Piloting the Class

In my observations, one teacher in particular stood out to me.  Miss Fitzsimons has been teaching English for the last 10 years.  For the opening of her class, she had 15 minutes of silent reading (the kids could read any book). She mentioned to me that if I wanted, I could wander around the halls during this time since much wouldn’t be happening but reading. I opted to stay because if she really was good with classroom management then her kids would not make a peep. I also found out that  a couple of basketball games were going on during this period and several teachers were taking their kids down to the gym. Miss Fitzsimons, however, could not afford to fall behind in her class. Now the kids were somewhat miffed that they were missing most of the ball game. However, they knew what their teacher expected and when quiet reading time came, the room fell dead silent (except for occasional ‘peeps). To say the least, I was impressed with out she handled the opening. While the kids were reading, she took  attendance  and made any last minute preparations.

During the middle of the class, the teacher mainly focused on reading the beginning of Shakespeare. The way she kept the kids under control and well-managed was to split the parts of the play between the class (it was a small class).  The students had to write down not only the part they were playing but the parts of all their other students which kept everyone accountable. She slowly had the kids read their lines while she explained difficult parts of the play. She described herself as a guide for the kids walking through a literary “jungle.” This helped the kids understand. She also explained the humor of Shakespeare. Since it was somewhat dirty humor (what else do you expect from Shakespeare?) the students (especially the boys) were kept amused and thus out of trouble.  Only towards the end could one tell that the students were tiring of reading Shakespeare.

To close out the lesson, Miss Fitzimons planned on showing the beginning of a movie of Romeo and Juliet. Netflix decided to quit streaming that particular video. For a moment, she tried to fidget and figure out a way to play the beginning of the play. The kids became distracted. She managed to pull it back together by having the students make a drawing of their choice as long as it had to do with some part of the play they had read that day. That ended the class on a good note (class management wise.)

Miss Fitzsimons did a great job, I thought, even though she had to improvise at the end of her lesson.  I think the three transitions I saw her do well were transitioning from the kids coming in to silent reading, the transition into reading Shakespeare, and of course transitioning at the end. I could tell she planned out her entire lesson. She did not leave any dead time for the students to act up or cause disruptions. She definitely kept them in active learning for the majority of the class period. I think as a potential English teacher. I liked the idea of silent reading at the beginning of class. It allows the students to pick a book of their choice  (supporting fluent reading). If you can  successfully  have your kids silent for the entire time, it is a good indicator they respect you and you have respect for them by letting them choose their materials.