A learning experience that stands out for me is a topic on advertising I did in primary six. We were put into groups and had to come up with a type of perfume. Once we created our idea we then had create different ways to advertise it. We made leaflets and posters but the one that sick out in my mind is we created an advert. I remember being extremely nervous as it was being filmed. But I had confidence in my team. We had practiced what we were going to say and what angles we were going to film. It was all done in one take. So there was no room for mistakes. But I plucked up the courage and with the support of the team we created our advert. Once all the adverts were filmed we watched everyone’s. I remember feeling immensely proud of what we managed to achieve. I conquered my fear and we made a compelling advert. What I remember most about that process was bonding with my team mates. I had a great time and really enjoyed making it. I think it stands out as it was out of the norm. It was something we did not normally do and it was something I could relate to. We had all seen adverts on the TV. So the prospect of making something I saw all the time was exciting. We were not stuck behind out tables, we were being quite active and it was thrilling.
We recently had a maths lecture pointing out everybody’s feelings towards maths. What became clear was that there was a theme. Everybody had at some point had a bad experience about maths; that therefore affected their confidence. There is the overall view that a lot of people were ‘bad at maths’ and that was ‘ok’ because everybody is. It makes you wonder where we get this view point from.
In the lecture we pointed out that this opinion started when we were taught maths. So this anxiety from maths came because of the way we were taught. Our lecturer said if we are anxious about something we often teach it the way we were taught; and so the cycle continues.
From further reading (Haylock 2014) I found out even teachers have anxiety about teaching maths. They had the same worries that I have. For example:
- They were frightened of maths
- Often found it frustrating
- Only thought there was one correct answer
- Was told they were bad a maths
- Only remembered things by rote
This made be relived to realize that I was not the only one. So I feel we need to change the way we teach maths. Allow children to understand that its ok it get an answer wrong. What matters most is that you understand the process and not the end result. Overall we should try and make maths fun, so that children look back with happiness and not fear.
Haylock, D. (2014) Mathematics explained for primary teachers. 5th edn. London: Sage Publications
To me this is about being truthful. Not lying to your pupils. Telling them yes the work might be hard but with practice you will get there. Being honest means being real; if you are honest with your pupils you will build up trust.
Teachers should wait and show perseverance. If a child does not get the answer the first time a teacher should not get angry. They should stay calm and explain then question in a different way. A teacher should help the child at their speed. As rushing them could mean that the child has not actually learned anything.
This is having a sense of worth. A teacher should have respect for their pupils and their self. It is a teacher developing high esteem for that child or praising them. It’s a teacher thinking that a child’s work or personality is of excellence.
This is a teacher showing; generosity, humanity, empathy and tenderness. A teacher will have a gentle manner towards their pupils and they will take the child’s feelings into consideration. A teacher will not want to hurt the child, but will want them to feel better.
A teacher might be fair in allowing the children to take their turn. He/she will give the children all equal attention. The teacher will make sure the children all share and are disciplined consistently.
I suppose you could say my gender had a big impact on my schooling. When I was a child I went to an all-girls school. I attended the school all through primary and the first three years of secondary. So because of this as I female I always felt encouraged. I was always told boys were just a distraction. My school gave me such confidence to be a female. We were told we could be anything we wanted to be. Gender did not affect our future. We didn’t care about looking good, there was no one to impress. Instead we just got on with our work. However with all these positive messages there were still some old fashioned views. In primary six we had a school dance with the all-boys school we were linked to. I remember being told that the boys will ask you to dance; and to just accept as it took them a lot of courage to ask. There was no mention of the girls being able to ask the boys. We just had to stand and wait until a boy asked you to dance. This was a very old fashioned view.
Then from senior four upwards I attended two mixed schools. The classes were louder and more disruptive. The girls wore more make-up and dressed to impress. This was something I was not used to. When it came to sports the girls and the boys were always separated. The girls did hockey and the boys did rugby or football. There was no choice in the matter. The girls could not choose to do rugby and the boys could not choose to do hockey. This only changed when I moved to my last school. There was a less gender stereotyping there. You were free to choose any sport you wanted. The girls could fix a car motor and the boys could play hockey or make a dress. Yet when it came to the Christmas balls it was still expected that the boys were to ask the girls to be their date. If a boy did not ask you then you had to go alone. Which was not frowned upon, however most people did have dates.
So my gender mostly only affected me positively throughout my childhood. Being at all-girls was very empowering. I was and still am very happy to be a female.
What made me want to become a teacher?
I think it was many things really. When I was little I always ‘played teacher’ at home. But I never really thought of becoming a teacher until I was a little bit older. When I was in primary four I had the most awful teacher. One day I sat thinking I could do a better job than her! So when I was older I did my work experience in a primary school. It was wonderful! For the first time I felt at home in the classroom. This got me thinking more and more that maybe I could do this! When I went to college that’s when I realized that I could become a teacher. Working with children was something I enjoyed doing and now it’s the only thing I want to do.
The kind of teacher I want to be?
I would like to be kind and caring. However I will be firm and discipline when it is needed. I want to be the kind of teacher children are not afraid to talk to. I want children to be free to ask questions and know that I will do my best to listen and answer them. Children should feel encouraged and happy in my classroom. I will be patient and listen to any problems any child may have.