Today’s visit was 90% technology-related and 10% history-related. As it is only the second week of school, the students had not yet received their iPads, so the two class periods I observed concentrated on setting students up with their devices. My cooperating teacher seemed a bit frazzled today, due to a couple unexpected developments: we were supposed to go to the computer lab with the technology integration specialist to distribute the iPads, but another class had reserved the space so we had to go back up into our classroom. This delayed the process of setting up each iPad quite significantly, taking up most of the class period. As far as history goes, students picked three European explorers from a list on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom. After they handed these in, the teacher randomly selected one card at a time and picked the students’ top choices (that hadn’t been selected yet). Students will soon begin independent projects on the explorers they picked, and today was the day to assign these figures and the homework for students was to come up with three questions to ask about their explorer.
The most significant learning I took away from today is the importance of just “going with the flow”. As seen in today’s practicum, even when you create a plan for class, things don’t always go as planned. As a teacher, it is critical to be patient, flexible, and positive. It could have been really easy for my cooperating teacher to “lose it” in frustration and take it out on either the technology specialist or the students. However, she knew that having such an attitude would not be productive nor would it set a good example. So much of teaching is being able to react to unplanned situations, whether that be in the middle of teaching or even just walking in the hallways. Having a poor attitude creates an unwelcoming classroom environment, and makes you a difficult colleague to work with. My cooperating teacher has a lot of experience in teaching, so “rolling with the punches” comes naturally to her. For new teachers – or preservice teachers – I’m sure this vital skill may be more difficult at first, especially with all they have going on in the beginning of their careers. I see myself as a pretty flexible person, so I’m hoping that this skill with come with some ease to me; if not, I predict I will get a lot of practice with it even before I become a teacher myself!