My first semester at the University of Dundee has been filled with countless learning opportunities and times of significant personal growth. However, one of the most significant moments of the past few months was during a lecture given on the effects of poverty. Before this specific lecture, I had, (admittedly) not taken much thought on the consequences for those living in persistent poverty and the challenges that these families face day after day. It was this moment, within my first semester, that I truly began to think perceptively about the obstacles that the children who I will come to teach will have to overcome in order to experience education in the same way as their peers. Having the knowledge that all children are experiencing the world differently had struck me as particularly poignant in today’s society.
After the lecture was over, I was not completely satisfied with just two hours’ worth of insight into those living in poverty and so I began my own research into the topic. It is safe to say that I was gripped, both by a sense of complete disbelief in my previous ignorance and by a newfound need to ensure that those children who do live in poverty, experience their education in an equal way with their peers and succeed to their fullest capacity. I was dumbfounded by the information that I found. On news articles, journals and even a number of documentaries, the revelation that children of poverty are at an extreme disadvantage was stark. Knowing that these children; will eat less meals than the rest of their class, such as missing breakfast (affecting levels of concentration and having a detrimental effect on their learning); will become socially excluded due to a lack of personal hygiene, as families are unable to regularly access hot water and being unable afford certain resources, so children frequently miss taking part in activities such as going outside during playtime in the winter as they cannot afford a coat, scarf, gloves or hat has allowed me to embrace my own personal values and a keen interest in creating a more equal sense of social justice within my professional practice.
Section 3.4.2 of the Standards for Registration (SPR) indicates the importance of and ways in which reflection can play a part in the development of the prospective teacher. Reflecting on my values and how the critical moment of sitting in that lecture theater and becoming aware of the injustice of poverty has allowed me to consider how this will benefit me as a professional in education. Having a knowledge of my fundamental values will allow me, in the future, to encourage all children, from all backgrounds to achieve their best. Reflecting upon my learning will inevitably allow me to grow and develop a set of principals in which I can utilise to reach my potential in teaching and therefore consequently allow my pupils to reach theirs. I am beginning to become aware of the importance of reflection and how it will allow me as a prospective teacher, to continue to learn and grow much further into my teaching career.