I can honestly say this has been the busiest semester of my life. On one hand I am pleased with the work I have accomplished. On the other hand, I have definitely learned a valuable lesson about the law of diminishing marginal returns. I put a lot of time into my internship, spending one hour of lecture plus preparation per week, and approximately eight hours of private lesson time per week. I would like to come back to my documentation as I begin work on my cumulative portfolio for additional reflection. I have a great deal of material to work with and I feel I was just able to scratch the surface of all the lessons inherent in this experience.
My biggest lessons with this internship were about meeting students where they are and continuing to find tools for engagement in learning. I feel a lot of responsibility to give students everything I can and I felt there were times I fell short of that goal. If I lose interest in a student, or get frustrated with what I perceive to be a lack of effort, I lose the opportunity to reengage them. I also have begun to recognize that the student-teacher relationship and subsequent student progress is a process. Patience with this process is something I have to keep working to develop. Fortunately I will be teaching the same class next semester! I’m excited about this and very eager to apply what I’ve learned.
In the end I was very pleased with the student performances in their final exam, which consisted of a quasi-promotional in front of the official instructor and the two Teaching Assistants (including myself). I sent an email to all of the students in the class congratulating them and expressing that I hoped they were proud of their accomplishments.
My internship portfolio can be viewed at the link below. This link leads to all of my current portfolios; click on “Guided Internship” to preview the right one. Thanks for following my blog!
This is my first semester as a T.A. for the undergraduate class, Voice for Non-Majors. So far it has been a challenging but rewarding experience. As I stated in my first blog, the learning curve is pretty steep. As the semester progressed I found myself getting more comfortable with lessons, but continually challenged by the lectures. The mid-term exam was an insightful experience. I found myself frustrated with some of the students’ preparation and effort on the mid-term, but also reflected on things I can do better. I think I learned something about how to present material next semester, including providing better handouts, doing more demonstrations, and trying to make the class generally more interactive and engaging.
Lessons have been going pretty well. I need to work on improving my documentation and reflection on students’ progress. I feel with a few students we tend to get a bit “stuck” and I think if I had a better record of their progress that would help us shift gears and keep lessons engaged and interesting. I also think observing some lessons with other teachers would help with giving me more ideas for techniques, warm-ups, and repertoire. This may be something to pursue next semester as I’m not sure I will have the opportunity to observe before the break.
Attached is a video clip of a breathing exercise with one of my students. We’ve been working on getting her to feel her breath in order to use her support more fully.
Editor’s Note: This is Shannon Kelly’s first post in a series of three regarding her internship this semester. You can view follow-up posts to this one, and her internship proposal, here.
My internship this fall will be teaching a section for an undergraduate voice class at NEC, titled in the catalogue, appropriately enough, Voice Class for Non-Majors. I have eleven students in the class. Each week I teach a 50 minute group class, and each week I give each student a 45 minute lesson. The size of the class has been a challenge so far, just in providing each student individual instruction time. With all of our overscheduled time it can be tough getting a lesson in each week even though we try to stick with pre-set days and times. I’m beginning to see each student’s personality and needs. One of the exciting things is seeing even the bit of development that has occurred in the first few weeks of lessons. The classroom setting is another challenge in itself. I had the opportunity basically to structure my own course however I saw fit which was scary and great at the same time. I feel with each lecture I’m learning something new and I’m glad I get the chance to teach the class again next semester and apply this experience. My learning curve is pretty steep. Lessons so far: Keep it specific, bring examples, use handouts, communicate frequently and often (email is your friend), repeat and re-emphasize, use multiple delivery methods (audio, visual, kinesthetic), to encourage retention. Whew. More to come.