Category Archives: 3.4 Prof. Reflection & Commitment

Semester 1 – A reflection

Reflect on one of the most important moments for your professional development in semester 1 and write a post about what you think you have learned from this critical incident and what the process of reflection is beginning to mean to you.

Being entirely honest, beginning semester 1 I was doubtful of how much I was going to enjoy the content that lay ahead of me. Upon initial review, it didn’t seem overly related to Primary Education and I initially predicted I was in for a rather boring few months. However I am pleased to say this wasn’t the case.

The Values module focused on societal issues that I was interested in and could relate to (such as disability, racism and LGBT), but also covered some which were a little more unfamiliar to me and I wasn’t overly aware of initially such as poverty. I chose to focus on LGBT for my assignment as this was the societal issue that I  related to the closest. Researching it in greater depth Studying these societal issues and researching some in further depth for my assignment allowed me to not only broaden my understanding further but also make the connection between the module and the core principals of Primary Education. The reason for it’s presence in our education clicked and I understood it’s relevance and importance. Having an understanding of these issues and how to go about tackling them is a vital part of the  toolkit necessary to be a good Primary Teacher. On reflection, I wish that I had spent less time immersing myself in my chosen societal issue and more time actually compiling my essay and considering my academic Referencing. I under estimated how long including references would take and that is a point I endevour to improve upon in future submissions.

Also on the Working Together module, initially I was a tad skeptical of it’s relevance and importance to me as an Education student; after all I was training to be teacher not a Social Worker. However, like the Values module I soon realised it’s importance on not just me as an Education student, but all the Social Work and CLD students alongside me. A primary teacher, Social Worker, or CLD have to be aware of each other and the links that they have to ensure the welfare of every child trusted in their care is always considered and upheld. All three agencies can see a situation from a different angle and together can compile a very detailed understanding of that situation.

On a personal level Semester 1 at University has been a wonderful experience for me. It has allowed me to look back on recent chapters of my life in a reflective light. It has allowed me to have more confidence in my own abilities and believe in myself more. I didn’t think it had made an overly significant impact until it came to the build up of New Year, when like everyone else I began to think what I could do with it. However instead of magnifying my shortfalls I found myself thinking about what areas of myself I could pull up in. There are several parts of my experience that contribute to this; from the people I’ve met and friendships made, to University Coursework, and to personal changes that I’ve made.

All of these factors combined make me look forward to the rest of my time at University, and the experiences that it will entail.

“Get a grip” attendance campaign

An article published by the BBC caught my attention today, concerning pupils absences from school and the approach undertaken by one council to tackle it.

The “Get a grip” campaign was launched by East Sussex County Council which recently has faced significant backlash, and I can understand why.

The nature of the campaign can be encapsulated with one sentence “Good reasons for missing school – there are none”. This is alongside advice on “being more organised” the night before school.

In my opinion this alienates parents makes them feel like and come across as sub standard parents. The use of derogatory language will not motivate those who are guilty of not managing their child’s attendance effectively. Additionally, it could make the school and it’s staff appear more hostile and unapproachable.

It will also make parents who have always followed the rules and guidelines that the schools and local authorities set feel patronised, as if they are not being a proper parent who is not the one in control.

An overlooked issue by this campaign is those with dealing with serious and ongoing illnesses. Some children are unfortunate to have a long term health condition that makes everyday activities such as getting up and going to school considerably more difficult. This can be distressing enough for parents, and to then have a flyer sent through their door from the council telling them to “get a grip” on their child’s school attendance is far from helpful or constructive. Not the positive, friendly, approachable message we as future teachers are encouraged to promote.

One of the main issues I have with the council’s introduction of this campaign is that it contradicts one of their other guidelines; that parents should keep a child off school for 48 hours after a viral sickness bug. Parents are having to make a choice between the two guidelines. Which one are they going to break?

Don’t get me wrong I understand the reasoning behind the council’s campaign. Attendance within schools is carefully monitored and there are going to inevitably be some children in every school that have irregular and unexplained absences over the school year. However, to tarnish all parents with the same brush is not an appropriate way to deal with the issue.

In essence while this campaign is well principled and would work in theory practically this it is isolating to the child and parent and overall regressive for the future of teaching