Teaching Assistantship (Week 2)

This week was interesting. One of the tasks I had to fulfil for this TA was to look at the pupils’ learning styles and difficulties as well as my CT‘s teaching approaches and strategies on dealing with these learning styles as well as their difficulties.

One strategy my CT uses in class was silent reading. She uses silent reading as a tuning-in activity. She said that as she’s also their Mathematics teacher in addition to being their English Language teacher, her use of the silent reading period is a signal to the pupils that it is now time for English Language and that their minds have to switch away from Mathematics. In fact, one of the routines after a short break is when she says “switch on your minds”, the pupils will mime a ‘switching-on’ motion and saying “switching on” in a sing-song voice.

One thing I took away from this week’s TA was from my conversation with my NIES. He asked me if students were learning. He said that no matter what strategy we used or what approaches we were to take, the very first question we have to ask ourselves as teachers would be “will the students learn?”

Teaching Assistantship (Week 1)

This week’s Teaching Assistantship (TA) is very short. We started on Tuesday and had Friday off due to Good Friday.

I finally had a Cooperating Teacher (CT) this time and I think I will enjoy this TA stint more than I did my contract stint.

I will write more about the rest of the TA when I have the time.

MLEA Micro-teaching

This afternoon was my group’s turn for micro-teaching. Last week, two groups had presented on SBA so this week, my group will be presenting on MLEA.

N was good! In fact, she was so good that I actually just wanted to find a crawl space to hide. For all my CELTA experience and whatnot, I have to say she was a natural. Someone once said to me that there are people who have a natural flair for teaching. N is one of those.

K was calm and she has a very soothing personality.

Actually, ever since coming into NIE, I’ve started doubting myself more and more. It’s a struggle to stay afloat amidst the assignments, group works and readings. Despite whatever experience I thought I had, I am really finding it very tough to come up with lesson plans, unit plans and all the little things in-between.

I know that I joined this PGDE programme to learn and that it is alright to feel overwhelmed as long as I keep at it. It is just frustrating that I am not as good as I can be even though I have been trying.

This is something I have been wanting for a long time and now that I have gotten into this programme, I feel like maybe I am just not cut out for this.

Marigolds and Walnuts

During the Meranti Project over the last weekend, we had an experienced teacher come in for a dialogue session with my GESL group. The teacher shared something interesting with the group – the marigolds and the walnuts.

Many experienced gardeners follow a concept called companion planting: placing certain vegetables and plants near each other to improve growth for one or both plants. For example, rose growers plant garlic near their roses because it repels bugs and prevents fungal diseases. Among companion plants, the marigold is one of the best: It protects a wide variety of plants from pests and harmful weeds. If you plant a marigold beside most any garden vegetable, that vegetable will grow big and strong and healthy, protected and encouraged by its marigold.

Marigolds exist in our schools as well – encouraging, supporting and nurturing growing teachers on their way to maturity. If you can find at least one marigold in your school and stay close to them, you will grow. Find more than one and you will positively thrive.

While seeking out your marigolds, you’ll need to take note of the walnut trees. Successful gardeners avoid planting vegetables anywhere near walnut trees, which give off a toxic substance that can inhibit growth, wilt, and ultimately kill nearby vegetable plants. And sadly, if your school is like most, walnut trees will be abundant. They may not seem dangerous at first. In fact, some may appear to be good teachers – happy, social, well-organized. But here are some signs that you should keep your distance: Their take on the kids is negative. Their take on the administration is negative. Being around them makes you feel insecure, discouraged, overwhelmed, or embarrassed.

WALNUT TREES ARE POISON. Avoid them whenever you can. If you don’t, they will start to infect you, and soon you’ll hate teaching as much as they do.
– Jennifer Gonzalez, Find Your Marigold

I thought this was absolutely lovely. I am thankful that while I was in my old school, I had loads of marigolds around me. I shall strive to look out for the marigolds whilst in NIE. At the same time, I need to strive to make sure I do not become a walnut.