Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ninevic clarity; Reflections on first week of prac

It occured to me last night, in a moment of clarity, while I was going to church (through a storm - maybe relevant, maybe not), that I'd been letting fear run some very important decisions for my life.

I've shied away from taking a direction that I feel to be right because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to do it - wouldn't be able to carry it through to it's final conclusion. I'd been carrying that fear, and this isn't the first time it's stopped me - but perhaps the pattern has highlighted that fear isn't a good enough reason to not act in a certain way.

I'm convinced that Nineveh is calling.

Onto other things...
Turns out that my Grad Dip taking over a week is just good practise for prac. Of course, I did expect prac to take over my time - like a job would, coincidentally enough - but I didn't really get it until I'd gone through it.

Some reflections:
- I'd be a lot more confident if I was teaching in areas that I'm actually specialising in. I think it would be easier for me to learn how to teach if that was all that I had to learn, rather than also having to learn subject matter. I'm not saying that the school should be beholden to the student teacher's specific areas of expertise; but as one who did one of his units in junior legal studies and the other in senior modern history, I'd be a lot happier if I wasn't teaching ancient history and junior geography. I'm literally teaching a subject that I deliberately chose not to do in high school. A student asked me how I could like geography, and I almost burst out laughing.
Yesterday I couldn't spell English teacher and now I is one. - Anon.
Me fail English? That's unpossible! - The Simpsons
- I think that I've been doing well so far. My ability to teach and my class control haven't been criticised at all, and I'm going some way towards developing some rapport with students. As far as teaching ability is concerned, I think that I'm somewhat ahead of expectations - one of the reports was that the students were attentive, when I could clearly see some tuning out, so I'm taking that as me starting off very well (with improvement needed, of course!).
- Teaching at an all-girls school has it's own benefits and challenges. Class control is very easy, and leading the list of behaviour management problems is, like, litter.
- Teaching at an all-girls school as a young, male teacher (probably the only one this side of 45) has particular challenges. I'm definitely feeling somewhat objectified, and I've felt that enough that I've taken to wearing a ring on my left ring finger when I'm at the school (a prayer ring, but still).
- I'm looking forward to next semester. Hopefully, I'll be considered a SOSE/English teacher then, and be able to do some senior English classes, where interpretation comes into play and I can look at some of the classics.
- Even though some things have had to fall by the wayside, I've rediscovered an important part of having a daily schedule of things to do (in my case, walking 30min to school at a particular time each morning) - I can factor in an amount of prayer (or, at least, prayer-related activity) each morning. I'm listening to a different tone of the Sunday matins each day, which has been a blessing - I would almost go so far as to say 'saving grace'.
- In some respects, class preparation is difficult. In others, it's actually fairly easy. My knowledge of how long I expect a class activity is well off, but it seems that I have a good sense of how long a series of activities should take - as long as I follow the sequence, rather than the timing, I'm doing okay.

On the whole, a good start.

Other things that have happened:
Adjudicating on Wednesday and Friday. I'm starting to get sick of it, to be honest, but this is the last week that I'll have to do both. Was very excited that a term that I introduced, 'debaters stance', is finally getting some traction at my alma mater.
My housemate's parents have stayed here for a couple of days, which has taken some getting used to, but it's been okay thus far.
Mahjong was last week. Broke in a new player, and it worked out well - friend from high school, who was a gamer...once you've learnt the rules of a few games, more become easier to learn - much like languages, I'd think.
Emotionally, I've had a rough couple of weeks, but a combination of a Nineveh sensation and the realisation that I had (see top of post) bodes well, I think. Maybe I needed that 'dark night' (if you'll pardon the reference).
Finally got back to my usual Sunday morning church this week. Didn't stay for long, but people seemed to notice that I'd been gone and seemed happy that I was back.

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