Background: I have “microtaught” for 5-7 minutes in front of my methods class 2x now. I have learned a lot, realized some positive things, and realized some things I need to work on and will continue to work on in the future.
1. You are your harshest critic.
The worst part of micro teaching is after you have just finished and you are sitting back at your desk waiting for you peers to finish writing down their thoughts on what you did well on and what you can improve upon. At this point I am usually sitting at my desk thinking of a million and one things that I did wrong or that I could have done differently. When it comes to receiving feedback my peers were either a. EXTREMELY easy on me, or b. I was just way too harsh on myself. Their comments aligned with many of the things I thought of myself and it was helpful to become aware of some things I might not have thought of myself. Then after watching the video of myself teaching I thought that a. I actually wasn’t too bad and b. maybe I didn’t do as poorly as I thought. Of course there are numerous things I know I need to work on and will continue to work on throughout my career, but I concluded that I expected the worst and surprised myself by not being completely terrible and stuttering and running out of the classroom crying. So I gave myself a little pat on the back.
2. Things do not always go as planned, but that’s ok,. Have a plan B!
You obviously hope that your students will participate actively and have a response to every question that you ask them, but this is not always the case. One can dream though…
You don’t want to spoon feed them answers but I can see where is can get frustrating if students are staring back at you in silence. Luckily when microteaching I had classmates who were willing to participate but I was nervous I would get the blank stare response. Because of this I realized it is good to have a plan B in the event this does happen. While it is a little unrealistic to have a backup plan for everything, it is important to be aware of points in your lesson that could potentially go wrong and try to plan accordingly especially with something involving technology. Technology can be your best friend or worst enemy.
Adapt and be able to just go with the flow. Act like you always know what you’re doing! The teacher is always right, right?
3. I don’t speak as quickly as I think I do.
When I stand up in front of the class I feel as if I’m going a mile a minute. I want to fit in everything I have to say yet I still want students to feel comfortable asking questions and making any inquiries that they need too. When receiving feedback from my peers the overall consensus was that I had a pretty good pace. It was surprising to hear this because I sometimes felt as if my mouth was a runaway train speeding down the track. I learned that a good way to gauge this is by simply looking at your students. If they look like deer in headlights or they might want to cry, this is not a good sign. If they laugh at your attempted jokes or smile and nod their head from time to time, this is a good sign. It is always good to simply ask students if they have questions from time to time and open up a space for discussion in case you were being overwhelming with information or talking a mile a minute.
As my 5-7 minutes progressed I found myself feeling more and more relaxed and comfortable. By my second microteaching I wanted more time in front of the class to share even more of my lesson with them (whether they were interested or not). I think it is rare that people feel comfortable speaking in front of groups of people and I envy those who do this with ease, low blood pressure, un-sweaty armpits, and confidence. I have learned that when I’m up in front of the class I can put on my teacher face and really command and control the room the way I want to, while still having an open and friendly demeanor (this was really nice to hear from my peers).
5. I don’t know what to do with my hands! I will work on this…
This one is self-explanatory. It’s one of those things you don’t think about. I’m usually pretty animated with my hands so this works in my favor, but while watching the video of myself teaching I really began focusing on this. It’s weird I know, but it’s one of the things I am now conscious of. I have included a few links that I checked out myself. They might help you if you share my problem. Not everything applies directly to public speaking in terms of teaching but I still thought they were helpful.