Teaching For The First Time: A First Person Experience

Teaching For The First Time: A First Person Experience

“Schooling is much like learning to ride a bicycle by reading about it, diagramming it on the blackboard, dissecting the bicycle-but never actually riding it.” –Lasting Lessons

Spirit Fountain

Teaching is always something that has been a passion of mine. Ever since I was about four years old, I knew that I was going to become a teacher when I grew up. I love kids, school, and seeing others succeed. When I entered Health and Movement at the beginning of January 2015, one of the first assignments handed out was to go and teach a lesson in a physical education class. I was so nervous when that was said! I remember thinking, “I can’t teach in a gym. It is way too big of a room for my quiet voice. I don’t have what it takes to be a physical education teacher…” I was wrong. Throughout this semester, I have become a more confident person and found my “teaching voice.” It has been a terrific semester!

I taught my lesson at Lincoln Elementary School. It was an incredible experience and the lesson went perfectly for what they were doing in class: relays. I taught twenty-first graders who had so much energy and excitement that just filled the room. There smiles were the sunshine that was not shining that day. In terms of the teaching, I learned a lot about managing a group of squirmy kids in a thirty minute time slot, how to critique the students in a positive way, and know how to adjust to surroundings. In education, it is very common for things to not go according to plan.

My lesson plan was the first actual lesson that I had ever taught (while in college). I had really no expectations of how it was going to go and how confident I was going to be. I think that I had a very detailed and organized lesson plan. It was very simple to write because the teacher, gave me the warm-up and stretches (15 minutes of the class) that had to be done. Personally, I did not like his warm-up style of walking, running, and stretching. The kids were worn out and out of breath! Most of them do not like physical education class do to the entire class being running. I think my lesson plan could have included more time for another game if I did not have to do the warm-up series. The focus of the day was based on their unit that they had been working on, relays. I chose the game “Hungry Crabs” from PE Central because it allowed for the students to be in groups of four with colors and a new kind of a relay.

When I was introduced to teach the class, the first graders were SO excited! They all said that they were going to tell their friends at recess that they got to have a college teacher for PE. They loved Hungry Crabs because of the class competition and enthusiasm that I had for everyone, even the loosing team. They thought that receiving a high-five was the coolest thing. Their eyes got huge! Two of the teams were very competitive. One time one of the boys told another boy on the opposite team that he did not like him because he was on the green team and not the red team. The one little boy started crying and was so sad. I felt so bad, but told him that he was liked and that he had so many friends. He stopped crying a few minutes later and then was fine. The other boy got in trouble by Mr. Comstock and had to sit out for the rest of the day. The students were so bummed when the class was over and were sad when they found out that I was only teaching them for the day. In just a half-an-hour, it was hard not to become attached to the children. One girl gave me the biggest hug and told me that I must come back. Each student loved the lesson because they got to be crabs and have fun in PE class.

The teacher gave a lot of very good comments that will help me be a better physical education teacher, and more so a teacher in general. He said that my lesson was “very well organized and excellent lesson plan” because it included the standards, options for special education students, and it was to the point of the lesson. Another positive comment was how excited and enthusiastic I was towards the students. He said after the lesson to me that my smile and actions towards the students were so kind, compassionate, and caring. He also loved how I gave each student a “high five” after they played the game, and at the end of the class while they were leaving. On the other hand, after all of the praise, I received some suggestions on what to work on for next time. Number one was to speak louder. I have always been quiet, but that day my voice was completely gone due to an illness that I had a few days before. I felt like a mouse because I could barely talk. I was planning on being loud too! Next, there was a little problem during the class on how to get all of the students quiet at once. He said to get a device or word to get attention or silence in the room. That was something that I should have come up with beforehand, but never thought about. The teacher just uses a whistle, but I was not comfortable using one because the sound reminds me of the military or a sport practice. Lastly, the best improvement advice was to give the students feedback during the activity. I praised them, but did not tell them what they could be doing to better themselves. The teacher made it very clear to me that I will be an effective teacher because of my sense of kindness and compassion towards the students, but also firmness and control of the class. He said that I could only get better from here! Each of the comments, strengths and weaknesses were very helpful to me in for the next lesson and beyond that I will teach.

I really enjoyed this as my first experience of teaching. I loved being out in the school and actually getting to teach the lesson. Not a lot of freshman can say that they got to teach in a school their second semester. Looking back now, almost two years later, I learned a lot of things that I need to improve on like: my voice needs to be louder and have more time for instruction. I have gained confidence in my speaking and people skills. as well as included more clarification and instruction, instead of rushing though it. By teaching, it allowed for me to teach a lesson designed by me and taught according to my style. My teaching and excitement will only grow more and more from here, especially as now I am so close to graduation!

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