Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Positives

Being the person I am, I am continuously discontent with the state of things unless they reach near perfection. Some people work till they get it right. Some people work till they never get it wrong. I fall in the latter category. The role of a teacher has put this spirit to test  - and frankly - I find it incredibly hard to be gentle on myself.

However, in accordance with my mid-term self-assessment, I want to take note of positives that have been in this semester:
1) The Artists Project: We started a project where kids are exposed to and trained in one of four art skills - dancing and drama, art and crafts, painting or public speaking for leadership. We only managed to have the selections and introductory sessions in this semester - and I am happy that the kids left the rooms excited waiting to see what was in store for them next semester.
2) Keeping the bar high: I set extremely high expectations with my class. I was strict with the rules and task adherence. There were many times I was tempted to let the kids off the hook during a lesson, teach the section of the class who were listening, give them some free time and just play with them to bond better - but I resisted the temptation. I made the kids work every lesson, made sure they learnt something new every lesson. I made sure they answered the question convincingly to earn their rewards. I saw three of the four classes following procedures consistently toward the end of the semester which is good progress. I need to however work on building a stronger emotional connect outside the classroom.
3) Planning every lesson: I  planned every lesson barring 3 lessons in the whole three and a half months. I planned more than 75% of them with multiple inputs - visual, aural, kinesthetic, etc. While not all lessons were executed perfectly, I learnt quickly from my mistakes to make the next plan stronger.
4) Data collection: Towards the latter half of the semester, I consistently began collecting data from class and taking more formative tests to know where my kids were. The use of white boards helped improve coverage of students while the weekly assessments, notebook and projects gave me a grip of where students are. I need to improve the rate at which I bring the feedback into my planning as well as create an efficient tracking mechanism to ensure more students turn in all deliverable more regularly.
5) 100% Attendance: Considering the surrounding environment of the school and the amount of stress during the initial months of teaching, I am happy I persevered to conduct every lesson my kids had with me. The last two weeks had been an incredible challenge considering a bad congestion, cold, fever and fatigue - but I did scrape through - the kids did not learn as much with my reserves low as they would have otherwise, but they learnt more than they would in my complete absence.

All this said and done, there is a lot more work to be done! I am certainly not okay with the rate at which my students are learning. I have the advantage of some breathing time before I enter the rush of next semester. I can utilize the upcoming three weeks to recuperate and plan next semester stronger. May the force be with me.

Song on Mind: 

Mausam and Escape - the sitar blended with the violin resembles the need for serenity and semblance in the middle of the unforgiving pace of affairs.