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Totally screwed up lesson - any hope?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Mandy27, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. Despite preparing for over 20 hours, I managed to totally screw up my first full A level science lesson (double) which happened to be in front of the HoD. I lost the students, a couple asked me completely unexpected questions that I couldn't answer satisfactorily on the hoof and I waffled and waved my hands. (It was a subject which I learnt a completely different way when I was at school/uni. so was trying to get my head round teaching it according to the syllabus). I felt physically sick afterwards. Questions I had thought they would ask and had prepared answers for didn't come up.



    I've applied for a job at the school for my NQT year - do you think I've got any chance now? It was my second lesson on this placement - the one I taught before was only 30 minutes and got good feedback from the class teacher.
     
  2. Despite preparing for over 20 hours, I managed to totally screw up my first full A level science lesson (double) which happened to be in front of the HoD. I lost the students, a couple asked me completely unexpected questions that I couldn't answer satisfactorily on the hoof and I waffled and waved my hands. (It was a subject which I learnt a completely different way when I was at school/uni. so was trying to get my head round teaching it according to the syllabus). I felt physically sick afterwards. Questions I had thought they would ask and had prepared answers for didn't come up.



    I've applied for a job at the school for my NQT year - do you think I've got any chance now? It was my second lesson on this placement - the one I taught before was only 30 minutes and got good feedback from the class teacher.
     
  3. Slippersandagoodbook

    Slippersandagoodbook New commenter

    If, across your entire placement, you deliver consistently good lessons where the children clearly make progress then of course you still have a very good chance of getting a job at the school.
    All teachers have bad lessons. Goodness only knows how badly most people's second lessons went! Give yourself a break - if they are reasonable then they won't be expecting perfection straight away.
    You possibly overprepared for the lesson - 20 hours is a long time! If you needed ALL that time to get to the point where you were happy to teach then that's fine but I would be surprised if that was the case.
    Learn from what went wrong in this lesson but try to also keep in your mind some of the positive feedback you got from your first lesson.
     
  4. RGJM2012

    RGJM2012 New commenter

    Try not to dwell on it. I have had similar situations during my first placement and pulling myself to bits over a bad observation definitely had an impact on my teaching. It went a bit wrong. It happens. I am currently planning for a lesson on probability which I think will go horribly wrong but I will go with it and have my fingers firmly crossed! I'm in to my second placement now and have accepted that at times it will go horribly wrong!
    Have you had the official feedback from the HoD? If so go to him/her and ask how can I improve? What would you have done in a similar situation? etc etc Did they say your planning and differentiation was ok? If not, again ASK. As a GTP I felt like I should know everything from day one, some of the staff I came across thought that too but most, luckily including my mentors, knew that I was still learning, through asking for guidance you can set yourself personal targets for your CPD time, now that has to look good doesn't it? You're willing to reflect and learn based on advice given, surely that is what they'll be looking for. I have observed lessons when I was looking to apply for the GTP and seen teachers who have been in the job years have the occasional bad lesson, one lesson actually got stopped half way through and he changed what they were doing completely because it was falling to bits! You're only human. You are still training and the mentors, HoD etc are there to guide and give advice. Take the bull by the horns and go and speak to the HoD if it makes you feel better, get it out there that you know it went wrong! Tell them what you would do to improve if you were to repeat that lesson, show initiative and a willingness to accept criticism because I'm pretty sure come September we'll all be having to take plenty of it, and it probably won't be delivered in as nice as way as this year! [​IMG]
    Kids will always blindside you with a question you can't answer when someone is observing (I recently got asked if I'd ever had a Jaager-bomb half way through a maths lesson! not really the same thing but the stare from the Uni tutor observing let me know she was listening carefully at my answer!) and that pause between them asking and you answering feels like an eternity, but I was once told by a friend who teaches that if you don't know the answer be honest and say 'I am not 100% sure on the answer to that one, lets find out together', I suppose you could get the whole class on the case, make a debate out of it or set it for homework but there is always a way to swing it back round to a positive.
    Being a trainee teacher has to be the hardest thing I have ever embarked on, I am currently sat surrounded by bits of paper and no idea where to begin for next weeks numeracy planning (I'm KS2 by the way). I am tired constantly and regularly feel 'got at' but then I just have to remember that it won't always be like this and that it isn't personal, the mentors and tutors are just trying to turn us in to the best teachers we can be. If your HoD is approachable then I say go for it, get it out there and see what they say, better than dwelling on it and letting it eat you up.

    Just think, only 23 weeks til the summer holidays [​IMG] so chin up.

    RGJM xx



     
  5. Thanks :)



    Yes, I spoke to HoD afterwards. He said he will teach the next lesson with them while I observe and then I will pick up the topic again. They are a nice small group so he is going to try and winkle out from them where I went wrong in their eyes!



    Given the questions the students asked, I would teach it completely differently and start in a completely different place if I could do it again, but that way is almost opposite to the order in which the syllabus and the textbooks do it (though it covers the same ground). I just think that the students would understand it more easily from that direction.



    Maybe I should have the courage of my convictions? Btw the HoD had never taught that topic before either so when I went over my plan with him, he was happy with it.



    I know I spend too long planning but I don't seem able to cut that down at all and still cater for all the differentiation, think of everything that might get asked. I even use resources from here and the internet that seem to be almost complete lessons! Still takes me hours.
     
  6. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    The syllabus tells you what to teach, not the order in which to teach it. If you think it's more logical to do it another way, try it that way. Textbooks aren't the be all and end all either, so you shouldn't feel that you have to follow them slavishly.
    In my experience, you never will! There's always a genuis who moves the learning on past anything you ever expected, or someone who gets so confused that they need you to back 50 steps. You can't expect to have a list of all of the possible questions and answers, and it is okay to say "I don't know". Last time I observed an A Level lesson, the trainee referred a question to me. Now, she SHOULD have known the answer, but better that she passed it on than gave them the wrong information. Had I not been there, she would have been fine to say "I don't know, but I'll find out for next time" As long as you do, that's fine.
    When you say "all the differentiation" - what do you mean?
     


  7. Well, HoD had given me a heads up about the ability range so I was trying to cater for all, most and a few.


    Also for VAK preferences and also thinking/doing concrete/abstract learning styles. I guess it was too much for one lesson. I think because it was my first full-length double science lesson at A level standard, and only my second on the placement I wanted to do it 'perfectly' and it was hot on the heels of my job application, it ended up quite the opposite.



    Maybe I will work out a plan for how I would teach it again if it were possible and see what he thinks about it and discuss with the main teacher for the subject as well (who is very helpful) and just try and put it behind me. I know he has got a lot more important things to worry about than one duff lesson by me and I can't undo what I did by worrying!


     

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