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Eleventh grade – funnily enough I just wrote a poem about my 11th grade year and how challenging it was. Today I ended up teaching a poetry class to a group of 11th graders and it was quite challenging. I don’t think I could be a high school teacher. I will stick to elementary school or college classes from now on! But I am proud that I survived and that I forced myself to do something outside my comfort zone.

My friend asked me to be a guest speaker to her haiku/drawing class. She knew I had done a web lesson on writing traditional haiku, so she asked if I would share my lesson with them and talk about the website. I didn’t fully realize what I was getting into at the time. I ended up talking to 11th graders on their last day of class before summer break. Worse, before class she warned me that the previous class she’d had to write up three of them for behavior issues, so she wasn’t sure how they’d be today. And worser, the cable connector to the projection system didn’t fit my computer, so my demonstration of my web lesson had to be done without the web lesson.

That being said, it went okay. There were some negatives – two girls giggled and one boy doodled thoughout my presentation, but at least that wasn’t disruptive. One boy actually laughed out loud in reaction to the girl sitting next to him then ran out of the room. That was weird. I kept talking, but I happened to be talking about a “haiku walk” and using all your senses to take in what was happening around you, so I kind of waved toward the door he’d just exited through implying there was definitely something going on around us right now. I am really super out-of-practice teaching and out-of-practice with public speaking, so I wasn’t sure how to handle it, and it made me feel really lame. My friend followed him out to “talk to him.” Apparently he was one of the three that she wrote up last week, so at least it wasn’t specifically me and my lesson.

On the positive side, most of them were making eye contact with me. Some of them were nodding and smiling at appropriate times. I got a few laughs at moments when I intended there to be laughter. Although I wish they had talked more, when I asked questions to encourage participation or comments someone always gave an answer. I felt a little desperate up there winging it without my website, so I wasn’t sure if they were answering because they were interested or because they were taking pity on me! It was usually the same people answering, but not always, so that was good. My voice got stronger as I went along. My breaking-up-into-groups activity worked well. The groups actually wrote haiku that fit my instructions, one of which was truly lovely. They were interested in the Poki I handed out for completing the task and the girls that wrote the gorgeous haiku were happy and giggled when I gave them additional candy (Smarties). They giggled again when I called them my Smarties when it was their turn to share their poem. So there were some definite wonderful moments.

I am so happy I had illustrated some of my haiku for fun the week before my presentation. Her class was half-drawing and half-haiku, which I thought lovely so I decided to try my hand at it. I didn’t intend to share the results with the class; I brought them to show my friend and giggle over my poor artistic skills. Turns out they were a godsend because it meant I had something colorful I could hold up and use as examples for the different elements of haiku discussed in my lesson.

All in all, I wish they had all thrown flower petals and said this was a life changing experience for them – but I am thinking I didn’t make a complete fool of myself. Patty said I could take my lesson on the road and that they were engaged, so I guess I did well. I feel a bit disappointed in myself for being shaky and not getting the computer working and having that kid walk out, but I think for never having done this topic before, having to wing it with techno issues, and it being the last day of class that maybe things went better than I thought they did, and I’m just being too hard on myself. If I was hoping to be showered with flower petals, that may have been too high of expectations. And I probably should have brought flower petals.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)
Gosh, he just walked out? I believe, that as a teacher i would have taken an issue with that. Especially if I had a guest in my classroom.
Sounds like you did great though! ESPECIALLY since it was the day before their break! Their minds were probably gone weeks ago.

Good job girl! =o)
May. 25th, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
Apparently he ran off on her last Thursday, too. I'm sure he got quite a talking to outside!! Had it been my classroom I'd have gone after him, but as the "guest speaker" I didn't want to leave the rest of the class. I do wish I had thought up some kind of snappy yet professional comment. I didn't know the kids well enough to go with snappy and unprofessional!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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