Author Archives: Allan Getty

Pre Learning from Life Thoughts

Here I am, sitting in a hotel in London the day before I embark on my Learning from Life placement in Slovenia! This will be the first time I have been abroad with just friends which is something that really excites me but brings on nerves at the same time. I’m going to discuss a few thoughts that I have before I set off on Friday.

The opportunity was something that I just could not pass up! The chance to experience a totally different culture, country and ultimately way of teaching. I feel that the opportunity will not only help me as a teaching professional but also help me as a person. This opportunity will allow me to gain independence in my life, having lived at home during my time at university this is something I have no been able to fully experience.

The whole point of this placement is that we learn through our life experiences, at first a lot of reactions to this module are, “why are we not just teaching? etc, I feel that giving us a broad look at different placement will ultimately aid us when we are teachers ourselves. There is a whole lot more to life than what we do in the classroom, obviously this is extremely important but having other experiences whether it be in a foreign country or in a completely different setting will benefit everyone massively in the long run.

I am also extremely excited and slightly nervous to meet the class I am going to be working with on Monday. I believe the class I am going to be working with are going to be of around P1 age children. It will be extremely interesting to see how teaching differs in Slovenia to that of Scotland.

Sitting here today it has finally hit that I am actually doing this, I am going away abroad for my placement. If it wasn’t for the encouragement from my friends to go through with this I really don’t think I would have. I am honestly so happy that I did decide to do it as I know how much I am going to learn during this experience.

Tomorrow is going to be such an exciting day, finally arriving in the city of Ljubljana, which I have been told is absolutely outstanding. I am also looking forward to seeing where we are going to be staying and meeting our new housemates from the University of Minnesota.

 

Pre-Visit Placement Day

On Tuesday, I had my pre-visit day for my first year placement. The began with me extremely nervous but also very excited, I arrived at the school at around 8:40am and was greeted by the head teacher who introduced herself and led me to my class. Having the head teacher greet me at the door relieved some of my nervous and allowed me to start to enjoy the experience more. We arrived at my class and were greeted by the class teacher, she introduced herself and made me feel extremely welcome in the class. She then explained to me how the children work and the different levels that they work at, this helped to give me an understanding of what to expect and also how I should develop my own lessons when we start placement.

The bell went and the children entered the room, they all looked at me in wonder, I could see that they were eager to ask questions and find out who I was. The teacher then introduced me to the children as “Mr Getty”. The children all seemed very excited to have a new teacher in the class.

Once the children had started to work I took the opportunity to go around and speak to the children individually and get to know them and asked them what their names were. They all responded very well and took part in the discussions that I was having with them. This opportunity was something that I feel will aid my placement overall as this gave me a chance to speak to the children and gauge what their interests were and basically just start to get to know them.

Throughout the day I helped the teacher by taking different groups during different activities, before play time I took a group and done sums on the interactive table with them, at first they actually had to show me how to work the table as they were all experts in using it. I helped to explain the different sums that they how to do and helped to understand it to them when they didn’t quite understand it. Once they had finished the sums they showed me all of the different features of the table.

After play time the children literacy, this took the form of looking at similes and metaphors, again I helped by taking a group and working through a work sheet with the and helping them with any tricky spelling words. I feel that this has helped my development as this allowed me to interact with the children regarding a task and explain it to them. This gave me a taste of what it will be like when actual placement starts.

The day ended with the children using laptops from after lunch time to the end of the day the children used laptops to research World War 2 and the different countries of Europe. During this activity I did not take a specific group, however I went around everyone and discussing with the what they had been looking at and how they were getting on.

During both play time and lunch time I went to the staff room with my mentor, the staff room was a very friendly place with very friendly and welcoming staff. Everyone talked to me and asked how my day was going and other things about my course and me in general. This really put me at ease as it is really good to have supportive and welcoming people around you.

All in all I feel that this was a very informative and worthwhile day. This gave me the opportunity to meet and work with my class who I will have whilst undertaking my placement and it also gave me a feel for what to expect when I go back.

