Overall throughout my experience on placement I really enjoyed it. It was a different experience from what I have had in schools before as before I would have been taken as a spare pair of hands in the role of a classroom assistant and I felt that the children respected me more knowing that I was training to be a teacher. It felt as if I was more responsible being a student teacher than when I was a practitioner during my HNC in college. On my first week of placement I was in a primary seven class and on my second week I was in a primary two class. Working from the two ends of the school gave me an experience working within two extremely different environments were there are two different teaching techniques and reward systems.
During my first year placement I felt that it was mostly having to sit at the side of the class and watch teachers and how they teach I think it would be a better idea if the “observing” was more interactive and as a student in first year you are able to plan activities for the children. I planned activities during my HNC at college and I felt that the children really enjoyed being able to work with a new person. Throughout placement I asked if I was able to plan an activity as I felt I was sitting at the side to often and I wanted to become more involved and practice teaching in front of a small group. I took an activity for time and also a listening/concentration activity on my last day. This was effective for me personally because I was able to plan an activity for a small group similar to what the teacher was doing with the rest of the children in the class. The children seemed to enjoy the activities because they were telling me that it was fun and they were excited when they had another activity in the afternoon.
Generally I think overall placement was a fun experience that I was learning everyday. I was learning what I need to improve on and I was learning about the different ways that teachers from two different sides of the school teach. I learned that I should always ask teachers about different things so that I keep myself right and not go by others words. I also learned that maths can be interactive through song and also some games that other teachers may not play with children in a classroom environment. I also learned a little bit more on activities to use for listening and talking through literacy. Finally I learned that teaching and strategies have to be different and you have to be adaptable to the environment that you are in because one year you could be in a primary 1 class then the next in a primary 7 class and the way you approach teaching to 4-5 year old’s is different to the way you approach teaching to 10-11 year old’s. To have a trial at this was beneficial to me as I had to adapt as quick as a week to the different environments. This will be a big learning curve for me to take on within the next 3 years during my placement time.
Working in a school on placement for two weeks has shown me that Primary Teaching is definitely what I want to do as a career. I wish that my placement lasted longer. I am excited to see what future placements bring and what else I will learn from them.