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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Typical Day of Teaching in Australia

A typical day of teaching in my second grade Aussie classroom was usually pretty eventful. We would start out each day with the huge class (thirty-two kids) on the front rug. My CT was also acting as deputy principal of the school, so every Thursday she would be absent from the classroom and the full-time student teacher would take over. Either my CT or the full prac would lead the class in a good morning routine, where attendance was taken and they usually played a little game with grammar. A fun example was that each student had to give an adjective of how they were feeling when their name was called for attendance. A few of the students got creative, with adjectives like "fierce" and "contemplative" coming out of these little seven-year-olds' mouths.
Next the class would move on to reading groups. The class was split into leveled groups that were labeled by color, and each group was given a different task for the day. Sometimes it would be work on reading comprehension, sometimes it would be expositions, and sometimes it would be just reading to the teacher. Most days I got to work with Peter and Will, two students who were big misbehavers and who were in the lowest leveled group. This was my favorite thing to do during reading groups, because it was great to see how motivated they were to learn when reading. They had a real interest in making sure they understood the words and passages that we used. Working with them was definitely a highlight of my student teaching experience.
Next was "Crunch n' Sip", when the students would get a healthy snack and listen to each other give short speeches. Each day of the week five students had the opportunity to share with the class about a certain topic. Some weeks they had to share about a set topic and sometimes they got to share whatever they wanted. I was very impressed by the adorable speeches some of these second graders gave to the class.
Next it was time for "maths". The kids would do a variety of things, like worksheets or math games. This was the most difficult time of the day for me. The students were getting restless and it was so close to lunch and recess. A lot of the time the students would be off task, and especially when the entire class got wound up they were very hard to control. I was always glad when the lunch bell went off and I knew that the kids would get to go run around outside for an hour. During lunch I usually went to the faculty lounge and talked with the other Australian teachers. We had some interesting conversations about the differences between American and Australian classrooms, and they were very intrigued by my experiences at home.
When the students came back from lunch, we would work on science or art. Some days we studied famous artists and tried to replicate their work, and sometimes we worked on technology and science. A fun example of that was when the students got to create and then make their own toy.
After a long day it would finally be time for the kids to head home. We would take them downstairs to meet their parents and send them off before another exhausting day!

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