Reflecting on Semester 1

One of the most important moments for my professional development in semester one would have to be the writing of my values essay.

When this assignment was assigned I was really excited and eager to get going with my reading, I actually started writing within the same week we got our assignment. I was really motivated and had such a positive outlook on this essay and really thought I was going to get a good grade but then life simply got in the way. The excitement faded of exploring the topic on which I had chosen (which was initially race) and the thought of actually sitting down to write the essay almost brought me to tears, so I delayed it as long as I could. Due to family circumstances I was not in my house a lot so I had little motivation, or time, to sit down and begin writing.

It got to about 2 weeks before the deadline and I finally went to the library, the essay I had begun to write was almost finished but me being me decided to start fresh. So, this time I chose to write about gender. This topic was something I felt passionate about as I’ve seen first hand how differently boys and girls get treated so I figured it would be easy. I realize on reflection that this was a very bad idea to change so last minute and the module leader even told me not to change but I ignorantly ignored their advice and began to write my new essay on gender.

Reflecting back I can see that this was a very unprofessional decision to make as I had not researched the topic and had done as much reading as I had on race, and my lack of reading was reflected in my poor grade. I suppose everyone will receive a bad grade at one point in their academic career so I am glad it did happen at this stage. If I was to write the essay again I would have stuck with the topic of race as I had more reading related to that, by starting over again (despite having passion) I made a mountain load of work out a mole hill. From this incident I have learned to never leave things last minute as it does not allow you to reach your full potential and it is just simply unprofessional. The effects of leaving things so last minute could have been much worse than just a bad grade, but I must say my lesson has been learned.

My mantra is now PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE!!

The first valuable lesson of many

The other day we had our first tutorial, for this we were put into 5 different groups. Each group was given a packet of resources, everyone would later come to find out that the resources in these packets extremely varied – some groups had lots whereas other groups had practically nothing. We were instructed to create something (just using our packet of resources) that someone just starting university could use. For this task I was in Group 5. My group was given roughly 4 paperclips, a sheet of plain A4 paper, 2 sticky notes, 2 rubber bands, 2 pens and finally a pencil.

To begin with we were pretty dumbfounded as to what we could make using our very limited resources, and our spirit was crushed even more when we looked to our left and seen that Group 1 probably had more resources than the other 4 groups put together. But, as a group we soldiered on and managed to come up with something – based on our limited resources – that could be deemed pretty useful. We decided to make an essentials kit which consisted of the pens, paperclips and sticky notes. (Genius, I know). The group as a whole was pretty pleased with our finished product as we didn’t have much to work with, there really was an overall sense of achievement. This was until we got feedback from our lecturer. She seemed very disinterested in the product we had created and it almost seemed like she thought what we had made was a joke. At this point I was feeling a little worried thinking the group must have done something wrong as other groups were getting compliments etc on their products, meanwhile we were getting basically overlooked. The lecturer then had to go round and score everyone’s finished product, my group ended up with the lowest score of all. A measly 1 out of 10. After receiving this score you could tell everyone in the group felt a little upset, we had tried our best and it just didn’t seem good enough. The atmosphere in the room was a little uncomfortable at this point, the groups who scored low were a little unsure of what to do and you could tell the groups who scored higher didn’t exactly want to celebrate what with the rest of us feeling down.

This is when the lecturer came clean with the class about the whole purpose of this activity. She had been given instructions to treat all of the groups differently, the group with the most stuff (Group 1) was to be given lots of attention and support and this was to diminish as she went along the groups – ultimately leaving Group 5 with no support whatsoever. We were told the purpose of this was to show what it is like in a classroom sometimes. Some kids have nothing, whereas some kids have lots and prosper as a result. The lesson behind this was that you can’t treat children differently and must try and divide your attention between you’re class. In addition to this, the message was that when we do become teachers we need to be able to identify when a child may need a little more help than others and we need to be prepared to work with this child to help them reach their full potential – not just ignore them. This was very eye opening as I realised this type of thing happens more often than not. When I look back at my education I can remember times in the classroom when the pupils who were doing well were given more praise and attention than they probably ever needed, while others were left in the background which I now know first hand is not a nice feeling. Overall, this was a fun first tutorial and I feel I learned a valuable lesson for my future career.