While not specifically required of an international practicum, I knew before coming abroad that I would want to try teaching lessons abroad. Thankfully, my CT this semester has been extremely helpful and accommodating, allowing me to teach two lessons thus far, with a third coming soon.
Both lessons I taught at ISL introduced new challenges for me in my student teaching career, though not necessarily because of the cultural differences of a different country. Firstly, I only stay at ISL for one grade's English class, as opposed to remaining at the school for the entire day like I did last semester. Not only do I not see the same lesson taught multiple times like I did last semester, but I also have split my days between two grade levels, meaning that with two days left, I have only seen the 10th graders twice and the second time I met with them, I taught the lesson. Having to teach to students I barely know seems extremely difficult, but I cannot help but feel that it's like taking the practicum training wheels off, since I will be teaching students I've never met before on every first day of school.
The school itself also supplied me with new challenges. At ISL, there are 35 minute blocks and the class periods I have shadowed have been one, two, or three blocks long. My first lesson, to the 11th graders, was three blocks long, lasting a whopping one hour and 45 minutes. My second lesson, demanding in its own way, was one block long and lasted only 35 minutes. Considering all my previous lessons were somewhere around 50 minutes to an hour long, dealing with new time constraints while maximizing time and keeping students engaged was a challenge I'm not sure I met.
For my first lesson, the longer one, I was introducing a discussion of the second generation of characters in Wuthering Heights. I began the lesson asking students to brainstorm characteristics and quotations of both first and second generation characters and then asking them to join a discussion comparing first and second generation characters. Then, utilizing a previous assignment that my CT had given students, I asked a student who had compiled notes on the second generation's Catherine to share with the class, while others took notes. Finally, I introduced a writing prompt, asking students to plan a three paragraph essay and then write one of the paragraphs.
For the first lesson, the beginning half went extremely well, as students began to open up with the informal discussion and were given ample time to write down things that they could then suggest in discussion. However, the students were confused by the writing prompt and definitely would have benefitted from an example. I did realize their confusion and I both reiterated the instructions to the class as a whole as well as working with almost all students one on one to develop their own ideas. I had intended for students to grade each others' paragraphs in class, but because time ran over, they ended up taking each others' paragraphs home to grade for homework. If I were going to teach these students again, I would try to incorporate paragraph writing as well, but with more emphasis on what will be required of them for IB tests and in a more straightforward and example-based manner.