Thursday, 3 September 2009

A first lesson

I had them work in pairs on a composition which combines a static background with dynamic foreground.
They produced quite creative solutions.

What I like most of my job is the adventurous side of it. One never knows what's going to happen in a group of teenagers. Teaching can be compared to driving a formula I racing car. One wrong move and you have to collect your bones out of a wreck. Experience does help, but never to the extent that you can allow yourself to lose your concentration for one moment. After thirty-two years of teaching the biggest mistake is the idea that you have seen it all and can keep everything in your stride. You are going to be surprised then.

In particular the first lesson of the year in a new group of pupils I have never met before in the art room is challenging. I prepare such a lesson meticulously, knowing that I will need all my senses and my alertness to perceive and appraise these new kids. I don't know their attention span so I keep the amount of information I have to communicate at a minimum while the task must be challenging enough. Above all I have to establish my routines in the classroom.

It turned out to be a doddle this morning. Nice children, willing to pay attention, no special needs students so far detected. One boy offered me the opportunity to set the routine "How To Apologize Neatly And Ask Meekly For Being Allowed To Enter The Classroom In Case of Oversleeping," (You have to come up with a really good story, do not dare to mention the real reason, at this school oversleeping just does not occur). The group cleaned up properly and without whining. Albeit, some groups start testing the mettle of their new teacher from the very first moment, while other groups appear torpid until some weeks later when hell breaks loose. We will see.


Urban School Teacher said...

"Experience does help, but never to the extent that you can allow yourself to lose your concentration for one moment."

Such a wonderful observation! And isn't it wonderful when it all goes to plan and you still have your sanity intact by the end of the lesson/day?!

Joep said...

Thank you for your comment. It gave rise to a new post!