End of Placement: Reflection of Impact (750 words max) – Section 4

Feelings before: 

Prior to coming to Germany, I felt a mixture of emotions that were veering between excitement and anxiety. I knew that I was doing the right thing with going to Germany due to my past experiences and the types of professional development I wanted to gain. Particularly in the understanding of the differences in culture and the understanding of the German language. Furthermore, lots of planning in terms of gaining a police check, doctors certificate and other documentation proved that I was still very hungry for working in a school environment within a country completely different from my own. It was all a whirlwind of planning coinciding with revision for assessments at the university that when it was finally time to go I almost felt numb towards the whole placement. It didn’t seem real until I stepped off the plane at Stuttgart airport.

Feelings during:

At first, I felt a little out my depths in terms of the language barrier. Although, I have experience and knowledge of the German language, I have never really utilised it in its natural environment where people speak at a greater pace in conversations. However, through time and practice I was able to engage more in conversations. At ISS, I felt very welcomed from the very beginning. What was beneficial was that I would utilise the language of German with my host family and then use English when working at ISS (except in the kids’ specialist German lessons or when it was required to speak German). It struck a perfect balance between the two and allowed me to gain new skills in the language of German (both conversational skills in everyday life and didactic presentation skills for when I worked in German lessons at the school) whilst still retaining my teaching in English. I have also gained lots of new skills beyond the placement itself: I have driven on the other side of the road on the Autobahn German highways, I’ve shared my Scottish heritage through cooking meals and baking and I have been able to adapt to a whole new way of life in Germany beyond just my professional self at the school.

Feelings after: 

I feel that this placement has been very successful for me in terms of what I wanted to achieve from it. I have grown as a person so much and become far more autonomous and independent in terms of the way that I conduct myself in my personal and professional life and I feel far more confident in being able to share my opinions more openly in both environments. I just can’t believe how quickly it has all passed me. It has been an intense two months that have been filled with lots of learning points in life itself.

Progress on goals/audit:

I believe I have really progressed in sharing opinions with others because I originally always felt apprehensive to speak out on particular issues or I always felt that I didn’t have a fully formed opinion on my “educational philosophy” because I had only completed one placement. However, working in an international school in Stuttgart, Germany has really shown me a completely different outlook on education and what it means to be a successful school as a whole. It has given me many areas to construct opinions and confidence to share them openly. Not only this, but I have, over my 2 months of being here, been able to work with people from all walks of life and of various backgrounds and languages which has extended my skill in teamwork.

Overall Conclusion:

The placement has been very successful in what I aimed to set out: I feel I’ve improved in my German language knowledge. I have been able to gain firsthand knowledge of the culture of Germany. I have learned so much about the system of the International Baccalaureate and the PYP and I am able to see similarities and differences between it and the Scottish Curriculum, allowing me to form a critical eye on my own educational philosophy. I have also been able to see the progression of an educational system from all grade levels and have been able to teach and observe at different levels also, which has expanded my knowledge of systems that can be used within a school environment later in my career. The skills I have gained will last me a lifetime and I really have learned a lot from going out of my comfort zone.

[744 words]

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