‘What made you want to teach?’
I get asked this question many times, and yet the answers are endless. There are so many reasons why I want to work with children and stem out into the world of collaborative teaching. However, my desire to become a primary teacher was first ignited when I was a young girl. My Granny told me stories about the rewarding warmth she felt when watching the children she taught grow into strong individuals. My goal one day is to also experience this worthwhile feeling.
Through this, I began to grasp at as many opportunities as possible to work with younger children, both within and out with my high school. I worked extremely hard at my subjects in school, making sure I was academically capable to study teaching at university. This included challenges in subjects I was never the most talented at, including maths, which eventually paid off in the end of my school career.
Although I had the grades to continue my education career at university, I was young for my year at school and felt mentally unprepared for the challenges I may experience away from home and in a new environment. While I also had practical experience in a variation of childhood settings, I wanted to take some time to branch out and experience more in the actual classroom setting. This led to my decision to train as a Childhood Practitioner at college for a year. This brought me so many vibrant learning opportunities, as I watched the children I worked with develop and flourish throughout the year.
Through my college course I learnt so much more about the responsibilities of a teacher in order to provide the best possible care and service for young people. I learnt valuable theory such as language development, the significance of safeguarding, and the most interesting to me which was the importance of play opportunities for children. Simply giving a child the chance to play outside can develop their sense of nature and resilience. It can also develop their ability to create stories, which can help to broaden their creativity and imagination. My growing love and interest for the topic of play was the centre of my University of Dundee interview presentation.
One experience from my college course that made me want to teach even more was when I was given the responsibility of planning a child-led learning and play activity for one of the children in my placement’s class. For this I had to use a range of planning tools such as Bloom’s Taxonomy, Tina Bruce’s 12 principles of free-flow play, narrative observation cards, the child’s personal learning profile and many more. Through this I noticed that the child thoroughly enjoyed drawing detailed pictures of dinosaur toys that they played with. I was able to pick out areas of development within the child’s learning, and set up an activity that was playful but also practised the child’s skills.
Planning activities and having that one-to-one time with children thoroughly secured my decision to go to university, as my passion for teaching continued to grow throughout my college experiences.