BA1 Reflections on Placement

So after two quick weeks in my first school placement I’ve found myself back at uni with an overwhelming sense of dread and fear for what the next hectic 4 weeks of my life is going to bring. Endless assignments, studying, research, academic reading, getting to grips with referencing and just in general managing to survive till […]

So after two quick weeks in my first school placement I’ve found myself back at uni with an overwhelming sense of dread and fear for what the next hectic 4 weeks of my life is going to bring. Endless assignments, studying, research, academic reading, getting to grips with referencing and just in general managing to survive till I finish for Christmas!

However, looking back on a successful and eye opening two weeks in my first school experience I can only feel excited for what my future career holds! (The good, the bad and the ugly of course!)

Strengths

In the lead up to starting my time in the school I felt excited yet slightly nervous just by being the ‘new student’ going into a busy school environment where relationships and friendships had already been formed. However, I found throughout the duration of my placement that I communicated and worked well with all members of staff that I dealt with and most importantly the pupils in classes that I worked in. I felt that having previous experience working in schools and being a youth group leader I already had the confidence and ability to assert myself when appropriate and become an authoritative figure to the pupils I worked with. By using my initiative and confidence this allowed me to successfully become part of an effective team for my short stay and build a rapport with both staff and pupils in the classrooms, staff room and playground.

Area of Most Progress

Being in the classroom with the children is where I felt most comfortable. Whether it was working with a child one to one or in group tasks with 6 or 8 pupils I felt I was in my comfort zone and in control of the environment I was in. Working in the classroom alongside the class teacher and being involved in the daily routines and pupil’s learning allowed me to develop skills and abilities I thought I already had confidence in. With assurance and praise from the class teacher that I was conducting myself in a professional yet nurturing manner allowed me to delve more into the children’s educational experiences and use my initiative to assist the class teacher in her planning and teaching. Using my creative abilities I was able to complete making props for the school nativity alongside using new ideas for the children to make at their annual Christmas fayre. Along with developing good rapport with the children and getting to know their names and learning styles this certainly made me feel like I was progressing successfully and developing my interpersonal skills throughout.

Area Requiring Progress

Looking through my self reflections and peer observations the one thing that appeared was my pace when delivering an input to children in a small group. Talking quickly is something I have felt I’ve always done and am aware of but find it difficult to overcome and fix. However, this is something I am aware I need to focus on and need to implement strategies to overcome this in order to make my pace slower and easier for children to understand and take in what I am saying.

Action Plan

Receiving my school assessment report form was a great confidence boost and assured me that my two weeks in the school were valuable to not only myself but those who I worked with. On advice from the class teacher I will continue to conduct myself in a friendly and professional manner whilst maintaining a nurturing and caring attitude towards the pupils. I will continue to use my initiative and offer my assistance to class teachers, pupils and other staff in the school for if and when they require it. Strategies to improve my pace of speech such as breathing techniques and looking back at recordings of myself presenting will allow me to improve and record areas in which I find I talk too quickly and implement strategies such as pausing or breathing to ensure I talk slower for those around me to understand me more concisely. Continuing to engage positively with all staff and children as well as maintaining calm and capable characteristics that will serve me well in my upcoming career.

Reflections on Placement

I have just completed my first school experience placement and I cant believe that it is over already. Two weeks within my local hometown primary school absolutely flew in. Me and my placement partner were placed within the Primary 5 … Continue reading

I have just completed my first school experience placement and I cant believe that it is over already. Two weeks within my local hometown primary school absolutely flew in. Me and my placement partner were placed within the Primary 5 class for the duration of our two weeks with the exception of one morning where we were in a Primary 1 class in order for us to complete one of our placement tasks. I was pleased about this as it let us build connections with our class teacher and pupils and really understand where they are with their learning and allow us to see that progress. However it would have been good to get a scope of the whole school by visiting other teachers/classes however this year it was not meant to be. Overall I was really pleased with how my placement went. Each day seemed to fly in and it was 3 o’clock all of a sudden. Through observation, which this placement was based heavily upon, I have been able to define my strengths and areas for development in terms of communication and implementing this within the school setting.

