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Field Notes

L13's picture


While the students have “free lesson time” they can chose to do their lesson at a table or on the big carpet in the middle of the classroom. If they do the lesson in the middle of the classroom, they have to grab a small individual carpet to put their lesson on – so the pieces of the lesson don’t get lost.

 This past week, two boys, the oldest two in the class at 6yrs, were doing a puzzle on the rug without a personal rug for the lesson. I asked them, “what do you need it you are doing a lesson on the big rug?” one of the boys responded, “We don’t need a personal rug for puzzles.” I said, “Alright, good to know, thank you.” Later, I saw a different student doing a puzzle and using a personal rug.

 This made me feel really awkward and unsure of my place in the classroom. The student was probably just being over cautious and didn’t in fact need a personal rug – but it got me to thinking – how can we, as visiting teachers, truly discipline without being aware and knowing all of the rules? I was able to clarify with the teacher about the policy on personal rugs – she said it depends on the puzzle.

 I feel like my credibility has changed in the eyes of those two students because they now realized that I don’t know all of the rules- or at the very least, they know more than I do in this classroom. How can I use this situation to demonstrate that we are both learners but still have an authoritative role? Should our host teachers be more clear about some of the rules on our very first day rather than have us watch and hope to pick it up? Should I continue to try to help discipline if I only know some of the rules?