I decided I would write a small reflection of how I felt about my 1st year placement and what I learned from it. I decided to do this so I could refer back to it at a later date and see how I have developed over the years. I was teaching a Primary 7 class that was quite challenging but thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
Even though I enjoyed my placement, my time teaching and getting to know the pupils and the staff I felt very challenged during my placement. The school I was placed in was in a very deprived area in Dundee where the children had a number of home issues that would very often be brought into the classroom. My teacher informed me on what was going on in a lot of the pupils lives so I was prepared for any situation and so I was aware what pupils may be of a greater concern. My teacher informed me also of pupils who often struggled in the playground and may need a ‘quiet time’ after playtime or lunchtime to calm themselves down and refocus on the work they would have to complete. Pupils would take this ‘quiet time’ sitting at a desk outside the classroom door either colouring or just simply sitting with their head on the desk. I noticed that this benefited a lot of pupils as it allowed them to calm down and relax after what could have been a stressful time in the playground. My mentor and myself would always offer if the pupils wanted to discuss what happened in the playground that led to them needing to sit outside for ‘quiet time’. This allowed pupils to talk with us in a quiet and safe space without the fear of classmates overhearing how they felt or what had happened.
During my time on placement I learned very quickly that I had to build a solid and strong relationship with the pupils I was teaching as there were quite a few behavioural problems within the class. My teacher advised me that by building these strong and positive relationships with the pupils that they are more likely to respect me as an authority figure and listen to the instructions I give. Throughout my placement I feel I continued to develop a positive relationship with every pupil as many opened up to me about serious issues that they needed help with such as mental health issues that I then passed onto my teacher. I felt it was integral when having serious conversations with pupils that I informed them that I was going to have to tell my mentor so they did not feel I was betraying their trust or going behind their back in anyway. I faced many behavioural issues whilst teaching such as pencils being thrown violently during class time, physical and verbal fights and swearing directed at myself during class time. My mentor was a great help during all this as she prepared me previously about what to do in these situations and how to handle them with the most positive outcome. I definitely did struggle with behaviour management at first but I quickly developed these skills with the assistance of my class mentor, other members of staff and through research and academic reading.
I really enjoyed and learnt a lot from my placement. I saw how the topics we had discussed and learnt about in lectures applied to how I taught and dealt with particular situations within the school environment. It definitely improved my confidence in the sense of talking to the class and teaching as a whole. I am definitely nervous for my upcoming placement but having a great experience on placement the first time around eases my nerves more and gives me the confidence to do it all again!
I found this video explaining a Drama lesson very helpful. It gave me a real insight into how to structure a drama lesson and made me feel more confident in planning a lesson based around drama. It starts off explaining that you should have a “Drama Contract” with the pupils as it helps with behaviour management. This helps to keep the children on task and provides a stimulus of reflection for the teacher. If the lesson gets out of control or something goes wrong the teacher can look back at what went wrong and what part of the “Drama Contract” the pupils did not stick to, equally so if something goes right.
In the video it then explains the importance of a warm-up in drama and how beneficial it is. The leaders of the lesson explain that it helps to ready the mind and the body for the activities that are planned for the lesson. Later in the video the participants in the class start to make like between drama and other subjects such as literacy. This really helped to open my eyes to the fact that you don’t just have to have a lesson only based on drama, you can relate other subjects into your drama lesson. An example of this could be if the pupils were learning about World War 2 you could structure drama lesson around this. This could be done by getting the children to act out children getting taken away from their mothers or getting them to act out a scene where everyone has just found out the war is over. By doing this is allows the pupils to understand the emotions and events that occurred throughout the war.
By structuring the lesson in this way it helps to give the teacher a step by step guide as to how the lesson will go. In saying that a practitioner also need to be flexible as the lesson may not always go to plan as there may some pupils leaving class to go on a trip. By having a well-planned lesson it also helps the teacher keep focus which therefore also helps to keep the pupils focus. This is because if the teacher is seen to be focused and on task this sets an appropriate example to the children which in turn keeps them on task.
This week we were assigned to watch a couple of videos after out first lecture on Health and Well Being. I found the videos very interesting and quite eye opening.
Before the watching the videos I was aware that a child’s home life and health could affect their school life and have an impact on learning. However, the information spoke about really opened my eyes not only on how these factors can affect their learning but also their future development and how they function in adult life. It really made me think about how a child’s early life could have an affect as who they are going to be as adults.
I also watched the video given to us on sugar intake in Ireland. This was to be watched before our next lecture on Health and Well Being. I found this video fascinating as it really showed me how much sugar we eat without realising and how it can be detrimental to our health. I am very much looking forward to the next lecture as this topic really interests me. As future educators I think it is very important we continue to educate children on the correct foods to eat in order to fight the growing battle with obesity.
Going into the dance workshop today I was pretty apprehensive into what it was going to entail as I am not the best dancer and have hardly any rhythm! Despite this I had a great time and had a real laugh throughout. It was not only a learning experience but also allowed me to get to know others in my class.
The workshop really gave me an insight into what dance in primary school is like and how it can be adapted to relate to many other subjects within the curriculum. It helped to show me that it doesn’t have to be overly complicated and the teachers don’t have to always do a lot of demonstrating. In fact it is sometimes better to allow the children to come up with their own moves as it allows them to use their imagination. As someone who is not at all into dancing and never has been it was quite worrying for me that I potentially might have to teach children how to dance/routines. However Eilidh reassured me that there is many different and creative ways of teaching it and that it doesn’t always have to be a set routine.
