Today my field supervisor came into the first grade classroom I am interning in to observe me officially for the first time. It was during a time in which I was running a small reading group. I had known she was coming and so I had written up a lesson plan for her. She is a very nice lady, a former teacher and administrator but being observed in an official capacity did have me a little on edge.
That was until I started the reading group. My field supervisor showed up when I was less than a minute into it. I knew she was there and even acknowledged her with a hello and a smile, but my focus was on my students.
In this particular group there are six students. It is a leveled group, meaning that they are are all reading at about the same instructional level. They may have the same ability when it comes to reading but in other areas such as paying attention, following direction, staying on task, and speed at which they can complete certain simple writing tasks that go along with the reading, they vary greatly. It is a challenge to keep them together, focused, and engaged. It is rather like herding cats through a cornfield littered with fat mice to chase and expecting them to come out the other side as fluent at The Cat in the Hat himself with not a trace of mouse on their whiskers or breath.
After thirty minutes with this group, I usually feel like I could have done better, as if I spent more time redirecting, and correcting than teaching them how to read. I have talked about this with my mentor teacher a couple times for I almost never feel fully settled after running one of these reading groups. She has assured me that I am doing a great job and so I press on hoping it is me and that my comfort level will improve soon.
I was nervous and did not know what to expect after I dismissed the students and walked over to my supervisor. I did not have much time to talk as I had one more reading group to lead – a small group of three students who are reading well above grade level and are currently on their fifth or sixth book chapter book of the year. My supervisor decided to stay for another half hour and observe this group as well.
Once that group was done and all the students had headed out for recess, we debriefed. My field supervisor told me that, had she not known my situation, she would not have picked me out as a student teacher. Whoa. I really could not ask for a better review than that.
So if I look like a teacher on the outside, why don’t I feel grounded and teacher-like on the inside?