Practices in Pedagogy

"To Teach is to Learn Twice Over"

Reflection on Teaching Lesson: “Unpacking Dickinson’s Riddle Poetry”

After teaching this lesson to my critical friends, and having them complete critiques of my lesson, I have come to the realization that certain parts of my lesson should be changed. Two main aspects come to mind in order to create a more efficient, learning-enabling lesson: professionalism in the classroom and time management.

Professionalism, at least in this instance, pertains to how I carry myself in front of students. I often employ unprofessional language when instructing students, a habit that could lead to student disengagement. From saying “umm” multiple times in a single lesson, to referring to students as “you guys,” I present a casual, immature, and unfocused classroom environment. And although I do want students to feel at home in my classroom, I definitely do not want them seeing it as a place where work does not occur. Education is difficult. Learning is time consuming. Personal development is not simple. Therefore, my classroom should be perceived as a place where every person, especially students, is treated as an adult. The “umms” and “you guys” undermines this goal by begin too casual and patronizing. If I feel myself at a loss for words, I will remain silent. If I want to gain the attention of my class, I will refer to them as “ladies and gentlemen” or “class.”

The second main aspect I would like to see improved in my future teaching is time management. From not being fully prepared for my lesson before beginning it (as in the case of necessary paperwork NOT being handed out before the lessons starts), to allowing certain portions of the lesson take way too much time (as in the case of my entry task taking almost 10 minutes), I clearly mismanaged what little, precious time I have with my students. If I were to teach this lesson again, I would undoubtedly make sure all necessary materials are prepared ahead of time, as well as beginning the lesson with a shorter, simpler riddle. That way, we will be able to move on more smoothly into the next portion of the lesson. A shorter riddle will offer students an opportunity to think critically in the same way as the original riddle, but will also streamline the lesson. Instead of planning for only a couple, longer, and more complicated activities, I would like to plan out an overabundance of small, pertinent activities that can be patched together to fit the time restraints of a specific lesson. Therefore, instead of underestimating the amount of time classroom activities will take, I will always be prepared.

In conclusion, I have learned a great deal about my students and myself in teaching this lesson. I’ve learned that students need shorter, engaging activities to keep the classroom running efficiently. I’ve learned that I need to be more cautious of my unprofessional language and time management habits while in front of students. These lessons will allow me to better myself as an educator, and will therefore encourage me to more effectively help students learn.


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One thought on “Reflection on Teaching Lesson: “Unpacking Dickinson’s Riddle Poetry”

  1. Hi Trevor – I think that the lesson you gave was a solid one. It was clear how much planning went into it. But, even a seemingly perfect lesson has glitches in it. I’m impressed with your level of self-assessment. When you said, “although I do want students to feel at home in my classroom, I definitely do not want them seeing it as a place where work does not occur,” I really got the sense of how much you care for your students. I believe this is a crucial part of making sure a classroom is learner-centered.

    Also, I appreciated your concrete solutions to the problems you faced in your lesson very encouraging. It’s helpful for me to see someone in my position come up with simple solutions to what can seem like unsolvable problems. Way to go!

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