An area of communication that I feel I excelled at and was highlighted to me through my peer observation was my verbal communication in particular my pitch and tone. I was able to change my pitch and tone as I needed dependant who I was interacting with. Within our Primary 1 class I was obviously interacting with small infants aged just four or five. This was a complete difference from working with my Primary 5’s who were mainly 8 however there was one child who was 11. And then again when talking and interacting with staff and assistants around the school, I didn’t talk to them like I would the Primary 1’s. Changing my tone and pitch was also crucial within group work and helping individuals. My peer feedback form highlights that when talking to the group I was more louder and open so that all members could clearly hear and understand me however when helping an individual child I went down to their level and spoke to them one-to-one so they could hear me but I also wasn’t disrupting the rest of the group or class. I feel this is a major strength within teaching and different ages and abilities need to be communicated to differently. It is by doing this that they will understand and eventually develop and grow.

An area that I feel requires progress in relation to my communication is my public speaking. When talking to an individual or small group, I feel confident in what I am doing however if I was to stand up in front of my peers or a whole class, I become nervous and anxious. This has always been a fear of mine from a young age and I have tried many times to overcome it, but to no prevail. I think because it was school children I was dealing with and I only ever had a maximum of six children, I felt fine as I was the “superior” in this situation so my nerves were calm. However I am extremely anxious about my upcoming university presentation as I need to stand in front of adults and talk about this exact fear. I think if I was to overcome this it would probably be one of my biggest achievement to date and it would make me such a better person and in the long run a more effective teacher within the classroom.

In order to overcome my fear of public speaking, I just need to do it. That is the worst thing about it that to overcome it I just need to keep doing it over and over again. Practise makes perfect in this case. By doing this confidence will grow and I will be a better and more effective communicator. Another strategy to overcome this is to basically know what I am talking about. If I know the material, then saying it should come natural and will make me a better presenter for example not reading off the screen or cue cards. Knowing the material off by heart then practising in front of a few people that I am comfortable around will help build confidence also.

My whole school experience was a joy. My class were just full of energy at all points throughout the day and were genuinely sad to see me and my partner leave. I have learned a lot about myself, my future career and the people I will be dealing with throughout this first year placement. I aim to continue to develop my strengths at the same time build upon my areas of development. It is by doing this that I will really become an effective and efficient communicator, not just within the classroom but in life.

Reflection on placement

With my first year placement now over I am overwhelmed with all sorts of feelings. Although I have volunteered within a classroom environment before, it was in no comparison to this one in terms of professionalism and the opportunities and responsibilities I took on. I count myself extremely lucky that I was placed in a … Continue reading Reflection on placement

With my first year placement now over I am overwhelmed with all sorts of feelings. Although I have volunteered within a classroom environment before, it was in no comparison to this one in terms of professionalism and the opportunities and responsibilities I took on. I count myself extremely lucky that I was placed in a school full of staff who were helpful and mindful that they were once in my position.

I was given a timetable on my first day which saw me in a P1, P3, P6 and P6/7 class within my first week. On my second week, myself and my partner were in a P2 class the full time. This enabled us to complete our observation tasks on one another, and then give our feedback. I found this process highly beneficial as it allowed me to reflect on aspects which could be improved and be proud of . I appreciated my partners feedback to me as I was aware that this can sometimes be difficult to put across, especially when it is partly negative. It was brought to my attention that I did not give the pupils much independence when I was working with a small group. For example, a pupil asked me where a letter was, I quickly pointed to this letter, giving him no independence or learning to find it for himself. I am glad this was pointed out to me as I am now fully aware of this mistake and I have came up with strategies to avoid this from reoccurring.

Literacy and Maths tasks were also to be completed within the 2 weeks based on what we had observed in class. To begin with I was apprehensive about the tasks in general and worried that they would be time consuming to complete. The teachers I was placed with were extremely helpful in terms of the tasks and helped me out where need be. I decided to get stuck into the tasks on the first day of placement, one of the teachers sat with me after school and went through them with me, this meant she also had an understanding of where I was to observe. I am glad i started the tasks so early and this made me realise that my organisation skills were better than I anticipated.

Personally, it was interesting for me to see how different each teacher was in terms of their style of teaching. This showed me that no teacher is the same in the classroom and although you might be teaching differently from one teacher, you are not doing it wrong.