A key message I took from today’s workshop is that dance does not always have to entail a set routine that you have to teach the kids. Dance can be taught in a variety of creative ways and can be linked into many different topics and subjects. I also learnt from Eilidh that dance can be understood by everyone whether you are deaf or speak another language as all you need to do is show someone an action for them to get involved and understand. I will definitely take this into placement as I don’t know what challenges I may face or what different types of children may be in my class. I also learned throughout this workshop to be a bit more relaxed and confident as it doesn’t matter if I look a bit ridiculous as long as I have fun, look confident and make sure the kids have fun and learn something that’s all that’s important.
I found Tuesdays lecture to be very interesting and a real insight into how racism is still a big issue. Throughout the lecture we were shown many different historical events about horrific racist attacks and groups. We looked into the details of the Emmet Till attack and how he was brutally attacked by two white men. It shocked me how bias the legal system was and how to men who brutally attacked a child got away without any punishment.
It then got me thinking about how racism still exists today. We often see in the news about how police brutality against African Americans and how it is often overlooked. The world and society has definitely come a long way compared to when we look back at the brutality during the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the lecture we were shown examples of modern day racism such as on social media and racist comments made by celebrities and public figures. This really opened my eyes to how racism is still so present in the modern day world, it’s just more hidden in some aspects.
It made me think about how as a future teacher I do not want this behaviour to be carried on and for my pupils to think that it is ok. You should view everyone as equal no matter their gender, race or background and as a future teacher I want to teach my pupils this.
The link below is to the activity I had to complete for week 3 on Managing My Learning.
B_Managing My Learning
I have attached a link to the work document below.
A_Identifying Skills and Abilities
On Tuesday I had my first workshop which I was really excited about as I didn’t quite know what to expect. We were told to split into different groups and each group was to sit at a separate table. Each group was then given an envelope each which had various different resources in it such as paper, pens and pencils. We were then informed that we were to come up with something that would make our first week on campus easier. We were then given 10 minutes to come up with an idea and present it to the rest of the workshop group. When we opened our envelope it contained two post-it notes, a sheet of white A4 paper, a strip of blu-tack, a pen, a pencil and a few paper clips.
In that time my group came up with a leaflet that contained a weekly planner for your first week on campus, important phone numbers, a mini campus map, a section on fun things to do and a notes section. We came up with this idea as we all felt that it would of been useful to have as we often felt like we were bombarded with too much information that it was a bit overwhelming at points.
We were then given two minutes to express our ideas to the rest of the groups. After we presented our ideas we didn’t really get any feedback from our lecturer which made us feel like our idea was not as good as the others. We then noticed a couple of the other groups were getting positive feedback on there idea and how they could maybe improve it.
We then had another ten minutes to use the resources we were given to come up with a prototype of our idea. After the ten minutes we then had two minutes to present our prototype. My group did not use the full two minutes and this is when we really noticed that we were being treated differently as our lecturer said to my group “is that it?”. We thought this was really rude and started to question why we were being treated differently to others. As time progressed we saw that other groups had a vast range of resources and materials when compared to us. Other groups had better materials such as coloured paper, plenty of pens and sellotape. When we were presenting our ideas we noticed our lecturer was more engaged and focused on groups with a better range of resources, this made us feel like our idea was not good enough and that we were a bit stupid. At the end of the task my group was given a score of 3/10 whereas other groups got 8/10. This is when we questioned our lecturer on why we scored a lot lower than other groups. We were then informed on what the task was really about and then we realised that the lecturer was making rude comments etc on purpose.
On reflection of this task I feel as if I am now more aware that these behaviours are sometimes displayed when they shouldn’t be. It definitely highlighted the fact that some children and schools are discriminated against due to their background. Our lecturer showed us behaviours that as a teacher but also as a good person that we should never display towards anyone. For myself it really made me think about how some schools do not receive as much resources as others and how it can be difficult it could be to come up with new and creative ideas for classes with only little amounts of resources. I also found that the groups with more resources did not notice that other groups had a smaller range of materials available to them. This displays how often people can be oblivious to others having less than them or to people who are struggling. As teachers we need to work to make sure this does not happen in the classroom as often teachers are put in a situation where some children do not have as much as others and they have to make sure that each child still has the same opportunities no matter their background. I believe it is important as teachers that we provide every child with an equal opportunities as some children may come from a more poverty stricken area than others so may not be able to afford as much as others. I think that as teacher we need to be especially aware of this as it can have a negative impact on a child’s learning as they may not want to come to school as they do not have as much resources and learning materials as others. If we become more aware of this it will then result in a more positive learning environment for children therefore improving their overall education.
Ever since the start of high school I have always dreamed of being a primary teacher due to my own experiences in school. During my primary school years I had both positive and negative experiences with teachers, this inspired me to apply for the primary education course. In my early years I had the most kind, caring and inspiring teachers. They motivated me to learn and enjoy my education journey. Due to the great relationships I had with my teachers it made me want to be like them and make education exciting for the next generation of children, just as they did for me.
However in my later years of primary school I did not have such a great relationship with my teacher. She made me lose confidence and eventually not want to go into school. Even though this one particular teacher ruined the learning process for me it motivated me even more to become the teacher she wasn’t. I wanted to make sure that the future generations never had to experience what I had to go through due to this one teacher.
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