Thursday, March 20, 2014

How To Completely Fail an Observed Lesson

Happy Thursday!

Today I had a completely different post idea ready to go but then the day's events were what they were and thus I have scrapped that idea and gone with this one instead.

Today I bombed my observed lesson.  Like really bombed.  This may have been the worst I have ever been.  EVER.  It was ugly.  I'm going to be the first to admit that it was completely my fault.  I take full responsibility for the fail whale that was my lesson.

Here's what happened!

1.)  Today was the first day I ever taught a whole group lesson in my 4th grade placement.  Previously I have been observing, monitoring, working 1:1 with students on specific skills-never full group.  Mistake numero uno.  NEVER I REPEAT NEVER schedule an observation for your first taught lesson in a placement.  It will be bad because you are green and you don't know anything.  I'm not beating myself up I'm being realistic.  You have a rapport with the students, yes, but not an instructional rapport. Scheduling your observation on your first day teaching a new subject is not a ballsy move.  It's stupid.  (Side note, this was a scheduling issue, not my first choice of days.  Still, I should have not said yes to this dress day)

2.) The actual lesson and teaching part was fine.  I taught a math review lesson.  I didn't tell kids 5+7=46463 or any of that nonsense.  It was classroom management.  Classroom management has to be the hardest thing to learn.  Honestly, I think you can have all the behavior charts, positive behavior supports, and red/yellow/green cards your Pinterest heart can handle and you can still screw this up.  With that being said, this is probably the most important thing to master as a teacher.  You have to have your kids in line or no one will learn.  It is that simple.  Sometimes you look up from working with a student and this is what you see:


JK it wasn't like that at all.  There were a few kids who finished early and walked around to talk to friends (next time I will have work for them), a few kids got too loud, (I will monitor them better), and some kids lost focus.

3.) Writing on a SMARTboard is hard.  Diamond hard.  There is no feasible way to write on the board without blocking someone's view.  Unless maybe I squat under it and point like, "Hey kids just ignore me squatting here under the board. Y'all can all see right?"  I am a great wall.  

It's hard to find a spot in a classroom where you can watch 23 little munchkins, write on the board, be entertaining, and move around like I need to.  I can't stand still.

4.) So the lesson got a little crazy in center time.  One of my co-ops had to tell my group to be quiet.  Never Good.  NEHVER. GUUUUD.  It ended...awkwardly.  There was no conclusion because I could not tell if my co-ops were done with their groups yet (maybe we'll come up with a signal of sorts for next time?) so my advisor asked to see me in the hall and, "Bring paper and pencil."  

So into the hall I went with my tail between my legs.  And she starts the same way she does every time, "So, how do you think it went?" (Side note-I love my advisor!  She's great!  She is honest, direct, a straight shooter, and gives me tough love.  I could not have asked for a better advisor.  The fact that I still like her after she gave me a bad review really says something about her and the level of respect I have for her.)

Gulp.  "I think the lesson went ok, but the classroom management was something I need to work on," I said to her.

"You completely lost control of the class," she deadpanned.  

Cue waterworks.  I started to cry!  Ugly cry!

She wasn't even mean about it!  Apparently, if you never cry ever until you're 22 years old, all your tears will build a forcefield inside your eyelids and then explode at the drop of a hat whenever something remotely sad happens.  TrueLife I'm a Late in Life Crier.  John Legend is so NOT talking about me when his rich and creamy voice of an angel coos, even when you're crying your beautiful too.  Not true for me.  Now, I'm trying to pull myself together but once I'm gone...apparently...I'm gone.


So now I'm trying to calm my sobbing self down...


And it's not getting better.  Worse actually.  A lot worse.  Now my blubbery, snotty, drooly mess of a self is listening to my advisor tell me that I need to stop it because I'm not perfect and she doesn't expect me to be.  She reiterates that I'm new and I'm learning but that's not good enough for this crazy type-A lunatic that is me.  So as I'm sitting bawling my eyes out, contemplating how I am the worst teacher candidate to ever go through the program (my thoughts not hers) and I'm going to screw up the kids so bad that they will all fail the NJASK in two months, I now start apologizing for crying.  Let's add this to the list of emotional instability I display in the work place.  I keep saying I never cry I'm so sorry, and she says, "You're high anxiety and you're too high strung" (ironically this is not the first time I've heard this...probably the only negative about being Type-A).  Now she brings me into the classroom to face my co-op.  Oh, while I was crying all my students are leaving and walking past me.  So there's that.  Coupled with the fact that I won't be there tomorrow means that they'll probably think I've gone insane in the membrane.

So we chat and I start crying harder.  Now I'm embarrassed, crying, and recovering from my fail whale.    

Then my advisor gives me a hug and tells me that I was a good teacher and had a lot of confidence but that I just need to work on my classroom management skills.  So she leaves and my co-op and I chat and I feel better.  Still crying, though.  Can't stop the waterworks.  

My advisor leaves and leaves me blubbering with my co-op.  My co-op calms me down and we start talking about math terminology because it's, "not emotional at all."  LOLZ!  Made me smile, then snorty tears some more.  It made it worse that I could not control myself.

We chatted, everything was fine, I went about making my lessons for tomorrow.  I ended up leaving too late to make it to Pilates :(

So this is going to be the Serindipity moment.  I tweeted Sometimes the best part of bombing your lesson is knowing that it can't get worse and CNN_Tube favorited it?  That's a random win.  

Then, I cried on the drive home...

Because who doesn't want to be known as the emotionally unstable student teacher?  Hi yes, please hire me after this 3 months of daily job interviews, and yes I did cry.  For an hour.  But that shows heart and passion and a determination to be the best!  No?  It shows that I'm the mayor of Crazytown?  Okthanksit'sbeenfuni'llhaveagreatlife!  I had a not-so-desired Sex and the City moment (how come I rarely have the good SATC moments but always the awkward ones?) and had flashbacks to Charlotte when she says that she cried once and suddenly it's like don't make Charlotte cry.  

I learned a lot today.  I learned that I need to relax because I still got good marks (not great ones but what are you going to do), I learned that I love my job and take it seriously.  I learned you're not always going to be perfect.  I learned I'm not okay with not being perfect.  Something to work on.  Being a perfectionist is not always a great thing. 

I also learned that giving up sugar for Lent is not a great idea.  Since I wanted it so bad today I made a smoothie to combat my sugar craving.  

But what do we always tell our students?  Mistakes are opportunities to grow and learn.  If you don't make mistakes you won't learn or become better.  So here's to knowing that it can only get better!  Also, I like to think that Jackie O cried once in a while, too!

So I did what any lunatic Type-A girl would do...

Browsed Pinterest for inspirational quotes!  

Cheesy?  Velveeta level yes!  Accurate though!

So there you have it!  My fail whale of a day!  Sometimes we cry and bawl in front of our co-op, but like Dolly says, you gotta put up with the rain.  Anyway, good news is:  It can only get better!  It really can't get any worse!  And as JPG says


Happy Friday!



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