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first ever lesson?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by scienceteacher11, May 6, 2011.

  1. I'm not actually qualified as a teacher yet, but nonetheless had a first lesson which is permanently seared into my memory - on an overseas placement (ostensibly as an assistant!) which I undertook for experience prior to my PGCE, teaching English at a primary school in Turkey. Since I wasn't qualified, I wasn't really supposed to be taking lessons by myself, and certainly not in my first week - the school didn't appear to realise that. On the Monday, my head of department appeared not to have got herself organised yet, and I ended up sitting around the staffroom all day because the one person who was supposed to be telling me what to do didn't know. On the Tuesday and Wednesday she still hadn't told me anything - the other teachers could see that I was bored stiff so some of them invited me to observe their lessons.
    On the Thursday morning the HoD told me "You've got sixth grade next lesson - you haven't got anything prepared, have you?" Well guessed - if you're only going to give me ten minutes' notice, I'm not particularly likely to have. She gave me the vaguest possible indication of the level of prior knowledge the kids were likely to possess, and somehow I managed to blag my way through the lesson. It didn't help that my watch had ceased functioning the day after I arrived, I hadn't found anywhere to obtain a new one and there was no clock in the classroom - so I had no idea when the bell was going to go, and having got through things fairly quickly (it turned out that their English was rather better than I'd been told to expect) I was desperately trying to stretch out proceedings until it did.
  2. First day, first lesson as a qualified teacher, back in 1996, was "how to use the bunsen burner safely" with Year 7s.
    I fumbled, the pipe fell off an already-lit bunsen, and a large ball of flame shot up my arm and past my ear. I may have said a rude word.
    The next lesson with that class, practising lab skills by boiling water and measuring the temperature, you have never heard so much tinkling of glassware held gingerly in trembling hands.

  3. Hi! I remember my first lesson, it was only last year but it still seems like yesterday! [​IMG] I was so nervous but as everyone said if you've got your lesson plan, you'll get through it.
    At first, I was shaking and so nervous but after the few first minutes you just forget, "play" the teacher and do your lesson! I was also observed by my mentor, who gave me the mark "very good" for a first lesson!!!
    So if I could do it, you'll be fine, the first lesson usually goes really well, just do your best!
    I wish you all the best
  4. I have now been teaching 34 years. In my first school , on the advice of the Head ( known to the kids as "The Fuhrer" ), who advised "Don't smile til xmas" I went in, all guns blazing and read the "Riot Act " to a very low set , telling them the RULES of my classroom. After some minutes, a slobby, hormonal youth, liftedhis head off the desk and uttered " Hey Miss, we ain't in Kelty!" Point taken, Kelty was some 15 miles south and I learned straight off, NOT to shout. I've carried this all these years and will never forget!!
  5. My first lesson was in 1989, at a
    private girls' school. I was replacing a teacher who was on
    maternity leave. I was part-way through a computer degree and had
    had no teacher training and no experience in a classroom, had had no
    experience with the language Basic which I was supposed to teach, but
    had heard about the position and the school was desperate enough to
    take me on.

    I prepared as best I could with the
    skimpy background I was given by the Head pof Department, and on the
    first day I entered the classroom with a panicking calmness. Thirty
    pairs of eyes watched me. There was no name calling, no thrown
    chairs, no running around the classroom, which I encounter frequently
    these days in the rough government schools in which I teach.

    I walked slowly to the front desk to
    give myself time to remember what I had panned to say. Upon arrival
    I still hadn't remembered, so I stood there, looking at the girls,
    who looked back curiously. Eventually I opened my mouth, and nothing
    came out.

    I closed it again, and contnued to
    stand there, watching and being watrched. It felt like several
    minutes but probably was only a few seconds. I tried again, and this
    time I managed to say,

    'Good morning, girls. My name is Mrs
    Tasmanianlily'. And we were off.

    I don't remember how the lesson went.
    I think it must have been alright or I might never have gone into a
    classroom again.

  6. First year teaching placement, art lesson with 33 year 6 children. (I'm graduating in July)
    Took the whole lesson for the first time and was very nervous but absolutly loved it. Timing was a bit off but apart from that I enjoyed it, they enjoyed it, the class teacher enjoyed it, result!
  7. Can't honestly remember my first lesson (well, it was back in 1975 or so), but I vividly remember the first registration with my form (a Year 9 - well, we called them '3rd Year' in those days) of nice but giggly girls. The school was a girls' school 'paired' with a boys' school next door: the boys' and girls' playgrounds abutted, and the quickest way from the Tube station was to cross them both - a slightly fraught action, since the former had boys rushing around playing football.
    I entered the form room and thought I'd break the ice. "Hi," I said. "I'm your new form teacher, Miss Goldwater, and I'm really pleased to meet you all. Actually, I thought I might not make it this morning - I had to cross the boys' playground, and there were balls whizzing all over the place."
    Collapse of entire form. I don't think I've ever blushed so much in a classroom.