Although at times it was best for me to sit and observe in order to fill in the tasks, most of my 2 weeks was spent being around and involved with the children whether that was individually, in groups, or as a whole class. This enabled me to see how different each child is in general and in their learning and that they are all unique. This placement has cemented that teaching is the career path I am determined to take.

Sustainable Development Serial Days Tasks

This is the school which I am on placement at. I have labelled the playground, which has painted lines for sports, the outdoor learning classroom, which has a blackboard and wooden benches and tables, and the bicycle rails, which are the first evidence of learning for sustainability for a fist-time visitor of the school. From … Continue reading Sustainable Development Serial Days Tasks

This is the school which I am on placement at. I have labelled the playground, which has painted lines for sports, the outdoor learning classroom, which has a blackboard and wooden benches and tables, and the bicycle rails, which are the first evidence of learning for sustainability for a fist-time visitor of the school. From … Continue reading Sustainable Development Serial Days Tasks

1st year placement experience

I have just finished my first two week placement block during my time in the BA programme at UWS. Having spent most of last year in a Primary 1 class it was amazing to get back into the classroom and working with children again. This year I was in a small multi-composite school with 2 […]

I have just finished my first two week placement block during my time in the BA programme at UWS. Having spent most of last year in a Primary 1 class it was amazing to get back into the classroom and working with children again. This year I was in a small multi-composite school with 2 classes, one of Primary 1-4’s and the other with Primary 5-7’s.

Prior to placement I was unsure how I would feel about teaching in a multi-compsite class as I imagined this would be a lot more difficult than having a class all of the same ages however I absolutely loved it. There were varying abilities within the classroom however with there only being 9 children in Class 2 the different abilities in the classroom were able to be so well catered to. In an average class of 20-30 children, they would all be in the same year group, however the range of abilities would be just as vast with a higher pupil to teacher ratio.

Having experienced a small window of time within this village school, the range of activities the children can partake in is incredible and the sense of community and family in the school is amazing. Every member of staff worked so well together and really cared for each child, their wellbeing and their successes. The school had a community kitchen which the children cooked a new recipe in each week, this was so great to see the school introducing a love of cooking to the children and providing them with a life skill.

I have learned so much from my time in placement and it has given me so many great ideas that I hope one day I can carry out in my own classroom. As well as ideas for the future it has also given me an insight into particular areas of strength and areas for improvement in my own practice.

I believe a strength I have is quickly building up a rapport with each child. This is so vital as if children have a good relationship with you the will learn so much more from you and enjoy working and learning alongside you. I really enjoy getting to know each child, their strengths, areas for developments, likes and dislikes and using this to alter my own practice. Some people often forget that children at Primary are still so young an need to be nurtured and form positive relationships with staff within the school.

Although I really enjoyed working with the older children this did make me aware of an area of personal development. As some of the mathematics was at a much higher level I first had to understand this before I could explain it to the children. A few times I found myself getting stuck when trying to explain different maths aspects to the children as I didn’t have a good enough understanding in the first place in order to then simplify this and explain in necessary depth to the children to ensure they understood. I spoke with the class teacher about this and in mathematics at university we spend time each week going through various maths concepts and so I am confident that with putting extra work into my mathematics by the time I am next working with older children I will ensure I have the relevant knowledge to be confident helping every group of children with their mathematics.

 

Reflections on Placement

Placement was an inspiring experience and enhanced my understanding of how a classroom environment works daily. Before starting placement, I was really excited and looking forward to new experiences as I love being in the school setting. Having seen the school’s website before starting my placement, gave me an idea of what the school ethic …

Continue reading “Reflections on Placement”

Placement was an inspiring experience and enhanced my understanding of how a classroom environment works daily. Before starting placement, I was really excited and looking forward to new experiences as I love being in the school setting. Having seen the school’s website before starting my placement, gave me an idea of what the school ethic would be like. The website was very informative and interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the children and the staff in the school.

I was based in a Primary 2 class with my peer for the two weeks of placement, this was beneficial as I got to know the teacher and the children really well. I have had previous experience in a Primary 1 class and found it very interesting seeing the next stage up.

I quickly got into the daily routine of the class. The class teacher was in school around 8.15am every morning to prepare for the day ahead. Every Monday morning the teachers had a meeting with the headteacher for 15 minutes before the school day started at 9am.

