Thursday, July 12, 2007

Depression Corner.


Strangely these past two days I've not been feeling 'happy'. Well, I do and then I don't and then I do.... and because of this I don't feel like posting. I'm currently in the 'not happy' state for reasons which I'd rather not say. However sometimes one does wonder that no matter what you do to please someone and make them happy, you're fighting a losing battle. Sigh.

My two 'work experience' placements are killing me! I come home and after an hours rest was off to help Bob and the gang. Most days we finish at 7pm and so I'm pretty shattered at that time. I actually felt reluctant about going today but then I did offer to help and I have to keep my word. One room remains for us to remove the paper, and after that the plastering crew will enter the building. (Hopefully that signals a few days rest for me!) My body is getting used to this abuse(!), but my head hurts.

Today one of my 'beliefs' was confirmed. That is, if you try to cause other people harm or distress, then one day it'll come back to you. I really do believe that since today whilst I was walking down the corridor, one student who saw me walking tried to close the door on me (in a jokey way I hope!). Well I don't know the intentions of this student but I spotted this and saved my nose from being flattened. We continued to walk down the corridor and in the next minute someone opened another door in the other direction and it hit said students face! I'm not laughing at the student (but I do find this funny), since it might have hurt. However, I couldn't help but point out to the student that they should be careful about how they treat others!

Yesterday I had started typing a post but because of the 'mood' I was in I didn't manage to complete it. I'll just paste that here in a minute and complete it, but I'm just going to talk about today now. Today was my 'off day' in the week. I have to have one a week and one student even asked if I was ill. I felt like replying, 'No I'm not ill dammit, I'm just sick of watching you guys draw posters all the flippin time'. I've had enough of it. A class full of students fighting over glue or sellotape at times, or even the markers. WHY?? OK, I did try to remember how I would have reacted in year 8 if I had to draw a poster and guess what, maths and poster drawing doesn't click in my head. Now if you told me to draw a poster for English, History, Geography etc. then I'd get creative. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind drawing a 'maths poster', but one is enough. And I wouldn't want to be drawing one on fractions. Sigh.

I'm learning a lot from this placement and one thing is that posters mean that the teacher has either given in to students pleas for 'free lessons', or doesn't know what to teach next. Seriously I was bored out of my brain and instead distracted a few students by talking to them. In my defence they didn't want to draw any posters as well. :o (That was SG's class BTW- year 8).

My tactic for SG was to ignore. MT told me to not do that since SG wants my attention and if I'm ignoring then SG will not stop but rather go up a notch. I hadn't thought of it this way before and it makes sense. I should try to get SG on my side since SG basically controls a quarter of the class! I think I've been letting my annoyance show to the students who keep on saying 'whatsup'. How many times do I have to say the ceiling for them to understand that they won't be getting anything else out of me! For the first few times I was OK with this, but ..... .

Ironically, in the morning the first class had been year 9, set one. That had been a great lesson and I'd helped two students do a ratio question which had me worried for a few minutes as well! (There had been a mistake in the question). I felt really positive after this lesson and had even said to another teacher that teaching is good! Now I understand why this teacher hadn't been particularly excited by my comments, since even I had changed my mind after the year 8 class. Maybe I was frustrated because I felt that much more could have been done rather than 'just drawing posters.

The year seven class was much better but I think what did it today was that I had to help cover an English lesson!! And guess what.... they were year eights. There is something fishy about the English department at that school (well apart from the staff!), since whenever I walk down that corridor I end up having to do something I don't want to. I obviously couldn't say 'no' since I don't want a bad reference but it was painful. They had to write a horror story- the best possible thing ever, yet the ideas were thin and rare. One student had an excellent idea for a plot if I may say so myself, but due to less work and more chatter not much work was done. I sound like a right old git! It's just that once again I wondered how I'd been at that age, and it was very different. Speaking to my supervisor, this belief was confirmed. I don't hate these students, but I hate the way a few behave. I know things obviously change but I've never been a fan of drastic change. 'Beans they're year 8's- chill out!'

OK- I'll get over that (did I say I've been having a bad day? :( ). I did end up talking to two teachers today who I hadn't previously chatted to. Should I be pleased that I don't look \sout{nineteen} seven? I am supposedly 'confident', an opinion which I quickly corrected (well it depends on the scene). I just erm... like talking (not always in a mumbo jumbo way!) and meeting new people. These teachers have a wealth of experience and each of them gives me different advice and different takes on the same matter. So, yes, I do try to talk to them!

Now onto yesterday and 'my first ever lesson' (the not so long version I hope).

