Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Timeline Of My Teaching Practice:

I would like to focus specifically on three areas while describing the change in the context of my teaching practice over the one and a half years of my rather short teaching career. The three areas are: Classroom management skills, Content knowledge and Teaching methodology.

My class room management skills were extremely poor and classes very noisy and chaotic in the whole of the first year after I joined Aditi. This was for the simple reasons that I didn’t understand the teaching job, nor did I understand what the teacher-student equation should be like. Moreover I was handling a bunch of high school and plus two students who ‘looked’ more or less my age and I often felt intimidated by them. also, I was almost always pre-occupied with the effective execution/delivery of lessons and content, as I regarded that as my most important priority. By the time I realized the importance of maintaining a certain level of discipline in class, half the academic year had already gone by and I realized that it was too late and therefore more difficult for me to change things. However I decided right then that I would not make the same mistake in my second year. Today I find that my classroom management skills have improved considerably, although there is still a lot of room for improvement.

With respect to my content knowledge in the first year……… soon after my very first class I realized how hollow and superficial my knowledge was of a subject I had studied for 7 years!! I could easily answer the ‘WHAT’ kind of questions, but found myself completely lost when I had to answer questions that had the words ‘WHY’ and ‘HOW' in them. I found myself not able to teach the students to apply the subject to practical real life situations, which I consider as the biggest let down of my first year. However, soon after the first class I knew that I had to relearn the subject to be able to pass on the same to my students, which I did. In the first year, my entire focus was on getting the ‘content’ in place. Today I feel that I understand the subject much better, can explain it to the students with more examples, help them apply the subject………… however what I have learnt is only a drop in the ocean and I have years and years and years of reading and learning in store for me!

With regard to my teaching methodology, since I have already mentioned that the focus was completely on getting the content in place, I could not make the subject 'fun' to the students; there was a lack of interesting activities and challenging projects in the first year. This has certainly got to change in the second year and I do have a lot of plans to make the subjectfun to the students in a manner that facilitates application and incorporation of the subject into their own lives!! lets see how it goes……….


Blogger Shuchi Grover said...

I like how you have used those 3 "lenses" to reflect your 1-1/2 years as a teacher here. You seem to have been a quick learner and come a long way already. Keep up the learning! And here's to more "fun" in the teaching and learning process - for you as well as your students...

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Blogger nalini said...

Hi Vijaya,

Enjoyed reading both your blogs and all the comments.

It is the insights within the three clear areas of your focus that captured my interest.

The 1st stage of conscious effort to think about one’s own practice especially in teaching is by itself a big move towards professional growth. Reflection on an experience (positive or negative) leads to awareness, and then to the 3rd stage-of planning and decision making; all this I saw unfolding stage by stage in your blog.
Reg. methodolgy – You mention lack of interesting and challenging projects, and making notes for your students in your blogs. ( I remember you told me you had spent all of Christmas vacation, 2004, compiling this) – Could delegating the responsibility for these notes in small chunks to your students be a viable method to make it interesting, challenging and also fun for them? What would this process entail on the part of the students? You, as teacher?

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