In terms of major advantages or disadvantages, I cannot think where my gender has hugely impacted on me growing up. I remember in primary school where different sexes changed for PE in different rooms, however, this was only when we progressed up the school; lower primaries still all change communally.
I believe that gender affects children more as they move up to secondary school. This is where pupils, girls particularly, start to change their behaviour in order to impress others to form both friendships and relationships. I recall many girls whom I knew at primary school changing their personalities, and their appearance, simply through moving up to “big school”. Makeup featured heavily – sometimes very heavily – for many of the girls, in the hope to become “popular”. This pressure of appearance can often cause more stress for girls than it does for boys and through my years at high school, I could with certainty say that this was the case, however, this faze seems to be appealing to girls younger and younger. The older primary children, primary 6 and 7, can be seen wearing makeup and short skirts, which I believe is an unnecessary pressure being put on young girls which boys do not have to face.
Personally, looking back academically, most of the top groups in primary school did consist of mainly girls, and I can even see that now as I have worked in primary schools on placement, however, I believe this was strongly due to ability, not sex.
While this book contains helpful information, and I am sure will continue to help me develop as I read further, I believe the first chapter, to me, was not particularly useful. When instructed to read this chapter, we had begun our first week of lectures for our course, and, as the first 15 pages of this chapter spoke about “Preparing for University” life and then about “Starting Out”, I felt that this information was not particularly helpful as these were problems that I had already faced and overcome to get to the stage that I am currently at. The book then proceeds to explain expectations of University, and how these differ from previous education or life experiences. While most of the information here merely emphasized what I already knew about the commitment of higher education, it was interesting to read in a more structured fashion. Becoming an undergraduate on leaving high school was a huge leap, and at times intimidated me, however, seeing these guidelines and reading more about university skills in this book helped me. The final part in this section of the book speaks of graduate skills, and what is expected after leaving university. While daunted by the fact of reading about this after only just beginning my course, it was helpful to read about the skills which I already have, and those which I hope to develop through university, which will help me progress in my teaching career after graduating in 2019.
Although a cliché, I have wanted to become a primary teacher since I was myself at primary school. I cannot remember a day throughout those 7 years which I particularly did not like, nor any mornings where I did not have the motivation to make my way to my classroom. That motivation has stayed with me into my adolescence and sits with me today as I am enthusiastic to evoke this passion for learning within the next generation of children.
Credit for my fond memories of primary school is often due to the teachers I was taught by, many of whom have inspired my career choice. I can clearly remember my Primary 3 teacher, who gave up her lunchtime to sit with me in the dinner hall as I was an extremely fussy eater, and she would stay with me to ensure was eating adequately. At the time, this did not really seem as significant as it does now – I was only 7 – however, on reflection this was such a wonderful thing to do for a child, and has remained with me shaped the way in which I am as an individual and the way I want to teach.
Being on placement last year for merely a few hours a week proved to me that teaching was my vocation. I looked forward to those afternoons, and they were very much the highlight of my week. The children warmed to me, which made me feel comfortable and confident when taking groups, often left to teach a small group alone. That exhilarating feeling when the pupils grasp a concept, or can prove that they have learnt something during your lesson was one which I hold dear, and one which I am eager to enjoy again on my upcoming placement.
The teacher I want to be is much shaped on these experiences – a mixture of youthful experiences of primary school myself, and the experiences I have been able to enjoy and reflect upon in my later teenage years. A primary teacher is not simply someone who stands up in front of a class and teaches them how to add, read and write. Primary teachers shape the youth of today, who become the workforce of tomorrow. The classroom has evolved through history, where the teacher is no longer someone to be feared, or seen as merely a dictator. A modern teacher is active, fun and breathes life into the school day. As a teacher of the future I hope to continue to develop this more approachable style of learning and teaching, and truly make primary school a fun learning environment, where children become prepared for life in future education and beyond.