The following is part two of my post-microteaching reflection. It is definitely long overdue. Therefore, I had kind of forgotten half of the things I'd initially planned to write and this has in turn made me so regretful that I'd written it so late! However, I do hope that there are some learning points to be gathered from (what little of) it.
1. It's people I'm dealing with here!
As I reflected upon my microteaching, my mind couldn't help but recall the part whereby I'd planned to handle Yunbing's self-mutilation after I've given the class an activity to do. However, I never got around to do it as the events that unfolded later had clearly illustrated. I'd foolishly presumed that things would go according to plan. Well, earth-check to Falilah! This is not a static environment you're in here!
I'd forgotten one of the most important aspects of teaching: that the classroom is a highly dynamic environment. This dynamism is spurred by the fact that the active agents presiding in it are people. One with thoughts and emotions. One having an own will to decide what she/he wants and don't want to do. One with the power to act and react to circumstances.
With these factors coming into play, it was definitely complacent of me to assume for even a second that things would go according to plan. In choosing to delay dealing with Yunbing's problem, I'd also overlooked the fact that my delay would not automatically translate into a delay in my students' reaction to the problem.
Therefore, a take home point for me (and I hope all of you as well) is to always remember that we're dealing with people. People = dynamism. Hence, don't assume too much! Do take into account your students' thoughts and reactions to situations.
Importantly, do keep in mind that change is the order in the classroom. I'd expected the situation to remain unchanging till the time I was ready to deal with it. Well, such a fallacy that was.
2. Who says that ignorance is bliss?
I realized that I'd committed a grave error earlier on in my microteaching. I'd chosen to ignore tell-tale signs of Yunbing's problem. In fact, my ignorance didn't just end there. I didn't fully follow up with the incident where Melissa and Yingchian were hiding in the closet. Instead, I'd just briefly questioned them about it and later, tried to continue on with my lesson. No probing whatsoever as to the reason why they were there. Later, when Kaixing came back to the class, I only questioned him and stopped at that. Again, I went on to continue with my lesson.
I find that this choice to ignore what just happened regardless of the reasons why I did that is highly inappropriate on my part. What if the student felt slighted by my ignorance? What if something bad happened to them due to this exact same ignorance? Heck, what if I were to get into trouble due to my ignorance?
When I pondered upon this issue further, I came to the conclusion that I do not want to be in a position whereby something detrimental would befall me or my students as a result of my own ignorance. True, I might be saving myself a lot of headache by choosing to ignore certain issues and problems as it was presented. However, in the long run, I can't just ignore whatever comes my way just because I deem it to be more convenient to do so. Certain things do require one to be more insistent and probe why it is so in order for one to get to the underlying root of the problem.
(At this point, I feel that I'm writing something highly incoherent. I so know that I'm gonna look at it with abhorence when I wake up later. Whatever it is,do pardon my incoherence. It's already 2.20 am at the time that I'm writing this!)
3. Be firm
It had seemed to me that I was really showing my fury at my students and was firm with them during microteaching. However, watching the vcd has brought me to the realization that it apparently wasn't so. In fact, I'd seem kinda soft (the approach I mean, not my emotions) in dealing with their disciplinary problems.
The thing is, I find it hard to unleash my full emotion (anger in the instance of microteaching) to people other than those I'm close to like my family. For instance, whenever I'm angry, I never ever restrain in showing my angered facial expression and tone of voice to people I'm close to. However, I can amazingly show a great deal of restrain and patience in dealing with other people. This is probably because I'm more comfortable at being myself with the former. Also, I usually find it hard to get affected emotionally or react very much to something like anger when it is induced by someone I'm not really close to. Weird reasonings to explain my behavior, I know. Yet, these could probably be the reasons why there are double standards in the way I deal with people.
Anyway, the reason why I mentioned this is because I find that it affects the way I deal with my students. As they are people whom I'm not close to, I find that I too show a great deal of restrain whenever I handle any discipline problems related to them. In a sense, this could be good as I'm indirectly displaying patience. However, patience is not always good. Sometimes, students need to see that you're really angry with them otherwise, they may not take you seriously. If you show too much patience, they may think that you have a high tolerance for discipline problems or worse, have a lackadaisical attitude towards it. As a corollary, they make be inclined to commit more discipline problems as they feel that they won't get into trouble for it. In the end, we as teachers will have a hard time in conducting a proper lesson as students may be up to mischief as and when they please.
Hmm... at the moment, I still am clueless as to how I can resolve this. About the only thing that I can come up with is to try my best to remember not to show too much restrain when the situation requires of it. Be firm when I need to. Show my anger and disapproval when I need to as well.