Reflections on Placement

On the 29th of October 2018- I embarked on my first university placement. I was nervous, terrified and excited all at once. This was a new territory for me as I am originally from the East coast; this meant a big change for me. I was placed in a local catholic school from which I had … Continue reading Reflections on Placement

On the 29th of October 2018- I embarked on my first university placement. I was nervous, terrified and excited all at once. This was a new territory for me as I am originally from the East coast; this meant a big change for me. I was placed in a local catholic school from which I had a short walk each morning. For the first week, I was in with a Primary 4 class and in my second week I was in with a Primary 6 class. I enjoyed my time in my placement and learned many things from this experience that I will use to develop my practice for the future.

Strengths

A strength that I believe I portrayed well was my facial expressions, each morning I would always smile, welcome the children with a warm “hello”. This really helped me integrate with the class as when I was first introduced, this eased the general class tension. I personally found this to be extremely important as I was guest in the school, therefore, making this a positive experience from the beginning  meant that the kids would feel comfortable to ask for my help.  Another strength was my body language- I ensured this as from recent learning in our module “situated communication” I am developing my knowledge of good body language. I always tried to seem engaged as this would mirror onto the children.

Developmental weakness

A developmental weakness I learnt about myself was my lack of confidence especially when working with older years. I felt this stemmed from my height as I am 5’1 ft and I look young, so this made me feel less confident working with the Primary 6’s. I knew this was an irrational fear of mine, yet it did play upon my mind especially one afternoon when there was an elective class with the primary 7’s. Luckily I did have a pair comfy heels I could wear to placement this eased my anxiety a little as I was now the same height as the tallest Primary 6 child. Another developmental weakness I noticed was use of language. I used a lot of filler short words such as ‘erm’, ‘like’ and ‘um’; this is a bad habit of mine especially the word ‘like’ I use this quite a lot. For example in maths, I was explaining to a young girl about when multiplying by then 10 you need to remember to move the decimal place, I found this hard to explain without using these filler words.

Action plan

My action plan is to take my strengths and develop these even further, but also to work on my weaknesses.  To build up my confidence, I spoke to my lecturer and to the teacher I worked with. My lecturer suggested that improving my stance and posture would help me and I would naturally feel more confident. The teacher I worked with also understood my insecurities, and she told me that from her experience, dressing up a little bit more may make someone seem more serious. She stated that when she had taught older years in the past and felt this way, she would buy something like a blazer and she felt she was ‘dressing for business’. To improve my use of conversational filler I could watch my pace and slow down my speaking as I will have more opportunity to think about what I am saying to avoid these habits.

Reflections on Placement

For the last two weeks I have been on placement in a local Primary School. During this placement I had the pleasure of observing a Primary 3/4 class, I really enjoyed this experience as it gave me a feel for … Continue reading

For the last two weeks I have been on placement in a local Primary School. During this placement I had the pleasure of observing a Primary 3/4 class, I really enjoyed this experience as it gave me a feel for what it will be like being a Primary School teacher, it also allowed me to reflect on my skills and also consider aspects of my communication I need to work on.

STRENGTH

I believe one of my strengths to be how I demonstrated my active listening to the children through kneeling down, nodding my head and asking further questions to the statements they would give me. I believe this is a strength of mine as I had a peer observation where it was highlighted that a strength of mine was kneeling down to pupils when I spoke to them, the teacher I was with also complimented how I would always ask questions after a child told me something hence why I think my demonstration of active listening through forms of verbal and non-verbal communication is a key strength of mine. I took a group of Primary 3s for reading and I would always give them 5 minuets before we started to talk about what the book was about and I  would ensure I nodded my head when they were speaking so they knew I was listening to them, once they were done I’d encourage more of a discussion by asking more questions about what they just told me so they knew I’d listened and I’d get more responses.

AREA OF MOST PROGRESS

I would say I have progressed in the amount of times I say words such as ‘um’ and ‘eh’. Doing the story telling task I got helpful feedback from my peers that I would do this a lot and it came off as though I wasn’t as confident and it looked unprofessional. The feedback from that helped me when I was on placement as I noticed I did this a lot less, the first week on placement I was still saying those phrase regularly but the more I noticed it the more I stopped it and by the second week I had said them a lot less. I was reading to the Primary 3s again and I messed up a word, usually I would’ve been like “oh, eh I meant…” but I noticed this and just paused and re-read the word over correctly.

AREA REQUIRING PROGRESS

The area I need to work on the most is my volume. I would say I do talk at an adequate volume most of the time but I can get quiet. When the class volume starts to pick up I can’t match it or talk above it. My peer noticed this as well as I did, I had to take a group to another room to go on the computers and they began to get very noisy and I tried to tell them to quieten down but I didn’t raise my voice enough so they continued to talk, I did go  over and tell the nosier 3 pupils to lower the volume and then the class were able to hear me. Volume is a challenge for me as I don’t want to shout so I get too anxious to raise my voice slightly when I know it needs to be raised.

ACTION PLAN

I plan to develop my strength by ensuring I keep on doing this when I am able to. I also plan to read more things aloud to practice hearing my voice aloud and playing around with it so I can hear how loud I can go without shouting, reading things like books aloud will also help me to continue to progress in saying ‘uh’,’eh’ and ’em’ less often.

EXPECTATIONS

I did complete and get experience of everything I was expected to do. I managed to achieve these expectations pretty easily without many obstacles, one obstacle would perhaps be with regards to getting information for my sheets as we had 4 maths tasks to complete and due to show rehearsals and mass my class missed a lot of their maths time, I did observe some maths lessons and had enough information to complete them but it was a slight obstacle. Another obstacle for me was the staff room, I spoke to some teachers easily but others I found it harder to talk to, I would try to hold a conversation but a lot of the staff room conversations were about rooms and rehearsals and who is doing what so it was harder to be in the discussion as I didn’t work there and know those things, but generally I would find things to talk to the staff about, however by the second week it got easier as I was beginning to know how the school worked and the different classes. The class teacher I was with introduced me to staff which really helped me fulfill the expectation of talking to staff as more of them had an idea of who I was and why I was there and felt comfortable talking to me.