Monday, November 13, 2006

Post Micro-teaching Reflection

Since my micro teaching, I have been thinking and rethinking to myself what it means to be a teacher. My thoughts expressed here have already taken into consideration that whatever happened in micro teaching is exaggerated and therefore a lose-lose situation for whoever is up there. Plus, it is simulated. These are not here to defend myself, but rather to reflect on my experience with reality in check.

Firstly, with regards to the fainting incident, I was really stunned. However, I did feel that I did a very logical thing to ask if anyone knew first aid. Cuz I think at that point of time, the first aider will be able to know what to do health wise. No point pretending I know if I didn't anyway. My mom said that I should have made sure that no one crowded around Sam so she had enough air to breath. She also said I should have called the office AND the ambulance. It is quite tricky, because Sam did wake up a little (which indicated that the fainting was not so serious), so I decided to change plan and ask Pearlyn to bring her to the sick bay. I think, linked to this is the decision of whether to leave the class or to stay behind and teach. Actually it didn't occur to me that I should have left the class. It is hard to deconstruct what happened so I'll not attempt to do that. Instead, if I could turn back time, I would have called the office to send help to being Sam to the sick bay, and then asked the office to call the parents up so that they could be notified of the situation and bring Sam to the doctor. Afterwhich, I would continue my lesson assuring the class that Sam would be alright because her parents will be coming. Just curious, what would you guys have done?

On my views of whether to leave the class or to stay behind, I would choose to stay behind anyhow, especially with regards to truancy. This is because as a teacher I believe I have the basic responsibility to teach my students, not just academically. If a student leaves my class without permission thinking that he can get away with it or show a teacher disrespect, I will just report his absence as truancy and warn the class using his example. In my microteaching, I seemed unempathetic. In the example of YB's peeing in class, it is a fact that it is the class's fault that YB cannot go toilet. I would still have done the same thing, to tell the students that if they hadn't stolen the pass from me, their classmate wouldn't have to suffer. I think even if it were portayed as a lack of empathy I will still do it because students need to be aware of their own actions and the consequences it brings to them. I feel this is of more value to the students than to give in to students all the time.

Another point that was brought up was my body language, which translated into a lack of empathy and urgency. I have to say that I find my own body language ironic and strange. The way I think I behave is always different from the way I behave. It always happens to me. For example, if I feel perky, my friends will ask me why I look so tired. I've tried to be more conscious of my voice and my body language though the years, but I really do think I need to work more on that by being more conscious, but hopefully not to the extend of being fake.
The other thing I want to talk about is professionalism vs your own beliefs and values. Adding on to Jacq's comment that she disagrees with the statement that good actors are good teachers, I feel that students learn from the teacher not because of her content knowledge or how professional she behaves, but by being taught the right values. I'm saying that while a teacher should be professional (and therefore an actor in some ways), there is a limit to it. I personally will not give up my own values just to be professional. In a real situation where the student misbehaves, I will make sure the student learns that if he has the guts to misbehave, he must first have the guts to own up to his mistake, even if it requires the student to suffer. To give an example, I once had a friend who cheated on her test in Secondary school. The teacher handed our papers to us and we were supposed to read the marks out so that she could record it down. My friend read a different mark from what was written on the paper so that she could pass. I knew that it was wrong and told her to own up. But she refused. I told her that I would give her a day to own up or I will tell the teacher. What happened was that she didn't own up still so I told the teacher. She failed her CA for that semester and suffered the wrath of her teachers and parents, but in the end, she learnt never to cheat again. It didn't matter to me if she didn't want to be my friend anymore (anyway she still wanted to be my friend), but at least she learnt a valuable lesson. The same goes for my students. It will not matter to me if they hate me, because my job is to make sure they learn, not just academically.
I think at the end of it all, I hope that I can figure out a way to improve my body language, my language and perhaps tone of voice so that I can be a true teacher through example, discipline and genuine concern for my students.


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