When maths is mentioned in a conversation, be that in or out of a school, the discussion normally progresses to a point where each person in the group identifies as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at maths. As a society we have embedded the idea that not being good at maths can be because of genetics, bad past teachers or simply “not having a maths brain”. This fixed attitude has the possibility to lead children to dismiss maths at a young age – preventing them from developing maths into the transferable skills needed for many aspects of society and future careers. My experience of maths both in Primary and Secondary school was for the most part positive. Obviously, I had some bad experiences with topics that I had to work harder to understand or teachers who did not hold such a positive attitude towards maths however maths was something that I always did. There was never a point in school where maths was not part of my life. Reflecting on this I think that children deserve a place to explore maths the way they would a subject they had never done before, without the immediate catagorisation of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at it. A haven for maths where children can decide how they feel about maths without the opinions of others impacting their decision. I want my future classroom to be this place.
Classroom organisation and management are two practices whereby a portion of the process is influenced by the person behind the teacher. I mean this in the most basic way – personal pedagogy and values will impact outputs such as the choice of what subjects to display on walls, the seating plan and the priorities within it, or even the main behavioural rules within a classroom. Possibly to an unconscious level. Competing with and complementing personal beliefs I find my ‘teacher persona’. What I say and how I say it when in ‘teacher mode’. This gets created from a recepie of the school around me, my teacher training and the standards and regulations underpinning teaching. Non-verbal communication supports important aspects of maintaining control over a classroom – personality, emotional regulation and self presentation. Managing a classroom effectively boils down to the Classroom Management Plan regarding behaviour and physicalities. The approaches taken to rewarding supportive, enthusiastic, overall positive behaviour and sanctioning disrespectful or disruptive behaviour. Reflecting on the reading and the new learning I have to say that I don’t know how to present the ‘Miss Queen’ representative of this control of the classroom. I know my values and beliefs and can try to expand that into an environment such as a classroom but beyond that I need to tentitively step into the role I need to fill – Miss Queen.
When reflecting on my first semester in university and trying to identify a moment that allowed me to develop as a professional a specific experience stands out in a way that others do not. One of my frist academic essays at university – in what way do values underpin society. Looking back, I can safely say I underestimated the length of time a university level essay takes to write. Well not the writing as much as the editing: a process that should have its own minute in the limelight. Culling, refining and remodelling an essay with multiple avenues to go down for your answer started off being a daunting thought but dividing the essay into each paragraph made the bitter pill easier to swallow. Reflecting on the experience of leaving myself under 24 hours to complete an essay that was worth 100% of one of my three modules I can say that it will not be happening again. The unnecessary amount of pressure put on myself by a cocktail of ever-decreasing time and personal desire to get the best grades I am capable of lead to a productive, but needless, all nighter.
Why do I want to be a teacher? A question I’ve been asked since I applied, even before. The answer is the same as most; inspiration from a teacher I had in primary school. However, it was not for writing or music but for maths and science. My teacher, with her signature Sketchers Sandals, allowed us to explore science and maths in a way, until then, I had not had the ability to do. I loved it. Her passion and confidence for the subjects that were not typically ‘fun’ created an environment that allowed us to grow as pupils. I want to do this for the next cohort of children – show them that maths can be enjoyed and that science is fun. To give them a space where maths can be explored with the same level of curiosity as other subjects, without the automatic categorization of children being good or bad at maths.