  8. Thankyou for this, it really tickled me!
  9. <font size="2">I am a Cover Supervisor so not sure if I count, but my first lesson was year 10 Science, middle set at the beginning of this school year. I had been observing lessons for a week and was itching to take one. We were promised that we would only have year 7 and 8 for the first few weeks so it was a bit of a shock to be presented with this much older and rather loud class of girls.</font><font size="2">The cover work was sparse, 'read these two pages, answer questions 5-15 on page X' I was very nervous having never taken a class before and not knowing anything much about biology, but I had the fact that the girls didn&rsquo;t know me on my side, I walked in looking as confident as a man who had already taken the lesson and was merely reminiscing about how well it had gone, and loudly (too loudly) explained what we were going to do. I decided to turn the reading and writing exercise into a quiz and offered house points to the winning team. It all went really well and I was so pleased with myself. A few weeks later I covered a form of year 9s who ran complete rings around me, singing, shouting, jumping, all next to the assistant head's office, she came in and read them the riot act, then read me the riot act and made me feel just as naughty as them. Since then I have never let a good lesson go to my head, behaviour management is a constant struggle in a school where 'cover lesson' is code for 'extra hour of play time'.</font>
  10. My first post was in a fairly difficult school. Year 8 class, only boys (not enough girls). I said my name, they took 1 look at me and ALL of them jumped on the tables, stamping their feet and pointed at me shouting:"A mouse, a mouse". Great. I survived that lesson and a whole year in the school, ended up loving it.
  11. I remember a student teacher in secondary school, who was about to be watched.

    He told us that if we knew the answer, to put up our right hand, and if we didn't to put up our left hand.

  12. Don't do what a teacher did in my secondary school when I was a pupil, during registration....never forgotten it.

    Aggressivelty told one small boy to stand up "when I'm speaking to you"...when he already was!
    Told girl off when she said her name was Elizabeth Taylor.....he said "very funny, now what's your real name?". Elizabeth Taylor was her real name.
  13. Final teaching practice in a special school in 1981 being watched by assessor, we were making bread rolls.

    Small boy, having kneeded (?) the dough, looked up and said "Look miss, my warts have come off". We didn't eat them.

