A Long Journey Always Starts with the First Step

The last week of March was special for me. I had come to an agreement with my dear friend Tony Gurr about him observing my class a week before and I felt, I don’t know how I should put it, a little uneasy (this may not be the word that best describes the feeling, but that is the one that first comes to my mind).

However, all the panic (ohh, a new description now!) vanished when the bell rang for the big moment. Honestly speaking, I did not remember exactly what happened when everything was over and I sat with Tony for a cup of filtered coffee ( I must say it was his treat). Strangely, it felt like I was there to testify for a crime I might have committed being totally unaware.

Then, Tony spoke his first words about what I had done done and that gave me comfort. He stated that he was not there to judge or criticize me. At that moment, the sun looked brighter to me:) As he moved on, he made it clear that he  expected me to reflect on my own experience and presented a couple of questions to guide me through the journey into my own mind.

We spoke on and on and I realized I was a good story teller to begin with and,also, I knew how to keep learners focused on myself, thus helping them to follow the lesson with utmost attention. My strengths were not all that, of course, as I became aware in the minutes to come. In addition to being a motivator and a story-teller, I was good at sticking to the time-limits I set for the activities. Moreover, I turned out to have no problems with providing feedback, either. Another positive point about my teaching was that I could have the students interact with one another by creating the proper context for tasks.

I had really felt much better as Tony also approved that I remembered well and he emphasized that it was a bonus for a teacher to be able to reflect on the good points as well as the bad ones. Next, he suggested I talk about the minuses. As a person who does not like to reveal his dirty clothes, the suggestion did not sound fine at all to me. Yet, I was encouraged by my supervisor by being told that mistakes could also be one’s best guide. The remark affected me and I began to analyze myself again.

The first thing I saw was that I dominated the lesson. That meant that I sort of hypnotized the learners and they, though strange, enjoyed it because they felt safe as I was doing most of the talking. Reflecting further, I understood that I did not wait long enough to allow a learner to answer a question. It was like I wanted to help a student as soon as I sensed s/he might make a mistake and feel uncomfortable. One last point I came up with as a minus was that I did not create enough chances for SS-SS or SS-S interaction.

When, at last, Tony woke me up from my hypnotic state of mind, I felt like the world was a different place. It had certainly helped me to have a journey inside. I was not who I had been and I knew I would grow to be a better teacher.  Tony absolutely did his best never to disturb or frustrate me and he even gave me precious advice about how I could change my negative points into positive ones. Long story short, I discovered, as a result of my first observation yet, that reflecting and sharing were the keys to overcoming any challenge with teaching.

3 responses to “A Long Journey Always Starts with the First Step

  1. Brilliant, Çağdaş – not just that you “did” this, but that you are so willing to do your laundry (and reflection) in “public”.

    I hope this inpires others to do the same 😉

    Be good 😉


  2. This is a Sincere reflection and thanks for sharing the feelings frankly. I guess that by sharing experinces we will achieve the best in our classes, also sharing will enable us- all AUSFL instructors- to go beyond our boundaries in teaching.

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