The last blog I wrote was about the first day of school (introduction to the new school year). Now -3 weeks later- I’m back with a new blog. A brutally honest one. I have decided to share the reflection I wrote after teaching my first class. There were 3 questions I answered: What went well? What didn’t? What are my learnings? So here goes my raw reflection.
Today was the first class I’ve ever taught, I have facilitated workshops in the past but not actual classes. The students were asked to analyse trends and implement these in their own business ideas. There was also a short brainstorm session about a fictional party they had to plan.
What went well?
Time management: I only had 2,5 hours to teach and I knew how fast that time would go. So I made an excel sheet with an overview of every class. And yes almost every minute was planned. Even-though it costs a lot of time to do, it was completely worth it. It helped me to keep track of everything and be on time.
The presentation: I prepared a presentation with the 4 trends I was going to discuss. I only used pictures and video’s to give the students a better feel and clear understanding of what these trends consisted of. I didn’t want to have the feeling that I was standing in front of the class, so I did things differently once again. I decided to sit in front of the class while giving my presentation. I had two reasons for doing this, it was much easier with the short cable attached to my computer to do it like this. But most importantly I wanted to create a different setting for the students, a less formal one. So the students were sitting away from their tables, in half a circle. Which prevented them from being distracted by technology and other things that tend to distract them.
Preparation: Preparation is definitely everything. I was well prepared and telling my story, telling what I’m passionated about makes it so much easier to remember. But having a guideline helped to guide me through the morning.
Funny thing is, every time you have to come up with something positive it’s so much harder than writing down something negative. It took me quite some time to come up with the 3 answers I gave, I’m sure it will be so much easier and faster to answer this question.
It was so hard to get a feeling of what the students were thinking at that exact moment, actually it was impossible to get that feeling. It’s my aim to use a different method of teaching than the students are used to. Not having to sit behind their desk the whole day, listening to the teacher's story and automatically taking notes. No! I want to do it differently. I don’t want them to sit down the whole session, I would prefer for them to make their assignments while standing and being active and creative. I want to dare them to be different and to think outside the infamous box. But instead they were just sitting there, twenty pairs of eyes staring through my soul. I’m always one to have zero expectations while doing new things, this way I will not be disappointed easily. But I’m starting to think that I did have some expectations, unconsciously. I hoped that the students would jump up and actively participate in all the assignments, but instead it was like pulling teeth. But one thing is very clear and how cocky it might sound, I never doubted myself. I just know this is what the students need.
Okay, it might also be in my head, maybe they were participating, but not as actively as I expected or wished them to be.
After the class was over, I spoke to a few of my former teachers. I told them how I felt and that I just didn’t know if the students liked it or if they thought it was useful or not. I got some great tips that I will definitely try out in my next class. One of the tips I’m more likely to use is asking for some feedback during the class. If it’s not clear what they’re thinking at that exact moment, I will ask the students if I’m going to fast or if they understand what I’m saying. And I will definitely tell them if they have to be more proactive as well!
After talking to some friends and family, they made me stand in the students’ their shoes. It’s their first time too. First time having a new teacher with a completely different way of teaching than they're used to. Not to forget, my classes are on Monday mornings (which always seem to play a huge role). Students have been taught to be quite and sit still for so long now and here I am expecting them to be active. That also must be very confusing to them.
What are my learnings?
This is a proces that will take some time and it might be a challenge, but the result will definitely be worth it. Also I’ll start sharing my thoughts and feelings with my students, this might get them to open up as-well!
This is just the beginning and I will take all these learnings to improve my next class which will take place on the 8th of October.
If you have any recommendations or questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.