I had previously complained that the local teacher trainee was content to nod in agreement as I postulated theories and ideas to get the cogs working in each student’s brain.
The lessons need to flow and be simple for the students to perform; as the teacher you must guide them. This means a lot of thinking and planning beforehand. Now, the teacher trainee is staying up until 1 AM to plan. However, with me being asleep it means that I cannot check the plan. I could awaken at 4 AM, but it is useless if the trainee is still sleeping.
The task of planning needs both of us to contemplate, change and bounce ideas off one another. In practice; I need to concept check why we are planning the way we are. I need to guide him through scaffolding and I need to be awake to read the plans that he produces. Otherwise we all fail.
For this particular lesson, it did not go well. At the end of it, he came over, looking forlorn, and asked if there was simply too much material for a 90 minute lesson. He told us how he knew it had gone badly, but that he didn’t know exactly where the problem had been or how to fix it. He mused that he needs to plan in greater detail.
Of course, I am not one to disagree with this sentiment as I plan my lesson, then think through it as it will happen in the classroom before fixing anything that I might have overlooked. As soon as I return from the lesson I make any adjustments that played out during the course of the lesson and change anything that didn’t quite work.
I strongly believe that complacency is the way to achieve failure and I will rarely teach the exact same lesson twice as each group of students is different and should be treated as such. I am glad that he is able to see the short-comings. The next stage of course is self-correction. For now, self reflection will have to do.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer
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