My first class was year 11 biology, still my favorite group of students! We didn't manage to get through the entire lesson, but we managed to cover what I expect to be appropriate for the day. There are a few things that I may consider revisiting in the next lesson. I think the students need a better understanding of what an element and compound are. I think they understand the differences between organic and inorganic compounds. I'm more concerned that they realize that this labeling of compounds is somewhat arbitrary since there are a lot of exceptions to the rules. Who really cares if a compound is organic rather than inorganic? Classifying compounds into two categories is quite dumb considering they can be classified into more specific, well-defined groups. Urea, for example, is considered to be an organic compound but doesn't have any carbon-hydrogen bonds, but is produced by living organisms...its just a nitrogen containing compound that is non-toxic and is excreted by humans. Who cares that it is considered "organic." The lesson must go on...
The meeting with my cooperating teacher and my student teaching supervisor went really well! I feel like I am on the right path to becoming a well-qualified teacher! We had a discussion about teaching in Australia, and how it might be a little different from teaching back home. I indicated that teaching here is going to prepare me much better since I am not repeating any of my lessons. Back home, I would more than likely be responsible for 1 to 2 classes and would more than likely be teaching those classes back to back to back. Here, I am teaching 4 different classes and only see each class once for each lesson...I only have one shot to deliver an effective lesson. This allows me to make clear reflections about the lessons that I'm putting together. I will never have to figure out what I said for each class since they are all different. I'm also finding that creating lessons is harder here because I have 72 minutes for each lesson. To most US schools, that’s a lot of time. For science class it's perfect; I would like to have it no other way. Students may need to stretch for a few minutes half way through, but it provides me enough time to do exactly what I want during the lesson and provides me the amount of time necessary to complete a well designed practical.
After the meeting, I mad some final adjustments to my “Animal Inside” lesson plan for period 4. I had planned to segue into the digestive system after a final classification activity. I worked into lunch to finish my plans.
St. Kilda’s football club was holding a practice session at the Bairnsdale Oval during lunch today. I was invited to attend but unfortunately I had to finish up the lesson plans. St. Kilda Saints is not a team to be mentioned in my host’s house but it would have been a cool opportunity to see an AFL practice. There are plans to get to Melbourne in a few weeks to see a match during the regular season. I’m very excited for this!
Period 4 came around and I got right into the lesson. We started off with a review of the characteristics of life. The students were able to get most of them but were still stuck on a few of them. The rest of the lesson was filled with some production but there were a few students who had a hard time focusing on the lesson. Some of the students seemed uninterested in the Smart Board interactive lesson that I had planned, and some were very into participating. I would never admit that it was due to the fact that it was very hot today in the science center and it was the last session of the day. Since I am one of those people who always likes to be in control, I could never blame the lack of participation on such circumstances. I need to reflect on my lesson to determine where I went wrong to loose the active participation of the class.
After school, I just wanted to get straight on the bike to take a ride around the neighborhood. I wanted to clear my mind to get the prior lesson out of my head. The bike ride worked and when I came home, I got right to work, focusing on what I wanted my classes to be doing tomorrow.
Tomorrow night, I will be spending the night at the year 7 camp outing about 20 kilometers from town. I volunteered to chaperone the students and work with them during various activities for one night this week. The students left this morning on their camping adventure that will last until Friday. I am really hoping that the staff will exhaust the year 7s tomorrow before I get there so they get to bed at a decent time. I plan on leaving the camp in the morning with one of the teachers to get back to school on Thursday.