In semester One of university you are learning many different skills from writing an essay to learning how to cook a ‘healthy meal’ and all the different skills in between. Time flies by and it is often easy to forget about all the different moments you have experienced until it is all behind you.
I am going to take some time to reflect on Semester One and think about a critical moments from my professional practice and how it has affected me.
This critical moment would probably be the realisation about how important it is for primary school teachers to co-operate and work alongside social workers and community education workers. I had known there would be some collaboration however I had not realised the full extent of the working together that is involved and the similarities between all the professions.
This was significant for me as it again reinforced the idea that being a primary school teacher is not just about teaching the children in your class, it is also about pupils health and wellbeing and knowing when extra help is needed. It is also important to realise as a teacher that you simply cannot do everything and fix everything and sometimes the appropriate thing to do is to call a social worker and then offer support where necessary.
This has also changed my stereotypes of these professions and understand their importance in society.
This has affected my professional practice as I will now be more inclusive and understanding towards working together.
Through my reading go ‘Mathematics Explained for Primary Teachers (Haycock, D.) it was clear to see that is absolutely essential to understand the maths you are teaching because if you do not then you can not expect the children to fully understand it.
This helps me put my mind at ease after years of worrying that everyone else in my class could do maths yet I still struggled despite my genuine efforts. However it seems my classmates and I fell under the spell of rote learning and simply memorised the rules of how to do maths calculations rather than understanding how to do maths calculations.
In the few months before my National 5 Maths examination I did all the past papers a few times and this evidenced my rote learning as I learnt the rules for each question. Although, to be able to use these rules I had to understand what rules the question was asking of me and so I finally realised that for the first time in my life I had begun to understand mathematics.
After not doing Maths since National 5 I am anxious to have to stand in front of a classroom and teach it but after seeing how well I could do maths after working very hard I know that I will just have to put the same amount of dedication in to be able to teach and understand primary school mathematics.
From my experience throughout primary school I know that many of my teachers motivated me to work hard and achieve the best possible grades for myself. Throughout Highers my teachers all used different teaching styles which helped me understand the work a lot better in several subjects. I could tell the difference from sitting in a class with a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher rather than sitting in a class with a teacher who was just following a list of what they needed to teach. I also think an important factor which helped me throughout my school career was having a strong trust with my teachers which allowed me to develop not only academically but also personally, they helped me become the person I am today.
As cliche as it may be when I was younger the game I always wanted to play was teaching my own class in which I could spend hours doing, only with my own imagine and strong desire to be a teacher. This desire has followed me throughout life and so when it came to writing my personal statement and deciding what course to apply for it was a no brainer, Primary School Education.
This inspiration from my younger years was only strengthened when I went to work experience in my local primary school, at first it was a strange switch from being the child last the desk to suddenly being the adult at the front of the class. When I came home from my first day of work experience I thought about what an easy day I had compared to day five I realised that no single day is the same at a primary school. I also found that the dynamics of the classroom were entirely different dependant on what age group you are teaching. Of course the content is different but even the way the teacher used her voice with the children was different and this really interested me.
These experiences have all added to my desire to become a primary school teacher as I hope to have a similar effect on children’s education and success in later life and learn more about the psychology of being a teacher.
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