Throughout the placement I observed many numeracy lessons. The teacher used a variety of songs that children sung along to, this helped portray the lesson content. The teacher constructed the end of the numeracy lesson with activity based learning, there were directed tasks that children could carry out through play to consolidate learning. The directed tasks included; using fake money and adding it together to make up a certain sum of money; shoe laces that numbers could be threaded on to make a calculation or number pattern (odd/even); numeracy jigsaw; and laptops with ‘sumdog’ and ‘education city’. The children all participated in the directed tasks and were engrossed throughout the activities.

In Primary 2, I perceived numerous, assorted literacy lessons throughout the two weeks. At the start of every week children would get a new list of spelling words. The first week was ‘ff’ words and the second week was ‘ll’ words. As a class the children sound out the word phonetically and then say it 3 times fully – this assists the children’s understanding of how the word forms. The children copy 3 of the spelling words directed by the teacher in their homework jotter and writes them again at home – this is done Monday to Wednesday. The children have a spelling test every Friday and peer assess each other after the test is complete. Children were introduced to a dictionary for the first time, this was a very interesting lesson to observe and the children understood how the dictionary worked, they demonstrated this through tasks directed by the teacher.

The Primary 2 pupils had PE once a week. It was a fantastic opportunity to observe how another teacher dealt with the same class. The children loved being active and releasing energy.

The subject of French is covered orally in Primary 1 to Primary 3. Primary 2 have covered days of the week, and numbers 1 to 10. They have just started to learn the months of the year. The subject French was presented by using songs. The teacher regularly used ‘très bien’ and other French phrases throughout the French lesson and other lessons therefore carrying French across the curriculum.

Overall, the teacher of Primary 2 was very helpful and assisted myself and my partner in anything possible. I feel I supported the learning taking place in class to my best ability and demonstrated effective communication skills. My experience in the staffroom was lovely and interactive, the staff are all very welcoming and interested to hear about our course at UWS. I feel I adapted to the school and smooth running of it and became very comfortable with my surroundings after the first day. I have extremely enjoyed my placement at the school, and will take all my experiences and observations into my future practice. The primary school, staff and my partner have all been very reassuring and supportive. Having more experience in a Primary School has made me realise that I truly want to pursue a career as as Primary Teacher.

Placement Reflection

Overall throughout my experience on placement I really enjoyed it. It was a different experience from what I have had in schools before as before I would have been taken as a spare pair of hands in the role of … Continue reading

Overall throughout my experience on placement I really enjoyed it. It was a different experience from what I have had in schools before as before I would have been taken as a spare pair of hands in the role of a classroom assistant and I felt that the children respected me more knowing that I was training to be a teacher. It felt as if I was more responsible being a student teacher than when I was a practitioner during my HNC in college. On my first week of placement I was in a primary seven class and on my second week I was in a primary two class. Working from the two ends of the school gave me an experience working within two extremely different environments were there are two different teaching techniques and reward systems.

 

During my first year placement I felt that it was mostly having to sit at the side of the class and watch teachers and how they teach I think it would be a better idea if the “observing” was more interactive and as a student in first year you are able to plan activities for the children. I planned activities during my HNC at college and I felt that the children really enjoyed being able to work with a new person. Throughout placement I asked if I was able to plan an activity as I felt I was sitting at the side to often and I wanted to become more involved and practice teaching in front of a small group. I took an activity for time and also a listening/concentration activity on my last day. This was effective for me personally because I was able to plan an activity for a small group similar to what the teacher was doing with the rest of the children in the class. The children seemed to enjoy the activities because they were telling me that it was fun and they were excited when they had another activity in the afternoon.

Generally I think overall placement was a fun experience that I was learning everyday. I was learning what I need to improve on and I was learning about the different ways that teachers from two different sides of the school teach. I learned that I should always ask teachers about different things so that I keep myself right and not go by others words. I also learned that maths can be interactive through song and also some games that other teachers may not play with children in a classroom environment. I also learned a little bit more on activities to use for listening and talking through literacy. Finally I learned that teaching and strategies have to be different and you have to be adaptable to the environment that you are in because one year you could be in a primary 1 class then the next in a primary 7 class and the way you approach teaching to 4-5 year old’s is different to the way you approach teaching to 10-11 year old’s. To have a trial at this was beneficial to me as I had to adapt as quick as a week to the different environments. This will be a big learning curve for me to take on within the next 3 years during my placement time.

