I landed in the middle of one unit and at “GO” of another. Having merely 16 hours of student teaching and six full days in Costa Rica, I planned the second half of one unit and the entirety of another. My official inaugural unit planning began with a conversation with the cooperating teacher for each section (I have two cooperating teachers for Oral English: Laura for sections 9-1 and 9-5, and Viviana for sections 9-2, 9-3, and 9-4—9-1 and 9-5 are half a unit behind). During these discussions, I received the school-mandated workbook (Teacher’s Edition) for 9th grade Oral English. Although I disagree that flipping through a workbook is the best way for students to learn, utilizing the workbook as a guide has helped me, an inexperienced teacher. After thoroughly reading through the preceding and proceeding chapters, I planned.
Knowing the skills that I and the school’s standards insisted the students have by each unit’s end, I outlined the unit beginning with the final assessment—an oral presentation. Having a unit outlined before starting is like having a road trip mapped out. Of course, there is no telling, without the powers of Professor X or Bruce Almighty or Morgan Freeman, which obstacle(s), and when, will reroute the plan. Being prepared—outlining the unit in its entirety beginning with the goal—strengthens the abilities to improvise and to adapt when the inevitable detour impedes the route. I used my own outlining template and the school’s required template. After outlining the unit, I placed it under a microscope and focused on daily lessons. I followed National-Louis University’s lesson plan template.
Having the reins of the classroom responsibilities immediately entrusted to me has helped to provide me with a legitimate teaching—and learning—experience. Although my other two cooperating teachers are assisting me by gradually giving me the classroom responsibilities, I would prefer to have them immediately: learning occurs through practical experience, which is what student teaching is, or should be—not an extension of observation hours. When it comes to the student-teacher acquiring the full responsibilities of the classroom (assuming he/she is ready), sooner equals better.
Next stop: classroom management.
- Having workbook as guide can help
- Outline entirety of unit
- Plan from the goal —> tool application —> tool attainment process —> introduction
- Place unit outline beneath microscope and plan accordingly
- Sooner = Better