Wednesday 12/07/07

'So how did the lesson go?'

'aodjad adoajdsas asiddaa *deep breath* padasjdsadl ajdsakd lkajds'

I don't suppose you followed that did you? Well that was what I sounded like when someone asked me! Imagine how I must have done during the lesson. :o I'm quite... 'shocked', or surprised that I took up this challenge. Yesterday the teacher had thought that I'd declined this glorious offer, and the matter was over. This morning, in the staff room, I got talking to a few teachers. You see upon waking up I had quickly had a look through a text book about standard form, to make sure that I had the right 'words' in my head. It was a quick glance since I had to rush off and maybe this was me trying to persuade myself to stop being a chicken. I talked to one teacher about doing a lesson (can't remember who!) and I began feeling positive. I was told to go for it and it is only with experience that you feel more confident. My nerves were there. I could feel them writhing in pain. They were there but yet they weren't. Both teachers seemed to be balancing everything nicely. As it stood everything was fifty fifty. It was me who had to make the final push.

My heart pounded ferociously as I approached my supervisor for the days timetable. Standard form was in my head. 'Hey, I've reconsidered yesterday's offer. Well I'm reconsidering it at the moment but might still change my mind.' I had to leave the back door open for myself. And so I was helped to draw up a 'lesson plan'. The teacher just told me what topics should be covered and guided me along. I looked enviously at the back door. :( It was the lesson in the afternoon and so I had all the time in the world to change my mind. Something told me that I wasn't going to.

The lesson structure is split into three. The starter, the middle bit (can't remember it's fancy name!) and the plenary. I had decided to recap writing big numbers in standard form during the starter since they had done them yesterday. Sometimes with other classes a maths game might be played, just to wake everyone up I suppose. I was going to put a recap question on the board just to 'wake' them up and then start the lesson. You're also meant to write down the 'objective' of the lesson near the beginning, so the students know what's on the menu. I did that and not in a particular neat way. As I was doing this my heart was racing- all eyes were on me. They thought that I was a member of staff- I knew otherwise. Having wrote the objective I then started talking about writing small numbers in standard form. Well I tried to ask them questions and see how much they knew since I was told that they had done bits on this topic.

The lesson feels like a blur at the moment. So much seemed to have happened but at the same time it didn't. I ended up going a bit fast... actually I could hear the students telling me to slow down! Hence I finished my bit before I intended to and the teacher persuaded me to continue. It was one of the weirdest experiences of my life, yet I'm glad of it. Most students at the end of the lesson understood how to write numbers in standard form (I hope), and so I was relieved. I think the million questions are inevitable but since these were year 9's they weren't as persistent as the year 8's and 'none of your business' seemed to be an OK answer!

What I learnt from the lesson:

Don't talk too fast, although that happens naturally when I become nervous.
Make sure that I always prepare work for the students who finish first- I had thought that they had text books but that wasn't to be!
Don't be nervous!
Make sure that no one is talking when you are.
Don't say 'you in the corner' more than once. :o

I won't ever forget that lesson, but it was indeed nerve-wrecking. Towards the end my mind went totally blank on one question and I had no idea whether the answer that I was told was correct. I asked the rest of the students whether it was, and there was some disagreement. Thankfully the 'real' teacher stepped in then and saved me!

Sorry for the disjointness about my first ever 'formal' lesson, but my brain is in reverse at the moment, and so I must stop this random nonsense before someone gets hurts. The teacher has now asked me to prepare a lesson for the year 7 set 4 class. Any ideas on what I can do? In the first five minutes I want to play a maths game with them, so they have cards and have to match them up etc, but I don't know what topic to choose. I've been allowed to choose which does seem to make it worse! This year seven class is rather tough, and so I told the teacher that I'd prepare the lesson but may still chicken out. Area? Nah- I want something simple that will keep them all into the lesson and maybe they'll enjoy it. Seems like a tall order for me at the moment, but I'll see what I can think of.

Shame I can't say 'phew it's the weekend', since I'll be going 'down South' then. (well South from where I'm at). What joy. BTW supposedly my brain's age is 53! When we're sat idle or watching TV the least amount of activity is happening in our brains. However, when we do Maths or English puzzles the amount of activity increases dramatically. (In the prefrontal lobes). The brain is a muscle after all and needs a good workout! (The students didn't believe me :D). More about this will be revealed in due course... I did on occasions say I felt 'old' so I can't say that this wasn't been on the cards. ;) Biology is darn awesome, especially stuff about the human body!

*It seems I'm trying too hard 'not' to be the students friend.

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