One thing that sticks in my mind from this day was at the end of the day when I was leaving the school I heard one of the children say to their friends, “That’s Mr Getty”, they then shouted “Goodbye Mr Getty”. This gave me a sense of achievement as it was clear that the children had welcomed me into the class and were happy to have me there.

Semester One: The Positives of Reflection

Now that Semester One is in the history books, I believe that it is now time to reflect on how I feel it went and in particular, a part that I felt was particularly successful. Semester One consisted of two shared modules, Working Together and Values. Both of these modules have widened my view on reflection as it was important to reflect on how we performed in these modules for assessment. One part of semester one that I feel was the most important to my development was the poster part of the working together module. This focused on what I had learned personally so this gave me a chance to reflect on what I had learned as part of this module. At first I found it quite challenging as I felt it was hard to look at my own learning and find positives and negatives. However after looking at different theories and discussing with others in my Working Together group this helped me in being able to reflect on my performance. The reason that this is my most important moment of Semester One is that reflection is something that is need and will be used, not only through my 4 years at University but throughout my teaching career. It is crucial that a teacher is able to reflect on their practice and find good points and also points that they can improve on. This does not only help the teacher improve but also makes sure that the children get the best possible learning.

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For me, reflection is crucial, it is something that we need to be able to improve our practice. If we don’t reflect on what we are doing then there is no way we can fix something if it is not working. What we all want is what’s best for the children and the only way that we can successfully achieve this is by continuously reflecting on what we are doing and improving on this.

Second Attempt at the ‘NOMA’

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my first experience with the ‘NOMA’, it is safe to say that I was not at all pleased with the result that I got. Therefore, this week I decided that I would give it another go. This time however my surroundings were much different, I was not doing it in a busy cafe surrounded by people talking, this time I done it in the Library where it was much calmer and a better atmosphere to be doing an assessment.

When doing the actual thing I felt much more relaxed and felt that I understood the questions more this time around. I took my time with each question, this again helped me to understand it better. The first time around I felt that I over complicated a lot of the questions, this was not the case this time, I looked at the question as a whole and used the correct steps to solve it, I realised that it really wasn’t supposed to be complicated at all.

Something else that I done different this time was that I went back and checked all of the questions again, just to make sure that I had answered everything and that I had done them correctly. Upon submitting it, it was revealed that I had done far better than my original attempt, this time I had achieved 82%. I believe that this is a better reflection of my understanding of maths, I believe that by looking at the questions that I got wrong I will be able to improve my score even further in the future.

First attempt at the “NOMA”

On Tuesday, I decided to finally take the bull by the horns and do the thing I had been dreading doing….. the “NOMA”. I have always felt that I struggled with maths when at school as I feel that I excel more in literacy subjects. However, I knew that it was something that I would have to do and in reality it was there to help me. Therefore, my friend and I decided to head over to the university library to attempt it. When went into the library to find that there was very little computers available so we ended up using the computers in the cafe. In hindsight this was probably not the best idea as there was constant comings and going with a lot of noise making it a very hard environment to concentrate in.

y actual experience of the “NOMA” is that it I actually over thought some of the questions, making them harder than they actually were. I worked my way through the questions, some of which I found very easy and some I found quite challenging. I came to the end of the test and with my every bit of courage I had I submitted it. I knew that there was room for improvement on a lot of the questions. The page loaded to say that I had achieved 52%, I felt that with more practice and in a better environment that I would be able to do much better. This will only help my understanding of maths and it will ultimately help me understand how to teach it. I will attempt this again in the future to try and see how I have improved.

Next week when I am able to go to the university library I will be attempting the “OLA”, I will reflect on my performance in this once I have completed it.

