Book Creator

Reflections on my Teaching Experience Journey

by Caryn Baard






Task 2.1. Reflections on Teaching – Senior Phase
At the commencement of teaching experience, I focused on the Grade 8 and 9 mathematics classes. The first thing that stood out was the variation in teaching approaches by the different Grade 8 maths teachers. It was great that I was able to sit in a variation of classes across these two
grades which are taught by 3-4 different teachers. This provided me with the opportunity to observe different teaching styles and modes of instruction.

A clear standout was the use of direct instruction as the only predominant teaching method in all the classes. Here and there the teachers would incorporate a slightly different teaching strategy but by and large they utilised direct instruction which is appropriate for maths lessons but it became very apparent that I would have a difficult task to make lessons interesting.

I decided to dive right into teaching my first Grade 8 class on the 3rd day of teaching experience as I realised the sooner I get into it the easier it will become. The first lesson was nerve wracking but afterwards I remember feeling both surprised at how much I enjoyed it and proud of my lesson.

As my teaching experience progressed in this phase, I became more comfortable with the students and in my lesson creation and had amazing support from my mentor teacher and the other teachers in the department along the way. The students were very receptive to my lessons as I tried to make them very engaging and I began to enjoy the teaching experience more and more.

I did find difficulty in pacing my lessons in the time frame of the periods. A single period is only 30 minutes and a double is then 70 minutes so trying to ascertain how quickly the students will grasp the concept and how much time is needed to spend on certain sections was somewhat difficult as I did not have the time to understand the students and their abilities like one would have when teaching them from the start of the year.

Coming up with interesting ways of teaching the remaining topics that were left at this point in the syllabus was also a challenge as the topics were very theoretical and difficult to create engaging content on.

As the weeks progressed, I really started to enjoy going to classes and being within the school and teaching environment. The students got to know me and would greet me wherever I walked. They would also ask eagerly at the start of every lesson if I was teaching the lesson, which was affirmation that I was on the right track.

The assessment that I created was based entirely on a section of work that I taught to the Grade 9 students and seeing the results, which directly correlated to their enthusiasm (or lack thereof) in class, with the very eager and diligent students achieving top marks, aided my sense of accomplishment as I could see the results of my teaching. Although I did have to be reminded by my mentor teacher that the low marks are not a result of my teaching but the lack of effort and interest of these students in mathematics.  

I really enjoyed teaching the Senior phase mathematics students and would love to be able to teach Grade 8 students within this phase and try to help encourage them to understand maths better and make the efforts required to continue with maths core to Matric.