Working in a school on placement for two weeks has shown me that Primary Teaching is definitely what I want to do as a career. I wish that my placement lasted longer. I am excited to see what future placements bring and what else I will learn from them.

First year placement

During my two week placement I got to explore all areas within a primary school from P1-P6, this giving me great knowledge and experience of working with children of all ages, and I was able to identify a range of different teacher qualities and styles. The main class that I spent most of my placement […]

During my two week placement I got to explore all areas within a primary school from P1-P6, this giving me great knowledge and experience of working with children of all ages, and I was able to identify a range of different teacher qualities and styles. The main class that I spent most of my placement time at however was one of three primary five classes and with the teacher being newly qualified she was able to help me to the highest degree possible, this making my time at the school very enjoyable. Due to spending a lot of time with this particular class I gained a great bond with all the children and the teacher, this being something I very much had in mind before going out to placement as I think it is very important to be in a happy, friendly environment to get the best outcome from an experience like this.

The different classes that I went in for one hour per day mainly all focused on mathematics and literacy activities, because of this I found it very easy to fill in the work which was required to be done when out on placement. I also found it very rewarding to complete both peer observations and self-evaluations as it was great to see the improvements I made from the first week to the second as I was able to change things that I was doing that I wasn’t fully happy with. However, a main strength that I found I had on placement was that when speaking to the children I was able able to be heard and seen, this being a very important aspect of communication as this leads on to other positive aspects of both verbal and non-verbal skills.

The school’s enthusiasm and interest in the children was great to see and they work with many external agencies to try and make sure the children within the school get the best education and childhood that they possibly can. They work closely with a woman who tackles attendance and children coming into school late, this was very interesting to see as previously I had never known any other school to work with an agency to try and combat this issue. The children also had an area for the children to go to if they were feeling down or wanted someone to talk to, this really opened by eyes to the caring nature that is within primary schools to ensure children always have someone to talk to.

Overall, my first placement was a great experience which I thoroughly enjoyed, due to the warm and welcoming nature of both the children and all staff members, and how the general feel of the school was great to be within. I am also pleased with how well I got on as an individual and how much the children looked up to me as a professional. Due to this I am even more excited about becoming a primary school teacher and the future placements I have to come.

 

BA1 Placement Overview and Reflection

From Monday 30th September through to Friday 10th November I, and the rest of the first year class, went onto our very first student teacher placement. I had no reservations prior to placement other than being to forward with staff. This is just my personality though and the best way to thrive was to be …

From Monday 30th September through to Friday 10th November I, and the rest of the first year class, went onto our very first student teacher placement. I had no reservations prior to placement other than being to forward with staff. This is just my personality though and the best way to thrive was to be myself. I had heard raving reviews about my assigned school from other teachers and lecturers, so this alone put me in high spirits with high expectations.

Day 1, the biggest thing to remember was to make a lasting first impression over the 8 hour period of the school day. To be perfectly honest I knew that i would be perfectly fine as I had prepared myself to the highest degree the night before ( I had stayed up to an acceptable time and printed off piece of paper after piece of paper until I had my file ready). I walked through the door at the agreed time of 8.30am and I was feeling professional and ready to begin.

My placement mentor was phenomenal, amazing at her job and also very encouraging with myself – in particular when asking questions. So this made me feel very welcomed into the environment of my school. Focusing on what I have learned throughout the two week placement I can hands down say that I retained an exponential amount of knowledge from staff and pupils alike.

I was placed in a multi-composite school setting where there were only two classrooms. Class 1 contained primaries 1 through 4, and class 2 contained primaries 5 through 7. In total the school role is 22 which means that the children get a very attentive and privatised education. In addition to the small pupil role their is also an extremely small staff role, which consists of; head teacher, principle teacher (depute head), classroom assistant, two class teachers, clerical assistant and a janitor (who also is the cleaner and lunch lady).

Whilst on the topic of staffing, the dinner lady for the school actually doesn’t do any of the cooking. All of the school lunches desired by the children and staff are transported into the canteen via courier as there are not enough pupils for there to be a fully functioning kitchen capable of making its own meals. In addition to this fact, staff and pupils sit together in the detached canteen building where they discuss the weekend and act like normal people not students and teachers. This is extremely different to any school I have ever experienced, and this adds to the family environment and atmosphere the school thrives to encourage.

