I finally got to teach a lesson! I taught a second grade class and it was a blast. It was the second lesson in a series of three geometry lessons. They were learning about lines, line segments, points, and shapes. I had spent a week or so planning a lesson and activity and was confident that I made a good lesson for my first try. I had a feeling the students would love the activity I planned to go along with the teaching portion of it. I was teaching at the end of the day and I became more and more nervous as the day went on. I have taught in The States before but they have only been mini lessons and with a much smaller group. When the time finally came I gathered my things and made my way down the hall to the second grade class that was waiting for me. My host teacher was in the back of the room observing and was there in case I needed anything. I had her take a few pictures of me while I was teaching so I could capture the moment. When I began I reviewed what they had learned the previous day. I started my presentation and from there it just felt natural. The students were paying attention and engaged in what I was teaching. When I asked a question they were jumping out of their seats begging me to call on them. Unfortunately I got through my lesson quicker than expected but I came up with an activity on the fly to occupy the last 10-15 minutes. I felt like I was in my element. This is why I came here.
When I went back for the second part of my lesson the students were just as excited. They were absolutely thrilled to see me. This was the activity portion of what we learned. I gave each group a set of shapes that we had learned a few days prior. They were to make a monster using the shapes they were given. When they finished making their monster they had to write down how many of each shape they used and they properties of each. This period was only 30 minutes so we did not have a lot of time to get things done. There were definitely some glitches that could have been avoided like not getting the shape cut outs until right before the lesson. I spent too much time trying to sort through the shapes I gave them so that each group would have the same amount of each shape. I wish I had gotten them from their recycled paper mill earlier so I could have prepared the shape sets before I got there. Over all though it went really well and they had a lot of fun. They had to finish the rest of the activity without me unfortunately but I am looking forward to seeing them all finished on Monday.
Teaching in front of a class of 35 students felt so natural to me. As soon as I started teaching and speaking in front of them all of my nerves went away. Their excitement and energy made me so happy. Even though not everything went as planned I still enjoyed every minute of it. As a teacher it is rare that everything go according to plan so I think this experience just further prepared me to take on my student teaching in the fall. If I had to summarize my entire junior year at Mizzou in one word it would be reflection. I am starting to understand just how powerful reflection is and why it is so important. It is a learning experience and by reflecting on how my lesson went I know what I need to do next time. Practice makes perfect and that is certainly true in teaching as well. Teaching these students has been a dream and I am so grateful for this experience because it is priceless. The amount of knowledge I have gained and the experiences I can take back to The States is immeasurable. I am so confident in my decision to be a teacher. It feels like I was born to teach and I finally figured it out. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life but I am so happy I discovered my passion for teaching. The students ignite something in me that fuels my excitement. When I looked back at the pictures my host teacher took, you can see the joy in my face.
The love I have for teaching continues to grow every single time I step in front of a class. It is such an underrated profession and it makes me sad because if it weren’t for teachers there would be no doctors, CEO’s, engineers, etc. A teacher holds the knowledge everybody wants and it is taken for granted. We need to appreciate our teachers and value it as much as any other profession. It baffles me that when you ask the students what they want to be when they grow up they don’t give you answers like dancer, singer, actress, astronaut, etc. They want to be doctors, engineers, and lawyers. Kids who are six years old are already on track to be a doctor when they grow up. We have had some interaction with secondary students as well and they are shocked that we are going to school to be teachers. Not many students set out to be teachers in India. Yet the teachers at Vidyashilp are out of this world. They are so intelligent and skilled in their subject. They want the best for their students just like we all do and even though their teaching style is very different from ours, it is very effective. Now that I have a taste of teaching, I wouldn’t dream of doing anything else.