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Zoe-Lee Fuller 16343229

102094 Professional Practice 2


Assignment 2: Key Moments Reflection (1000 Words)

After my initial lessons teaching, my mentor gave me the feedback that I needed
to make it clear to students what I expected of them, consistently enforce those
expectations, and initiate consequences promptly and calmly, when necessary. I
knew this, of course, but in my previous professional practice I had been so much
more concerned with content rather than management, that I really struggled
with that, and by the end of it some of my classes devolved into chaos. So with
this feedback in mind, I reflected on what I wanted my classroom environment to
look and feel like. Then I wrote myself a speech, of sorts, that explained what our
drama classroom should look like, the behaviour I expected of students, and the
consequences. I practiced this before my lesson, and then gave it to my class, at
the beginning of my next three lessons with them. Throughout those lessons, I
tried as promptly and calmly as I could, to enforce those expectations and
consequences. After this, once students realised that I was serious about my
expectations, but that I also tried to be fair, then the class became much easier
to manage, a benefit in a large class, and we had a far more enjoyable and
productive lesson. Thus, in subsequent lessons I tried ensure that I always made
my expectations clear and enforced them consistently. While I knew the old
adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, my experiential learning
of this concept in the classroom helped to cement for me the idea that classroom
management ought to be preventative, where possible, rather than curative.

My first, and only, bad, or rather, difficult lesson in this professional practice
occurred the third time I took the Year 10 Drama class, who were reputably a
very difficult and disruptive class to teach. My first two lessons with them had
gone quite well, considering, so I was unconcerned to learn that I would be
taking them under the supervision of a casual teacher on this occasion. During
the class, however, they were utterly disrespectful, ignoring me when I asked
them to stop talking or put their phones away, and refusing to participate in any
of the learning activities. During lessons like these in my first professional
practice (and there were quite a few), I would often get quite emotionally upset,
and though I would not have admitted it then, I took it personally. It was not
uncommon for these kinds of lessons to end in tears for me. This time, however,
I was able to detach myself and see that the students behaviour was in no way a
personal attack on me, but rather, more likely, a reaction to the absence of their
usual teacher, my mentor, who in the classroom has a manner more like a drill
sergeant than my gentle approach. Consequently, at the end of the lesson while I
was a little bit disappointed, I was better able to reflect upon why the lesson
occurred as it did, without my emotions thwarting me. As such, it has helped me
to realise that in remaining professional, I must hold a little of myself back, that
is, I can not just be myself in the classroom, for I am by nature a very emotional
and reactive person. If I were to allow myself to become personally affronted
upset by each individual bout of negative student behaviour, I would probably
burn out and leave the profession far sooner than I intend.

I have found during both of my professional practices that I have felt quite timid
in regards to giving feedback to students on their work for fear of discouraging
them. Once I have felt more comfortable, both times towards the end of my
practice, I have not felt this fear as much, but have still held myself back. This
applies particularly to my drama classes, where students often feel
uncomfortable and embarrassed about participating in practical activities, where
my tendency to accept any participation and contribution without the
expectation of quality, hampers student learning. However, in my last class with
Year 10 Drama, I had students devising a scene in groups using a script excerpt.
Most of the groups put effort into their scenes, but one group simply read the
script, without really putting any effort into blocking. So when they finished and
went to join the rest of the class I decided that I was not going to let them bow
out of the activity with minimal effort. I made them take the stage once more,
with the instruction to do the scene again, but with specific directions from me
on how to play it. Once the group completed their scene, I highlighted for the
class why I had gotten the group to do it again, and the effects of the changes I
made to their scene. I am so glad that I did this because I proved to myself that I
can stand up to students, and that it is far more beneficial to give honest
feedback because it communicates my expectations for quality of work to the
students.

Following a psychoeducational approach (Lyons, Ford & Slee, 2014), forming a


good rapport with students was important to me. I made an effort to get to
know students outside of class time, showing genuine interest in their lives and
getting to know them. Letting them see me as more than just a teacher helped
me to form positive relationships of mutual respect with students, as endorsed
by Dreikurs Goal Centred Theory. As such, I was able to be democratic and
facilitative in my teaching style, rather than autocratic. The majority of my
lessons were quite successful, and I had very little trouble with student
behaviour. I think students appreciate this teaching style and may as a result be
more compliant, with the exception of the Year 10 Drama class mentioned
above. I suspect that the reason it did not work quite as well with that class is
that they were so discouraged by school in general and, in Glasserian terms (as
cited in Lyons, Ford & Slee, 2014), did not view school as part of their quality
worlds, that it would have taken far more than three or four lessons with them
in order for them to be more responsive to me and my teaching practice.

References

Lyons, G., Ford, M., & Slee, J. (2014). Classroom management: Creating positive
learning environments, 4th ed., Australia: Cengage Learning.