I would arrive at the school at 7:05 in the morning to attend the morning assembly. Students from Grade 4 to 6 would be sitting down in their respective class assigned spaces and have silent reading until the morning announcements starts. At 7:30, students would file into their classroom and class would begin.
In Singapore, I was not specifically assigned a classroom to observe, however, I was still able to observe 2-3 hours of class time with two different teachers. A typical one period starts with the students chatting until the teacher walks in. They would rise up and greet their teacher, and can only be seated after the teacher greets back. Since I mostly observed English periods, the students would have 10 minutes of silent reading, as the teacher sets up her Powerpoints. The teacher lectures from the Powerpoints, which usually ties in with their textbook. They would then open their activity book and complete a section based from the main ideas from the Powerpoints. If they do not finish the assignment before the period ends, the assignment would need to be finished in addition to homework assigned. When the bell rings, the students pack up and get ready for their next lesson. They would rise up and thank the teacher before the she heads out of the classroom. Periods would be quite repetitive and they mainly work from their textbook, activity book, and homework book.
Eight out of the ten days that I was at the primary school were typical. One day was Sports Day where we were able to journey outside of the school to a field where students competed in relays and runs. Another not so typical day was when my main CT called in for a personal day on April 6th.
A not-so-typical day at Pioneer Primary School.
On that day, I substituted a class, where in Singapore, it is called relief. For the first two periods, which was a total of one hour long, I was able to retain control of the class. It made me realize how much I wanted my own classroom. The students were assigned work from my main CT and they were completing it.
However, I also had to relief a class for one and a half hours in the afternoon. It was the same class and they just had recess. They were all very active. It was quite difficult to control them since most of them had finished their work. I tried using some management techniques I had seen my main CT, such as raising my hand, to get their attention. I soon realized that it was just too difficult for me. I had to control 40 students, keep them in their seats, keep them quiet, and have them finish their work. I felt like I was going crazy. This one student was driving me nuts. I was getting such a huge headache from him. I tried using my stern voice and asked him to finish his work, to sit down, to stop talking, to stop sitting on the floor, to stop playing with his paper toy, to stop drawing on his card, to stop hopping around, to stop running around the classroom. I was getting so frustrated and I did not know what to do. I still need to learn many classroom management techniques to get the students to listen to me.
Another relief teacher stepped in and helped me calm down the class. They continued with their assigned work. The bell rang and it was time for the next period. I went back to my desk, reflecting on what I did in the classroom. I still have lots to learn, but that experience definitely gave me a small glimpse of my future classroom.