My first year of University really has changed my perspective of teaching. When I first decided to be a teacher I thought that I would go to university and get told what all the basic contents are that need to be covered from Primary 1 to Primary 7. I knew that there would be a lot to do with child development and theories behind this, but I didn’t know we would look at ourselves as teachers. I had never really thought much further than this or about myself as a teacher. I knew that I wanted to make a difference in children life and help them succeed, but I hadn’t realised that the first step to doing this started with looking at myself, what I believe about what is important in teaching and what my beliefs and morals are.
But, the very first lecture of Values: Self, Society and the Profession changed this. I started to really question what I believe and the lectures where very though provoking. I started to really think about my values and morals and thinking about the experiences which shaped my thoughts and beliefs. This has progressed throughout my first year. I began to realise how much teachers really do, how much of an impact they can have not only on children but also on society, as well as how much in society can influence teaching.
My first-year placement did not fully go to plan with me having to change schools due to changes out with my control within my first school. I stayed in the Nursery for a week before moving to a school outside of Dundee. At first, I was stressed and worried and I didn’t like that things weren’t going to plan. When I arrived at the new school my teacher was off for my first week, this was also not ideal but again out with my control. As placement went on I found that I was good at being flexible and being able to take on lessons with being given short notice, sometimes on that same day, and still having the ability to come up with an effective and well-planned lesson plan. I realised if I hadn’t had that experience at the start of my placement I wouldn’t have been able to be as flexible. This also gave me a very realistic experience of what working as a teacher will look like in the future.
This placement gave me the ability to see what I thought was negative, turned out to be a very positive experience with a positive impact on my professional development. As Bass and Eynon (2009) describe the process of critical reflection, I can see that my first year at University has improved my skills of reflection, especially seeing what I can do to improve my practice. It has enabled me to think much more deeply about how I learn and why it is important for children in my class to know how they learn as well.