  14. My very first lesson was year 11 Maths, second from bottom set, "circles; an introduction to pi". Fresh out of uni, I wanted to make the lesson fun and hands on, so I took with me a large selection of circular objects, string and rulers. It wasn't long before the various sized plates and jar lids became frisbies and the smallest child in the room was tied to a chair! Needless to say, next lesson we did book work! Don't try to be their friend; be the boss!
  15. I suppose my "first lesson" would be considered to be the first one that I taught from beginning to end, using my own lesson plan, following the scheme of work set by the head of the maths department, who was my observer and mentor. I had already had experience as a college lecturer and a private tutor by then.
    I was very uncomfortable when I taught the class - to the extent that I started asking myself when it was over if I really wanted to teach. I knew even as I was teaching the class that something wasn't quite right - it was if I was just an actor, delivering lines, and not getting the responses back that the script said I was supposed to get.
    I now know that my problem was that in teacher training you are given the impression that you have to get the lesson plan "just right" before you can start teaching the class. When I reviewed the lesson afterwards with my mentor, he said something that I now remind myself every time I teach a class - "it's not about YOU, it's about THEM".
    What they should tell every teacher in training is that they will NEVER get the lesson plan "just right". In fact, real teachers have two lesson plans. The first one is the one they show OFSTED - that shows what they would like to happen in class, and what they havedone to prepare for that event. The second one is made up on the spot, in response to the pupil's needs.
    In other words, it is impossible for a student teacher to come into a classroom and deliver a "perfect lesson" based on a "perfect lesson plan". The best lesson they can give is the one where they are responding to pupil needs as best as they can.
    This was confirmed for me when I started covering for maths teachers, and found the set work was either missing, inadequate, or irrelevant - and I taught the class something they didn't know. Which is the whole point of being a teacher.
    The first step that I had to do was to find out "what do they know", the second step was to find out "what are they supposed to know", the third step was to find out "do they know this", and the fourth step was to find out "if they know this, what should they be doing next", or "if they don't know this - how should I teach it to them".
    Teacher training often makes it sound like the difficult part is the fourth step, and that only cover teachers have to worry about the first three steps. For me, however, in a subject like maths the first three steps are essential, but often forgotten by even experienced teachers. I suggest this is true even for "non-linear" subjects - where you don't need to know "A" to be taught "B".
    If you have imagination, a love of your subject, and a good rapport with pupils the fourth step is easy, and it is even easier if your scheme of work and improvised lesson plan follows a textbook, or other resource, that can break up the class into "bite size" components, allow for feedback, and allow for signalling.
    It is for this reson I envy teachers of "non-linear" subject, because they really have no excuse in not making their lessons interesting. A high school maths teacher might be able to make probability more intereting by branching off (literally) into fractal, but for us it is much more important to get the first three steps right first, which often leaves us little time to inspire the pupils who find maths boring i.e. most of them into not only comprehending the new concept but also appreciating it.
  16. Wrong.
    Be a "friend" that tells these adults of 16 that if they behave like children, they will have to write a essay for homework on why they find maths so boring that they have to behave like children. Be a "friend" that tells these adults of 16 that however if they behave like adults that you will continue to make maths as interesting and relevant as possible for them. Be a "friend" that tells them that it is shameful that so many of them don't even know "pi" in year 11, and that you will try to expunge that shame.
    Be a "friend" that tells them the probable reason why they don't know "pi" in year 11 is because they weren't paying attention, because statistically most of them are of average intelligence, "pi" is taught in primary school, and "pi" is not difficult to understand.
    Adults of 16 don't need a "boss". They need a role model, someone to show them the "scientific method" (measuring circumferences and diameters with a string and coming up with a hypothesis), and someone to explain to them just exactly how "pi" is relevant to their lives. The last bit isn't easy I admit - but you could always remind them that adults shouldn't behave like children, and they could always give you the same chance to earn their respect that you give them.
  17. Casting my mind back a VERY long way - forty years! (I am retired now..) It was in a gels' grammar school. In the staff room before the day even started, I sat in the head of German's chair in the staff room (a cardinal sin in those days), then sat in the deputy head's chair in Assembly and was shunted unceremoniously into a lesser place. On the way to the classroom for the first lesson, I fell over in the corridor, because I was wearing new slippery shoes and the corridors had been polished to a high gloss. Given I was wearing a miniskirt I showed the world my knickers.
    Teaching the class was a doddle after that (given this was in the days when my entire lesson preparation was probably Read Chapter 1) except that I caught my wristwatch strap in my new necklace and the class was punctuated by the sound of small beads dripping one by one onto the desk...
  18. My induction to teaching was a teacher showing me how to take the register and the Deputy giving me a book and said this is your diary, I thought it was strange that there were no dates in the 'diary' but went on to jot things down, dates, notes etc only to be asked a few weeks later why I hadn't handed in my diary (which actaully was a book to record half term overview of what you expected to teach!) The first lesson itself was with a Junior 4 class (now known as Year 6 - 1980 was the year) My first lesson was.......write about yourself, how creative was I !!! All children were working quietly with me wandering around trying to act the part. All went well til one girl asked me to spell the name of the place where her penfriend came from.....Massachusetts (had to google it now to check spellings!) "Oh let's look in an atlas together," I remember my mentor observing a PE lesson, which he thought showed good discipline but he wanted to do an example lesson for me to watch.......All kids changed, went to Hall....one piece of equipment in middle of Hall, the horse, and the mentor began to demonstrate himself!!!! several times, kids watched then had one go each in turn. End of lesson!!!
  19. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Ha, I've been teaching 22 years and still cannot aim low enough when meeting a class for the first time. Obviously am a hopeless optimist and always assume kids have actually remembered stuff they were taught the previous year!
  20. I'm a Cover Supervisor (so I'm expecting most people to discount my contribution straight away...).
    Anyway, when I started last September, I spent the first few weeks 'shadowing' other CS's and teachers. The first class I was given to have on my own was an all boys low ability group. Within 2 minutes of walking into the room, 1 boy had asked another why he was sat in 'his seat' - this instantly escalated into a huge fist fight, with blood everywhere, a boy in a headlock in the corner of the room, a fist cut open, a face cut open...!
    However, I survived, the boys were taken off to first aid / the HT, and I had to stay with the rest of the group for the remaining 60 minutes trying to keep them on task and to keep discussion of the fight to a minimum!

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