My first lesson, in its almost two hours of length, started strong but did, with the introduction of an activity students were not well-enough prepared for, crumbled a bit at its end. My second lesson, because it was extremely short, did not have the opportunity to get to a stage where it would crumble, but I don't think that it would have had I been given more time.
While the 11th grade is an extremely small and quiet class, with seven students when full and four at the time of my lesson, the 10th grade is slightly larger and a lot chattier. Having an easily distractible class for 35 minutes is far from ideal.
But, as it turns out, I didn't need to worry. The students were reading The Kite Runner and my lesson plan involved reading chapter 17 aloud before assigning small, opinion-based paragraphs for students to write in the remaining time. However, my CT did not cover chapter 16 in the class before, so I ended up editing my lesson plan on the spot (something which, by now, is second nature to me).
I ended up spending most of the class period reading both chapters, not even finishing the second. Because the lesson involved sitting and reading along with me, I had no problems with maintaining my students' attention. However, in order to keep some semblance of a lesson that teaches rather than just reading aloud, I stopped with two minutes to spare, asking students to write down the prompt that they would need to finish three more pages of the novel to fully understand. I told students to finish the prompt for homework, after reading the unfinished three pages, but this caused a bit more confusion because I would not be there to collect the homework and, unknown to me, the 10th grade, unlike the 11th grade, does not usually have homework assignments mid-week. They also do not usually do their readings at home, though my CT took the opportunity to tell students that this would be changing (though even the 11th grade does not read the books during the school week - they are given the books to read over winter break and are expected to have finished them before returning for a second semester).
I'm trying to find a moral to my first two lessons, and ultimately I think that's its just that I didn't know the students and the classroom life very well before planning lessons. I don't think that the unforeseen differences between what I've seen before (as a teacher and a student) necessarily is derivative of the cultural differences between countries, especially since this is an international school that uses the IB program. I think, more than anything, my lack of preparation has to do with the strange schedule I've been meeting with this practicum: I spent a little, concentrated amount of time in the two classrooms and haven't let the students and their classroom habits settle in yet. I also haven't had all the downtime to talk to my CT that a full school day would allow.
Excuses aside, I have one remaining lesson where I will be teaching a poem to the 10th graders. While preparing for it, I'll try to gain more information about the class I'm entering before finalizing a lesson plan.