The biggest hurdle I had on my Practical Experience was the constant interruptions to our day. I have not had my head in the sand, I know that a day in a classroom never goes exactly to plan and that teachers need to be flexible but I found it to be in excess over my 3 week visit. The first week was NAPLAN testing, which we knew about.. and then there was Eisteddfod. There were many choir groups in the school which had limited practice so this was jammed into a week. At times I lost half the class and others the entire class for up to 2 hours at a time. Then there were kids that took part in instrumental music programs that entered in Eisteddfod as well. Sporting commitments outside of school took kids out of class, the CLIP program, Arts Council… and then just general chats from the Principal when issues arose and requests from buddy classes to participate in reading. All of this is fine… but it really impacted on the way I was able to plan to implement ICTs in the classroom.
To be able to use laptops in the classroom, these needed to be booked out in advance. Often we booked them out and then were called out during this time, forfeiting our time slot. These were shared between the Preps through to Year 7’s so time was scarce some days. And then there were the lessons that were cut quite short. The time it takes to set up and log on to these devices doesn’t allow much more time for the actual lesson to take place, providing that we then had to shut down and return them to the tech lab.
With all of that aside… I learnt to be FLEXIBLE! I still got through most of the work I had planned to, by chopping and changing things around and cutting the least important parts out. I found that I had to explicitly teach some concepts with all of the ‘fluff’… I found this article called The Flexible Teacher. Obviously the interruptions I have mentioned are not the only ones I had – behaviours, toilet stops, drink stops… they all add up and cause chaos at times. There’s always room to learn new strategies to help ensure that we’re doing what we set out to do – help these students learn!