fellow course mates at NIE). As such, it was difficult to relay instructions as if it was my actual class-- I didn't know if I was insulting my classmates' intelligence if I pointed out the relevant para. to them. With this in mind, IF I can publish this blog sucessfully, then maybe Kenneth can let other "teachers" start at the begining of each QCG520 session, so that transitions aren't so difficult. As students, we can go into the QCG 520 session knowing how to behave and what to expect.

I agree with K (sorry about my teasing!) that i could have been fairer. Bananasaviour told me that i can expect some mischief on her part, but from K, it was totally unaniticipated. As such, i might have glared at him too hard (sorry, sorry! I can't say this enough) But i do think that on the whole, my handling of the "fight" wasn't too shabby, beause I did 1) prevent them from coming to blows 2) diffuse the tension by letting K leave the class with my permission and 3) stopped them from leaving the class without my permission to settle their differences outside. My priority was to break up the fight without disrupting the momentum of the class. I also assumed that both K and Bananasaviour knew each other well, and I took it that this conflict was out of the ordinary. As such, I did not punish them publicly, beause they still have to live with each other for the rest of the day in school and a public punishment would deepen the rift between them. But I can send a stronger message to the rest of the students that such behaviour is not tolerated and of course, I can be fairer.

Making the students 1) read out from the postcards 2) ensure that they correspond to the budget they set and 3) redo their work were not meant to be punitive. But I could have handled it better by making the premises of the task clearer. Or maybe I can throw the question to the whole class instead so that the student(s) I have asked to perform the above tasks wouldn't feel like they are being punished.

I didn't want to make the instructional objectives explicit because I didn't want the students to be turned off as the lesson was mainly about definitions. Perhaps I should give my students more credit than this. Also, I agree that the time spent on the itinerary may not be justified-- tourism is a big topic, and there are other grounds to cover.

Many thanks to the class for their feedback. :)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Bitter Sweet Encounter...

A funny thing happened yesterday evening while I was at home. There was a knock at my door, after which I heard a voice asking me "Auntie, do you want any ice cream?" I went to the door and I saw one of my Sec 2 students. I heard an audible gasp, and then the word "Cher!" escaped from his lips. Being the nag that I was, I asked him he was doing selling ice cream on a school night. He replied, "Cher, need money what." In the end, I bought a tub of ice cream from him.

The encounter was bitter- sweet-- bitter because I realised why this student frequently forgot his textbook when I took his class for Literature, and why he seemed to be rather distracted when i was reading sections of the novel to them. It was bitter also because i hoped that this student cared about his studies as much as he cared about how deep his pocket was. But it was sweet too, because before he left, he asked me the question that never fails to move any teacher's heart-- he asked me when I was going back to teach them. And then i realised that, at the back of my mind, I do miss them despite the crap that I get from time to time. When I was doing contrct teaching, I remember that on certain days when interactions with my classes became frustrating, I lose my appetite. And the negativity really got into me-- I didn't know how to manage it, or how to ignore it. But I'm slowly starting to accept the fact that-- 1) as teachers, we only have a limited time with our students. But it doesn't mean that if they do not do well in school or cope well in the school environment, they will not succeed as individuals. 2) We are human too, andas humans, we can only do so much with our capabilities.

When I was hungry and foolish, I wanted to change the world. But then, i realised that I have to accept the world as it is, and accept myself as I am, in order to affect change of any kind.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I have something to confess-- I'm a complete tech idiot, but I am required to set up a blog for my Geography pedagogy class at NIE. Nevertheless, I have great hopes that this blog spot will grow to take on a life of its own (keeping my fingers crossed).

For my micro teaching session, I chose to start on Tourism. My decision was swayed more by my memory of the Sec 3 class I had for my school experience than by my fondness for this topic. During my 1 month school experience with the class, I consistently felt as if my presence as their Geography teacher was only barely tolerated. They were not very co- operative, and my unfamiliarity with the syllabus as well as with them did not make things easier. When I become a fully fledged teacher, I hope to know my students better-- as learners as well as individuals outside the classroom.

I also have a problem with content. When I compare what the textbook covers on the topic with the O' levels ten year series, I realise that a lot is expected of our students under exam conditions. They are expected to be able to analyse the question, interpret the question as well as whatever information which is presented pictorially in the question; and to organise their answer in a short time. At this point in time, I have no idea as to how to bridge the gap.