What was your first day of teaching like?

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What was your first day of teaching like?

Post by lip420 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:19 pm

I would love to hear about your teaching experience. What was your first day, week, month, or even year like?

Sally Olsen
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Post by Sally Olsen » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:48 pm

I had to teach a music lesson and the teacher assigned me a song to teach. I think it was a grade 2 or 3 class. I had written out the words on a poster so the students could follow along and had a story board booklet for each of them to fill out the words under the pictures afterwards. I left room for them to put in their own pictures and continue to make up their own verses. But when I got up in front of the class my knees literally started to knock together. I had heard of this but was so shocked when I actually experienced it. I pulled up a chair and sat down and luckily had my autoharp there so it looked natural to the supervising teacher. You can play your autoharp on your chest standing up or sitting down on your lap. So no one knew I just couldn't stand. The lesson went well and I got a good mark on my practicum. It taught me to be flexible I think.

You'll have to buy the book if you want to know about my first year.

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Post by EH » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:16 am

I was 16, completely untrained except for being a good language student myself, and happy that the person who interviewed me did not ask me anything relevant. For some reason she gave me the job. I tried not to trip while stepping high up onto the stage (!) in front of the blackboard. About 50 faces, all rather older than myself, stared up at me expectantly. They all had been given a textbook... but someone had neglected to inform me that I needed one, too. Luckily there was chalk available, and it did not break immediately in the humidity. I talked about myself. I put them in groups to introduce themselves to each other. I circulated and made eye contact. I asked them silly questions to elicit a smile. After the first hour I was dying for a chair. I contemplated perching on the steeply angled podium, decided against it, then continued to eye it longingly thereafter. At break time they all mobbed me and I couldn't rest my voice or sit down at all. Then another hour of standing up and somehow keeping things going... Sweat was pouring down. I made spelling mistakes. The cicadas were deafening.

I guess they liked me, though. More students kept coming, throughout the term. I gained the confidence to gloss over ridiculous/inaccurate parts in the textbook, and figured out how to use the rest of it well. One student had a camera so we took a class photo which they proudly presented to me in a blue plastic frame that looked like a cartoon cat. I still have it. One student taught me about (so rudimentary, back then!) computer animation. Another student visited me years later during a business trip to Boston, bringing his colleagues and a stretch limo in which to tour the city (I'm so not a tour guide... but then again I was so not a teacher at first and that worked out okay). He still sends Christmas cards.

I think my first classroom teaching job taught me that teacher training is a really useful thing to have, but flexibility and resourcefulness are priceless. Showing up on time and actually caring about students will get you far. And one should never perch on a pointy podium in a skirt. Just don't go there.

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