Critical Incident

This week all the art teachers at FSUS went to the FAEA Conference. They left on Wednesday morning and wouldn’t be back until Monday. I would be teaching High School… (ALONE) for three days. By law there had to be a substitute in the classroom, but I was warned that she would do her own thing unless absolutely necessary. As predicted, this is exactly what happened. I hadn’t been that nervous in a while. I couldn’t think of a better example when asked to illustrate a critical incident in our Monday night class. The activity had us separate our thoughts into four parts.


1. Concrete experience –Describe the critical incident. (Facts)

2. Reflective observation– Feelings & emotions surrounding the critical incident. (Affective)

3. Abstract conceptualization– What conclusions can you draw? (What did you learn?)

4. Active experimentation–How will your reactions & reflections impact your future actions? (What next?)

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The critical incident I chose was “Having to teach High School for 3 days (alone) with a substitute that sat in the back and did absolutely nothing.” I used collage to represent parts 2,3, & 4. In part 2, I collaged about my feeling and emotions towards the experience. I cut out a person peaking out behind tall grass. I felt nervous and somewhat unprepared the first day. I felt I was balancing my responsibilities and my nervous emotions. Along with trying to get each periods attention so we could do the activity I had planned for them, I had students write their favorite quotes on an index card. I displayed them around the room once they were all finished. So, I collaged the word “Connections,” because that was the purpose of my index card activity.

In part 3, I collaged about what I learned from the experience. Day 2 & 3 of teaching alone, the students watched a movie about glass blowing. They had a worksheet they had to fill out as they watched the film. I would be collecting the worksheet at the end of class Friday. In my illustration, I collaged the phrase, “How to decode any WTF text”. I have horrible handwriting but so did many of my students. As I went around trying to help the students answer their questions, I realized I could barely read half of their handwriting. I also collaged a woman meditating and the phrase, “you can’t skip adulting”. The mediating woman was meant to represent that being confident and calm helped me run the class. The phrase was meant to represent me juggling teaching the class and keeping up with regular life.

Last was part 4 where I collaged about my reflection and reaction to the experience. I discovered my voice and was able to survive. The woman on the left with the mega phone represents my excitement for my accomplishment, along with the excitement of Ms. Davis coming back on Monday. I also have the phrase, “discover the fresh, new face of fearless.” I got less nervous as the days went on, and I think I was able to connect with the students more while she was gone. The students took me seriously, and I didn’t have any major issues while she was out. It was scary, but at least now I know I can survive teaching High School if necessary.

P.S. in case you are curious, I still want to teach Elementary School!






2 thoughts on “Critical Incident

  1. I enjoy reading about how you took the challenge on of teaching high school all day for three days during the second week of student teaching. If I were in this situation at that point in time, I am not sure I would have felt as comfortable. It is nice you were able to get to know them more during this time. It would have been difficult to go on with a lesson they had already been doing with your CT without her there. I am glad you didn’t act like nothing had changed for the students. Instead you turned that time into an opportunity for them to learn more about you, and for you to learn more about them. I also know you asked them to do an activity you would have enjoyed doing yourself, so that is a great ice breaker!


  2. That is a scary thought!!! I have only taught 2 classes a day in middle school and that is never wracking enough! thankfully you have had time to practice in your previous internship… not that 5 year olds and 15 year olds act alike… But I am happy to hear that you have overcome it! I know you will do great and your cooperating teacher will be pleased by your growth!


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