New Primary Ethics volunteer Jan Mottram found teaching her first lesson a rocky experience – but by the second week she was able to go with the flow and enjoy herself.
My first day of ethics teaching was quite overwhelming for me. I had learnt so much during the training, but once faced with a class of 22 eager kids from years 1 and 2, that all seemed to go out the window. I was a bit anxious, very hot and the mask didn’t help. [NB From 7 March, mask-wearing is no longer mandatory, though you will be supported to wear one if you choose to. Lesson 1: The first session had an estimated 10-minute time frame. I think I did it in two. The questions that weren’t supposed to take much time seemed to go on for a while. The discussion about how many bones are in a hand took on a life of its own and I suggested they research it and let me know next week. Pairing the children just seemed to be an excuse for some of the kids to talk about anything but the topic. I was so keen to stay on script that I spent too much time reading my notes rather than watching what the class was doing. When the general consensus of the class was that it is okay to break rules because they are usually stupid, I found it hard to get them to listen to the kids who had a different view. Leaving the Primary Ethics rules till the end of the lesson was not a good move for this class, but by the time I realised that I had run out of time. I left the lesson feeling disappointed in myself and as the afternoon wore on I found myself thinking of so many things I could have done better. Lesson 2: I was determined to do better next time and my second lesson was a lot less stressful for me. I took it slower and went with the flow. I started by asking them if they had found out how many bones are in a hand. Unfortunately there were various answers even though they had all googled it or counted them. We went through the class rules again and I was able to refer to them when needed. Some of the children were very engaged in the lesson but some were obviously not interested at all. I later found out that they had not been outside at all during the day due to the rain. Being the last class of the day, I was lucky I had any interest at all. I had intended to have a break at some time to play a quick game of ‘Simon Says’ but when I checked my watch, we only had five minutes to go. Despite my rocky start, I find I’m already enjoying the experience and am confident that lessons will continue to improve. Next week I plan to start the lesson with a game. I can only try. Thanks to Dana for her encouraging words and the advice, ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself’. Very wise words.