Today’s maths input from Tara Harper confirmed but also questioned many of my pre-existing morals surrounding the subject. For me, the foundation block when thinking about maths, and the whole curriculum in fact, is identifying and recognising that every child will start at a different level of understanding and will develop that understanding in different way and time.
Therefore, I thought a good place to start is to reflect to my early recollections of maths and I’ve realised that my relationship with maths has been very unsteady. I believe I started off reasonably strong in early primary school but as I progressed through school and moved to secondary I found I then struggled a great deal with maths around P7/S1 and developed a fear and discomfort going into the classroom (among reflection, I believe this was due to my teacher at the time). However, when I reached S3/4 and had a new teacher, my abilities shot back up as this teacher took the time to explain new concepts to me in a way that made sense in my head and maths became my favourite subject due to the achievement and progression I was feeling. However, I haven’t been in a maths lesson since so my fear has heightened a little again.
From this reflection and reading Haylock (2014), I have come to believe that the most important thing when teaching maths is to be adaptable and empathetic in the way we understand others’ way of thinking. An important point that will always stick with me is that, just because I understand something one way does not mean that any child in my class will see it that way. I will most likely have 30 different methods of thinking sitting in front of me and each one should be fully embraced, praised and used to its full potential.
This is something I will indefinitely take with me on Professional Practice as the attitude needs to be changed in schools, and more specifically teachers, towards maths as this is something everyone will undoubtedly use in their life and work. Therefore, why not make the most of the learning in school and turn it from dread and fear to enthusiasm and an overall positive learning experience for all.
When reflecting on Eilidh’s Dance workshop, it was a much different experience than I had initially imagined. Fortunately for me, I really enjoyed it as I found it very intriguing and sparked many developing ideas for me to take with me on placement.
Honestly, being a Highland Dancer myself, I had certain expectations going into this workshop and believed I was reasonably familiar with the art of dance and would be fairly comfortable and at ease. However, I found myself experiencing the opposite in which I felt very challenged and, at times, uncomfortable. This engaged me further as I am used to the strict structure of Highland and the freedom given was exciting, so I can only imagine what it would be like for the children. This made me want to know more about how I can corporate dance further within and out with the classroom.
Dance, I believe, creates a natural curiosity, especially in children, which can be explored through many different forms and styles and to allow children to experience this seems unquestionable. It also allows the mind to wander and sometimes, for some people, this is extremely beneficial or even necessary in enhancing their academic work, it certainly was the case for me. However, this is a much more productive way of letting the mind wander while still developing other skills and having fun.
There are many things I would like to take with me from this experience, but to highlight only 3, they would be:
- If you are enthusiastic about something, it will only encourage the pupils to be enthusiastic too;
- Allow the children to explore their own creativity by taking the lead and encourage sharing their ideas with one another;
- To appreciate the importance of the art of dance and the fact it encourages us to think more creatively and move freely.
To me, teaching requires natural passion and enthusiasm in order to make an impact on those who need it. Creating a positive ethos in the classroom environment can be challenging but I believe that through challenge comes opportunity. Therefore, this is what inspired me to become a teacher.
Another influential factor to become a teacher were the many school holidays I spent in school with my Mum helping her to prepare materials for her class. Even after the reality of all the cutting, sticking, laminating then cutting again, I always knew it was worth it in the overall picture. After receiving such positive feedback in a classroom and seeing the impact on a child’s learning, that is the rewarding feeling that makes all the hard work behind the scenes worth it. Since then, I’ve had my heart set on becoming a teacher and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When considering my main goals for becoming a teacher, the fundamental foundation I aim and wish to create is a fun and positive learning environment because I believe that’s the way a child learns most effectively. I also appreciate that, for many children, you as the teacher are the constant person who provides stability and continuity in an otherwise chaotic life and I, as the teacher, aim to spread my calm not their chaos.
Through first-hand experience, both personal and professional, I have come to realise the impact a teacher can have on a young person in every aspect of their lives. I also feel that to be able to help a child achieve and aspire is truly a privilege therefore I will make the most of this opportunity.
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