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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Reporter explores the difficulty of teaching

Splat. The sound of my pica ruler falling to the ground caused me to lose my train of thought. It was pretty embarrassing, because I was in the middle of teaching a class. Surprised? Me too. When Mike Tyler permitted me to teach his first period Journalism 1 class for a day, I couldn’t believe it.
Mr. Tyler introduced me to the class as the teacher for the day, and after an uncomfortable three seconds of silence, I decided to jump right into the lesson.
I set up all of the materials I needed at the front of the classroom, prepared to show these students how to draw dummies. (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a dummy is a drawn-out version of a newspaper page that is used as a reference when making a layout on the computer). They had to complete a work-backwards assignment by drawing a dummy from an existing Falcon newspaper page. 
Somehow I managed to pass out note guides without licking my fingers to separate the pages (note to teachers: that’s gross), and began to explain the process of drawing dummies.
I took about 15 minutes to complete the assignment on the board to demonstrate how they needed to do it, but not without dropping my papers and other teacherly materials multiple times. When I talked to some of my “students” later, they admitted that it was amusing to see my uncoordinated self try to operate under pressure. 
I finished teaching my lesson with a flourish and yet more papers falling from my hands, and after a gracious round of applause, unleashed them to try out the assignment on their own. One bonus of being a teacher was that I was given permission to say “Draw your dummy, you dummy!” because it related to the assignment.
I would have never guessed that helping students do an assignment would be so much harder than teaching the assignment itself. It felt as though no matter how many times I went around the room assisting students, there were always more hands raised in the air, waiting for me to answer questions. I now fully understand how teachers can make the mistake of helping the person who just put their hand up, as opposed to the person who has been waiting for 10 minutes.
Additionally, it frustrated me how students drew in pen when I clearly told them to draw in pencil. When I was giving them a solution to so many problems, they didn’t listen to my advice. I also now know why teachers always tell students to follow directions carefully.
It turns out that I did not teach the lesson very accurately, seeing as I told my students to put a cross through a box containing an advertisement, when in actuality you’re not supposed to. Mr. Tyler tried his best to spare my feelings by not telling me that he had to correct many of the dummies before students could turn them in, but hey, the truth hurts sometimes. 
Overall, I was told that my ability to speed through the lesson to give students more time to try the assignment for themselves was good, but the lesson didn’t sink in as much for the same reason. 
Making my point clear to a large audience was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. It wasn’t until the end of the period that I realized I was teaching in that vague tone that appears in any essay I write, something that probably didn’t help the students understand the lesson. I guess my people skills aren’t as good as I thought they were — let’s just say I probably will not be pursuing the career of teaching.
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