Good things come to those who wait.

At last, I have done it. No amount of words can describe my feeling of elation upon completing my final teaching practicum. This was a huge relief as I have been postponing this for some time now. Teaching practicum, as we all know is quite stressful and challenging. Having to experience both good and bad teaching experiences in the past, I prepared well this time around to face this final practicum with confidence. I forego all other activities during the six weeks of practicum and fully concentrated on this task with one mindset, that is, to ace this final practicum superbly well. Fortunately, my school’s teaching staff and the supervising teacher were very supportive. A lot of encouragement and assistance were given to me during my time here. Without these elements of positivity, there is no way; I could have done it so well. Most importantly, I was prepared to take on board all the criticism that was given to me by my supervising teaching (SP). Written feedback or comments were given for each and every lesson that I taught. This is really important. As I said in my previous blog, I believe in the power of feedbacks and it really allows me to modify my teaching practice more effectively. I took these comments or criticisms seriously and made the necessary amendments for my own teaching improvements as well as to increase students’ engagement in the classroom. After all, isn’t education all about increasing the quality of our teaching for the benefits of our young people?
Upon reflection, I realized there were a few incidences that I can treasure and others that can be rectified in order to achieve a better outcome in delivering my teaching practice. While doing my teaching practicum, I was given a lot of help and support this XXX School, which I thought was excellent. The SP had established a classroom management plan so effectively. I simply had to follow on as what was expected. I didn’t want to try out any new classroom management plans, just so I can concentrate on preparing my lesson plans and teaching practice. I found this very comforting because as a new teacher, it is simply daunting to face so many students from different academic levels and different year groups-Yr 7, 8 and 9. Not to mention about remembering their names! Well, I did pretty well in this part, though at times I did mix up some student names and this caused a little embarrassment for some. Anyhow, overall I had a good rapport with students. I treated all the students with equal respect. I had a hard time comprehending that even at Year 9, some students from Non- English speaking and Aboriginal background need a lot of help in their literacy and numeracy skills. With these types of challenges, especially in a mixed ability class, using differentiation while preparing my lesson plan came in handy. Again, preparing lesson plans according to these requirements was done with the help of my SP. She gave a lot of resources for me to adapt and modify as per the students’ academic abilities. This was awesome and I truly felt so grateful to her. Besides this, I also tried out some of my own teaching resources as to experiment with my own teaching practice and to see how effective this could be.  Apart from this, as we all know not all students learn in the same way, altering and modifying our teaching styles make a lot of difference for students, especially to infuse curiosity, clarify certain concepts or simply to create empathy. For this purpose, I tried a role-play activity in my Year 9 class, the lesson on Henry Parkes (Father of Federation in Australia) in the topic of Making of a Nation. Believe me; I will forever remember this lesson as it taught me two elements to truly consider prior to teaching. One, being fully prepared by  knowing exactly what is the composition of students in the class. The other, by using different teaching strategies, definitely, it enhances students’ creativity and acting talent. Obviously, more student involvement benefits the whole class, not choosing one or two students. To elaborate further, this class is of a selective stream and consists of students from multicultural background. There was a student with a hearing aid problem and I need to insert a little device on my dress so that she can hear me talking. I had to repeat some instructions for her while teaching. I am fully aware of this, whenever I’m teaching this particular class. 
 I understood this well, but what happened was, during the role-play session there were two students performing an act by acting out the role of Henry Parkes and the governor of New South Wales at that time, Robert Brand. I volunteered to read out the prologue section and the boys were reading their dialogue. The conversation was lively and witty and from students’ reaction, all of them truly enjoyed the play. Their laughter can be regarded as a testimony for a good performance by the boys. It really went on well. However, something went wrong! Yes, a silly mistake on my behalf. Actually, I have forgotten about the girl with the hearing aid problem. I should have given her a copy of the dialogue, so she too can enjoy the dialogue being acted/read out by the boys. Although, she did get some of my explanation on the prologue, but would not have any clue what the boys were saying. Well, I really felt awfully bad  when the SP told me this and I reminded myself that this type of silly mistake should never occur again.  
On the other hand, an interesting outcome was achieved while teaching the Year 7 class. I used a lesson plan that was suggested by my SP which really turns out fabulously well. Although, it was a simple lesson plan, but the engagement and participation amongst students in this class was immensely great. As a matter of fact, I was quite astonished to see how well students got involved. In Year 7, while teaching the topic of Ancient Greece I used the lesson on writing the Greek alphabet and using these Greek letters to write a few sentences, then rewriting them in English. Students were chosen to write these sentences in Greek letters on the white board and other students had to explain what these Greek sentences means. I saw a sense of eagerness and willingness to participate. As a starter lesson I decided to engage students by discussing about their own language or any second language that they knew. Since, this class consists of high level of multicultural students; it was easy to get students to say a few words that they can think of and at the same time explaining the importance of understanding another language. I also used my own knowledge of using different language while living in Malaysia. I tried asking students what the word means in Japanese, Mandarin and Bahasa Indonesia. It was a lively teaching session with students answering enthusiastically and responding to my questions eagerly. My SP too, contributed by saying some of the Japanese words that she  had learned previously. Sometimes, lessons that I thought was so simple ended up as the most engaging activity in the classroom. Overall, it was very meaningful for students and this was the desired outcomes for classroom engagement as per our quality teaching practices.    
 My final teaching practicum was the highlight of all my other teaching practice. I am able to feel a sense of relief upon completing this final task well with the help of so many people, including my SP. I would like to thank all of you who have supported me. Those who know me will know how hard it was for me to fulfil this final task. Having to care for my family members and performing other essential everyday task as a care provider was not easy.  I guess success is nothing without failures. With lots of will power and self-determination I was able to fulfil my aim of becoming a teacher. I know there is more challenges ahead, but with a positive attitude and willingness to help others will guide me for a better future. Obviously, with the support from others in the teaching industry. 

6 thoughts on “Good things come to those who wait.

  1. Well written and well said.Definately feedback is very important for whatever task or work done or accomplished.But what is more important is how well we respond to the feedbacks(positive/negative) and continue to strive and improve for the betterment in whatever task or work in our lives.

  2. I love the fact that you continue to challenge yourself Shanti. It’s that courage and perseverance that means you will succeed as a teacher. It may take a while, because that great rush to retirement hasn’t happened en masse yet, but this blog shows that you will be ready when called. Great to see you tackling technology head on so reflectively.

    • Hello Bernie, Thanks so much for your feedback. Looking back now, one of the few reasons that I’m able to survive in this teaching fraternity is obviously because someone like you. During the initial stage, you gave me a helping hand while I was falling down, that meant a lot to me. I remembered the other tutor just washed her hand when I asked for assistance. But, you spoke to me from Melbourne even though you were attending a conference there at that time, reassuring me all will be good eventually. After speaking to you I felt so relieved. I don’t know if you can recollect, you are the one who told me to write a reflection in the first place. At that time I was reluctant, later I found this was a powerful tool to use for understanding our own weakness or strength. Thanks to you Bernie, without you I wouldn’t be here. I do hope you will continue to inspire more people and become the anchor for humanities.
      Huge thanks to HTA and Matt as he was also very instrumental in this maiden project of mine-blogging. He encouraged me to start a blog and gives tips on what to write and what not to. Really enjoying this. Cheers.

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