We did go on two trips with the children whilst at the school, personally I had an amazing time getting to know the children in a different light, yet we still managed to conduct some education on these trips. We went to build a bear at silverburn and then to the cook school of Scotland, this was an epic adventure for some of the children who come from small rural villages and had never been to Glasgow before.

The class structure in the school is just like any other, the teacher organises work based on ability which typically results in children being grouped by class. Although like any school some children are more advanced than others. This means that the children are required to work with the higher age group which for some can be an extremely daunting task, however on the other side of the spectrum there are children who have to work with the lower age group.

The behaviour in the school was impeccable and the children all got on great, which all relates back to the family environment the school attains. However, there were a few mishaps with the behaviour where children with specific support needs had shown themselves up but had not harmed anyone in any way. The school dealt with the specific children in specialised ways which have been developed over the length of time that the children had attended the school. By doing so most situations were diffused very easily. One child in particular is permitted to leave the school if things reach extreme meltdown for him – this didn’t happen often, only once or twice over the fortnight – but he had also had a day when nobody could console him and he was upset so myself and my student teacher colleague were not allowed to let the children leave the lunch hall. He was not violent or intending to harm anyone but he was emotional and the other children may have been afraid if they had seen him. Overall we learned a great deal from that sudden hands on moment where we had to take charge of all the pupils in the school.

Unlike most of my fellow students I was asked to make a statement to the police considering another event at the school. This statement was taken on the last day of placement and was an eye-opening experience because I was permitted to see that education doesn’t just concern the teaching of pupils but their overall welfare inside and outside of school. I will say upon reflection I was extremely upset by the situation but I am glad I had the chance to learn from it.

In conclusion, I adored my placement and learned a tonne of information. I would rush back in a heartbeat even knowing that its not all sunshine in rainbows, but when you start to see children achieve that is when you know you’ve done a great job. I cannot wait until my next placement and even more so to be out there as a fully qualified teacher.

Reflection on Placement

During my two week placement in a primary school I learnt lots about the many important positive and negative aspects of learning, behaviour and classroom management. The experience as a whole was a very positive one, the teachers were friendly and welcoming, and the pupils were well behaved and polite for the most part. I […]

During my two week placement in a primary school I learnt lots about the many important positive and negative aspects of learning, behaviour and classroom management. The experience as a whole was a very positive one, the teachers were friendly and welcoming, and the pupils were well behaved and polite for the most part.

I feel that through being in a school situated in a poverty stricken and deprived area I learnt how important support at home is, and how much of an impact it has on children if they don’t have that essential support. In primary 1 it was especially evident which children had positive home lives and which didn’t. Through their oral and written language skills I could see, without knowing much about them, that some had much more practice and encouragement than others at speaking and writing.

Behaviour was a major issue within the school, I was impressed at how well the teachers and classroom assistants were equipped to cope with very difficult situations. I learnt lots about the need to stay calm in the midst of pupils outbursts and constant disruptions. The school teachers used many effective strategies to combat children’s behaviour, but always handled issues sensitively as many of the children had serious issues beyond what they showed.

There were also many things I learned about literacy and numeracy lessons within the Curriculum for Excellence and how they are embedded in all aspects of learning. I got many ideas from teachers about lesson plans and different programs they use throughout the school, for example Big Maths, Number talks and North Lanarkshire’s Elkonin boxes. The teachers all seemed enthusiastic and eager to help the children extend their knowledge. To do this they used different and innovative lessons to engage the pupils. Through this It was clear to me that active learning is essential within the classroom, specifically in the infants lessons as they often don’t have the attention span to listen and write for too long.

Also, I enjoyed working with small groups in different classes across the school and it taught me how beneficial one to one attention can be for children who are struggling in some curricular areas.

After reflecting on my time on Placement I have realised how much I have learnt from the experience, and how important it was for me. I am glad I got to engage with teachers and learners throughout the school when I visited all of the classes. I feel I realised how different all of the stages can be for the teacher. Overall it was a very positive experience and I am really looking forward to next years Placement.