Today was my first ever time actually teaching students in a classroom at an actual school.
Before y’all go crazy, I am on placement so I didn’t just randomly walk into a classroom and hijack the place. I’m meant to be here, honest.
And to be quite truthful, it wasn’t fantastic but it also wasn’t terrible. There is a line in there somewhere. I think. I hope.
But I taught religious education to 28 year 7 students. And they were bloody fucking C R A Z Y. And I felt overwhelmed. My first teaching experience I spent majority of the lesson attempting to keep students on task and not doing back-flips on the bloody ceiling.
I LITERALLY CONFISCATED A STUDENT’S LAPTOP FOR THE LESSON.
I feel terrible because I promised myself not to be one of those teachers who raises their voice to be heard, but that is what happened because I felt that there was no other way to be heard. But, upon reflection, I think that I have to begin developing strategies that do not require me to be another aggressive teacher. I hated being that person.
But I wanted students to understand that if there was repercussions to being immature shitheads. I planned a super awesome activity that required students to use their laptops and it was fun! Most students enjoyed the concept because it was something different. bUT THEN YOU HAVE THOSE STUDENTS WHO RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE ELSE.
Someone literally wrote “wog feast”, “fat red dude breaking into people’s houses” (and OK, that’s true but it’s not appropriate especially because i’m in a catholic school), “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”, the entire jingle bells song, student’s names and the list goes on. I had another activity planned that used this online platform, but nope, I was that teacher and did notes on the whiteboard, just to get them concentrating and actually writing something and being silent for the first time.
And that makes me sad. I fully and completely believe in student discussion, student research and their ability to construct their own learning. but it is super hard to come into the classroom, and only really have them for four lessons in total, and try to re-wire their academic experience. Because, to be completely honest, these students are used to the screaming teachers, the writing/typing notes, the working in silence. I have not observed one lesson that utilises student research or construction of anything really. And I kind of think it’s because classroom management wise, it would be impossible to do so.
I’m not questioning anything, even though I felt out of my depth I really enjoyed myself. But it’s more now developing skills to engage students fully, be more clear in my instructions, stay away from online activities until I feel as though they can handle it, develop way better classroom management skills, and you know what? Have more actual fun in the classroom. I’m not meant to be a friend to these students, but you don’t need to illustrate authority through raising your voice and being all-round an absolute turd.
That’s my rant. I know it will take me a while to get the gist of this whole teaching gig, and it is my first year on my first placement, but I am hopeful.
Happy reading y’all!