Mississippi Teacher Corps

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Watching myself on tape

This past week, I videotaped (well, more like I had Hunter videotape) one of my lessons. I was surprised to find that watching the tape the next day actually didn't give me much new information about my teaching, which I suppose is a testiment to my self-awareness and to my mentor's attentiveness. Watching the tape, I could tell that there was a little too much chatter going on in the classroom, but that's not news to me; it's no secret that I've had some difficulty with classroom management this summer, and the level of off-topic talking in the class is the most common manifestation of my shortcomings in management. I spoke to the students clearly while teaching, and liked the way that I used hand gestures when I talked. The one thing that I noticed while watching the tape that I hadn't thought about before was my body language while I'm waiting for students to work through practice problems. I did a pretty good job of circulating around the room during this instructional down-time, which gave me an opportunity to remind students to get back on task if they were playing around, and also allowed me to answer questions and give a little one-on-one attention to the students who asked for it. Of course, I don't need to walk around the whole time students are working on problems, so I have very short periods of time where I just stand near the overhead projector and wait. I noticed on the tape that I should really work on my body language during these times. I slumped forward too much, and I ended up doing random things with my hands (running them along the table, picking up markers, etc.) that had no purpose. I want to work on both of these things; I think I'll look a lot more serious and purposeful if I stand up straight, look around the classroom, and stop playing with my hands in a useless manner. On the positive side, I was feeling sort of overwhelmed the day I taped myself; I was teaching all 4 periods that day, I'd woken up feeling fairly sick and continued to feel yucky once I got to school, I had been informed earlier that day that Joe Sweeney would be stopping by to observe me on that day, and I was feeling less positive overall because my past few days of teaching had not gone very well. However, when I saw myself on tape, I appeared much more comfortable and together than I actually felt at the time.


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