Wednesdays are getting more and more comfortable. As confidence grows, presenting my lesson is able to reach more of a goal then just, “keep them engaged enough to get through this lesson!!” Today, I taught grade 7/8 boys about support and mental illness. They are on a mental health unit with a presentation assignment coming up on a specific mental illness. My coop had suggested I pick a specific mental illness and give a description and list some symptoms and some facts. This was meant to kind of give them an example of what their presentation might look like. I went through the curriculum and found a grade 7 and a grade 8 outcome that had an emphasis on the idea of support and what that might look like when looking at mental health. So i decided to take that approach, and I am very pleased with the outcome of both the presentation of my lesson and the outcome, however, I will outline some things that I would change if I could do it again.
The boys and girls in my coops class and another class split up for health and physical education. After picking names with Kelly, I had the pleasant opportunity to teach my lesson to the boys (that was supposed to be sarcastic because they are known to be a “handful”).We both taught health, and I decided to give my lesson on Bipolar II and assess what the students knew about what it means to support someone with a mental illness, and more specially, bipolar. I am not going to lie, I was nervous to teach the boys because of my preconceived notion of the management issues I may encounter. I anticipated using my “teacher voice,” and maybe showing a side of me they have not seen yet. Much to my surprise, they could not have behaved better.
I started with a word map writing the word, “support.” Many of the students participated as I asked them what comes to mind looking at this word. There were some responses like, “help”, “back-up”, and “being there for friends and family”, but I specially liked the response, “holding up a building”. I knew I needed to move on with my lesson, so I extensively regret not spending more time on their responses, because we could have engaged in some great discussion! That is definitely something I will note for next time.
Throughout my lesson, although the timing was good and the content seemed to be understood, I still have yet to be fully comfortable and confident. Yes, this is growing each week, but I need to remind myself to slow down and ensure the quality of my teaching. Overall, at the end of the day, I am again so grateful and happy I have chosen this profession. Seeing the students engaged and getting insightful answers was so rewarding. I am learning that grade 7/8 students have a lot more to say than I thought they would. Some of their answers and inquiry go beyond what I had imagined which teaches me what kind of content I should be putting in my lessons. I love the fact that as I am teaching them, they are teaching me.