During my final day at Beechen Cliff, I taught two lessons. The first was
observed and for a class of Year 7 students, and the second was with a small group
of Year 10 students. Both lessons went well overall, but there were definitely some
things I would have done with the Year 10 students if I had more time or was better
about spending the time I did have. The Year 7 lesson went smoothly, but I wish I
spent more time on the first part of the lesson than I did. With both of these lessons,
I have learned yet again the importance of time management. When I have taught
lessons in the past, I have had a problem with not having enough planned for the
class period, and rushing through certain activities. This semester, I think I have
gotten better about structuring my lessons. Now I just need to work on figuring out
exactly how much time I should spend on each segment—specifically trying to
spend more time on the important elements of the lesson, and less on the activities
that are less substantial.
I have really enjoyed student teaching at Beechen Cliff overall. All of the
English teachers were very welcoming, and they engaged in conversations about
teaching and my past experiences in schools often. In my past prepractica, I spent a
lot of my break time with either my supervisor or the other student teachers.
However, in this time around, I ate lunch in the English department’s staff room, and
therefore was able to interact with the teachers and listen to some of their thoughts
about teaching and Beechen Cliff as a school. It seems like a lot of the teachers are
happy at Beechen Cliff and enjoy teaching the students there. A few have mentioned
to me that they wished they had more freedom in their curriculum planning. It
seems that many find the National Curriculum a little rigid, and aren’t happy with
the extent that they have to teach to the GCSEs.
I have also really enjoyed working with the students at Beechen Cliff for the
most part. Many of the students are very insightful, and several of them are very
funny when they strike up a conversation with me about Compton, the Red Sox, and
Donald Trump. They have a lot of really interesting things to say, but I wonder if
they are not engaged by the way some of the teachers instruct the material. Many of
the teachers tend to deliver their lessons and only ask students to copy things down
or write for an extended period of time. I think the students find group work
stimulating, as well as projects, but I rarely see this in classes.
Beechen Cliff was an insightful experience for me because I got to not only
witness a British school, but also an all boys school. I have enjoyed exploring the
implications of both.