Simon Smith's Personal Development journal week 6th October 2002 (Week 2)

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If there's going to be a theme to this week's journal it's going to be "Read the small print". Why? Well I've just written my assignment and it's gone way over the length it should have been, as did my journal last week. A couple of other related incidents were getting a parking ticket outside one of my own classes, where new signs had been put up meaning the rules had changed. And finally the other day while trying to bluff myself through a lesson I got caught out by a student only to find the answer was staring me in the face.

One of the big incidents for me this week was having a student become aggressive towards me and go in to a strop. I knew one of my students from the homeless unit was just about to start working through a book of exercises on Excel, and that pretty soon he'd be coming across formula. I thought it might be a good idea if I showed him what a formula was and how it worked in Excel. He on the other hand didn't want any help and told me he wanted to work through the book alone. I told him I thought it would be a good idea if he at least just watched a quick demonstration. At this point he exploded. I stayed quiet while he ranted on about wanting to be left alone, that he had had a bad day, and now a headache. My inner reaction was that I wanted to tell him to fuck off. However I'm able to control my self and instead looked at him and said, "listen I'm sorry, you work as you want and if you need me give me a call and I'll try my best to help you." This did diffuse the situation even if it left me feeling pretty annoyed. Next time this happens I shall try not to push my way of learning if I meet resistance. I will back off earlier.

Well I finally have got some of my folders sorted out and with them some of my lesson plans. I still need to get my "Word" course set out, but what's really niggling at me is my need to learn a program called "Access" as soon as possible because I'm teaching it. On my interview for the work I'm doing for HAFED I'd notified them that I didn't know Access and if they wanted me to teach it I could do with some help. So I've been put on a course which is a very interesting situation. What has struck me is the teaching method is almost an antithesis of my own. This tutor hands out a project at the beginning of the lesson and makes herself available when a student asks for help. For me though it's all too slow, there's a lot of extraneous inputting of data, which is time consuming. I prefer to be sown how something works then practise it a couple of times then move on. I can see how her system works but I'm panicking and need to learn NOW! So this means whenever I get anytime working through the program by my self. The humiliation of being asked how something worked in Access the other day and not knowing was almost unbearable. My student looked at me and said "But you're the teacher!" Even now I imagine that she sees me as fraud and as far as she was concerned I was.

This week's teacher training class was very interesting; it was mainly about assessing learner needs. I don't particularly want to discuss it in detail because I've just written an essay on it, however needless to say there were a lot of factors which I may already be putting into practice unconsciously and quite a few unknown new ones too.

When I got home after the lesson there was an email waiting for me from Marika. I'd asked her to send me the details of an icebreaker she uses and there it was. So far I've spoken to Tom, Lorraine, Dermot and Marika from our class. Dermot is on the Access class with me, which is an interesting coincidence seeing as he sees himself as a bit of a computer whiz too. Dermot has a very keen sense of humour and I can tell that his communication abilities are very suitable for teaching.

During the lesson I put forward a suggestion to a question which in hindsight really was irrelevant, Nina politely said thank you but afterwards I still had a good cringe. One of the other teachers had said she didn't like show-offs and during the coffee break I said to her that I considered my self to be one, and laughingly said I was sorry if I was. She said she hadn't noticed but still I do notice myself showing off in class. Perhaps it's a double-edged sword, showing off = confidence? And confidence is a benefit when teaching, but then maybe showing off is confidence with a lack of sensitivity to others and a confidence that's filled with insecurity. I often feel my insecurities so I don't feel wholly detached from that part of myself, even so I'm still a bit of a show off!