Values Module Workshop

On Tuesday, we had our very first values module workshop. We all went into this not know what we would be expected to do or what it would consist of. We started off by being organised into groups, this was done by a typical methods used in the classroom of having everyone line up in order of their birthday. We were then allocated a number 1-4, this would represent the group we were to go with. We then sat down at a table with the rest of our group, I already knew most people in the group so this helped when coming to the actual task in hand. A mysterious brown envelope was placed on the table, the excitement and wonder around the groups to the contents was amazing, everyone was so eager to find out what was in it. We were told that we were to make a guide for new students starting University and that we could only use the contents of the envelope and nothing else. When we opened the envelope we soon realised that the material we had was very little, we only had 3 pieces of paper, 1 pencil, 1 pen(which didn’t work), a few paper clips, rubber bands and 4 postet notes. At first glance it appeared that 2 of the other groups had far more resources than we did, except for one group who had far less than us. Everyone constructed their guides and throughout it appeared that the lecturer was favouring groups 1 and 2, rather than 3 (us) and 4. This became very apparent to us and this along with the lack of resources made us feel in someway underprivileged. We began to wonder why this was happening and questioned the fairness. It would later be revealed that all of this was part of a far larger plan. When we presented our guides, the lecturer again was very interested and full of praise for the first two groups, however when it came to us we were just told to sit down after finishing, I began to seriously wonder how this was fair as the other 2 groups were being heaped with praise. However, when it came to the final group the lecturer seemed completely disinterested with them and just looked around the room and at the clock during the entire presentation.

We were then let into a very big secret and that was the entire thing was an act and that the lecturer was told to act like that for the purpose of the task. This was ultimately done to show us how others feel in these situations in real life. I must admit that it really was not a nice thing to experience, however it has given me a great understanding. Furthermore, we were then told the significance of the different groups having the different amounts of materials, group 1 having the most and group 4 having the least. This signified how people can have very little in life. Also, during the activity, the group with the least tried to trade items with the group who had the most, the group declined as they already had everything the other group had and more. This shows what it can be like for people in society, there are people who have absolutely nothing and there are people who have everything they could ever want or need. This helped us to realise to an extent, how people who have nothing actually feel when they see others with excessive amounts of things that they may not actually need.  It is appalling that in the world today there are people and to a larger extent, countries who have absolutely nothing. there are some countries, where people don’t even have clean water, we turn on a tap and out pours water, they trek miles upon miles to find water, which is mostly dirty and infected with diseases, in what way is this fair? The short answer is, it is’t and that is exactly what this task was getting us to think about and I believe that it done that absolutely superbly.

I believe that this is also very evident in schools. Throughout my time in placement last year, I seen this every day and it absolutely broke my heart, knowing that there was not really anything that I could do. Children do not see anything as being wrong and they are just happy to be a school with their friends. Still this breaks my heart when I think back on these experiences, all I wanted was the best for the children and whilst they were in school I made sure that they had the best time they could. This is a very emotional subject for me when I think back and I would just like to end on this in everyday life there is always going to be people who are in group 4 and people who are in group 1 and that is the sad fact about the world we live.

Why teaching?

Why teaching? Teaching for me has been a dream job every since I was little. I have very fond memories of teachers from my time at school which inspired my decision to become a primary school teacher. I believe that the lasting impression a teacher makes on a child can shape them for life, positive experiences with your teacher at school is key and allows the child to enjoy their time at school and thrive. When leaving school I was the only male going into teaching whilst others were going into completely unrelated professions, I believe that teaching is not a job that you just chose to do, it is something that you are born to do, and I believe that I was born to be a primary school teacher.

Over the last few years since leaving school, I have taken very different paths to reach where I currently am. Upon leaving school I felt that my dream of becoming a teacher had been shattered when I was actually rejected from Dundee, following this I went on to do numerous courses at college, before finally earlier this year being accepted on to this course. The joy I felt when I was accepted was one of the greatest feelings that I have felt, realising that I had finally made the step to becoming a teacher.

Last year, when I was at college I done two placements in a primary school, one in P1 and the other in both P1 and P2. This was the first time I had the feel for what it is like to be a teacher and the first time I had been referred to as “Mr Getty”, this made me realise that my dream was actually coming true. When I was little I also wanted to be a superhero, however I eventually realised that I probably wouldn’t be able to be a superhero that flies or has x-ray vision however, I did realise that not all superheroes wear capes and that I was going to be the best superhero of them all….. a Primary Teacher.