Category Archives: My educational philosophy

How do I feel about teaching music?- Taking the quiz

1. How confident do you feel about music?
b. Quite confident

1. What is your experience of learning to play a musical instrument?                                         a. I can and still do play a musical instrument (But only occasionally nowadays)

1. If you did play a musical instrument in your youth but have since given up, what was your reason for this? (choose the most suitable option below)                                                    c. I was too busy with other things/interests

1. How do you rate your ability in music?                                                                                           a. I think I’m quite musical (and play an instrument/sing)

1. What were your experiences of music in the primary school as a pupil? (choose the most suitable option below)                                                                                                                    a. Singing around the piano with the music teacher
b. Playing tuned/ untuned percussion instruments and/or recorder                                                  d. Singing in a choir and/or musical shows

1. What was your most significant (positive or negative) experience of music in primary school?                                                                                                                                                           b. I loved playing the musical instruments

1. How would you rate your ability to read musical notation?                                                     b. Have a basic grounding but may be a little rusty

1. How much do you enjoy music in your day-to-day life?                                                              a. I enjoy listening to music and have distinct likes and dislikes of certain types of music

1. How important is music to you?                                                                                                        b. I enjoy music and feel it enhances some things

1. Of the four curricular areas listed below, which of these are you most (if at all) apprehensive about teaching?                                                                                                                c. PE


While I am by no stretch a musical genius I have an idea of the basics and managed to make it to grade 5 with my piano playing. I do feel slightly apprehensive when it comes to teaching music but this is simply because of the pressure I feel to recreate the stunningly high quality music education I was given. Throughout primary and secondary school I was lucky enough to have music teachers who were incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about their subject and they spread a love for music through all their pupils. My music teachers were a real inspiration to me and have contributed to my desire to become a teacher as I hope I can bring the same level of enthusiasm and joy to all the subjects I teach. While I was in primary school I attended choir, recorder classes, piano lessons, orchestra and we had music lessons and singing assembly’s. As it was a church school we also attended ceremonies within the church which always involved music and we sang hymns during every assembly. Although I never took on the religion the sense that music is important and should be a large part of school life has stuck with me throughout my education, I can still remember my disappointment when I realised you didn’t sing during assemblies at my secondary school. The fact that our musical life within the school was spread across all the year groups it also helped to create a strong community feeling inside the school and my memory of primary school was everyone knowing each other and getting on, although it was a relatively small, middle class school within a well-off Cambridge suburb which probably helped us all get along as we were all having relatively easy childhoods. The music department within my secondary school was also incredible, they produced incredibly talented children year after year who go on to do incredibly well in life, two of my peers now attend the Royal Academy of Music. However once I moved to Scotland and spent my last two school years doing my highers I attended a school which valued high grades a great deal and pushed its pupils to achieve the most they could but completely ignored music and other expressive arts. They had a sparse number of extra curricular music activities which hardly any pupils attended and were rarely advertised. This school produced one Christmas concert which ended up being cancelled both years I was there and that was the only celebration of the music department within the school.  This stark contrast really showed me the importance of music within a school and has made me really determined to overcome any concerns I have over teaching music and ensure that the class I teach take on my enjoyment of music and let it change the way they see school life.


How I feel about my own maths ability

Maths has always been a struggle for me, I never managed to find very much enjoyment or understand it very well and therefore I never thought it would be a subject I would enjoy teaching. I think my main issue with maths was my complete lack of faith in my own mathematical ability, this began in primary school which was a time in which I struggled with most of my subjects but especially maths. However one of the main cMaths 1auses of my low confidence in my own ability was my teachers. I was placed in the bottom set in maths once I reached secondary school and had to work incredibly hard to move up to a level which would allow me to be physically able to attain a grade higher than a C at GCSE. My maths teacher at the time was not very supportive, he agreed to give me additional work to help me improve but this turned out to mean giving me work sheets similar to those in primary school, he even gave me a colouring sheet once. There was a complete lack of faith in the bottom sets, the message that we were not good at maths was very clear and that no one expected us to be able to attain a good maths grade. This lack of support of interest in our maths education resulted in classes of disinterested pupils who will never believe they are capable of doing maths. Once leaving GCSE level with a B grade I moved into the Scottish system and although I was not in the bottom set of maths I was faced with a lack of support from a new teacher who, like the others, didn’t believe I could achieve a good maths grade to such an extent that he told me on my last lesson that I wouldn’t pass the exam. I was thankfully not put off by this comment and managed to get a B in higher maths. However putting all these experiences together it is easy to see why I am apprehensive over teaching maths to my pupils, I’m not only afraid of being unable to provide a thorough and useful level of teaching, I am also afraid of holding pupils back and not allowing them to enjoy maths and reach their full potentials.

However the maths input we received on the 14th helped relax me slightly and made me feel a little more confident about teaching maths. The discussion over what made people anxious about maths was very encouraging as I found that many of my own fears were shared by others. This made me feel a little more confident as I realised that maths anxiety is not my personal issue but a nationwide problem, this showed that, although it will take more work for me to feel fully comfortable about teaching maths, a huge number of teachers have gone before me also unsure of their own maths ability and have been capable and successful maths teachers. Another point which increased my confidence slightly was that we will improve the more we teach as the information will become more and more embedded within our brain meaning that Maths 2although I am not comfortable with my maths ability now it will change and my mathematical capability will increase. The input also helped me as it helped me realise that maths can actually be a hugely creative lesson, I was afraid that I would struggle to find different ways to teach maths as my own memories of maths lessons are not overly inspired or creative. However the input discussed ‘doing, talking and thinking maths’ which involve a variety of learning styles. The input was useful as through discussing these different styles of maths I found I could think of many more ways to teach maths creatively and how to incorporate maths into other curricular areas in an interesting and relevant way.

The reading following up the input was also hugely helpful and interesting, it was Haylocks ‘Mathematics explained for primary teachers’ and I found it a very easy to read text which was hugely engaging.  This text, like the input, helped relax some of my anxiety over maths as it includes fears from other trainee teachers which were often very similar to my own fears and concerns. It was also interesting as it explained why maths is such an important subject for primary schools to teach, the text states “We teach mathematics because it has an inherent beauty that can provide the learner with delight and enjoyment.” I found that this sentence changed the way I felt about maths I had never thought about maths as beautiful but once I considered the sense of pride and pleasure I feel when I finish a maths problem correctly I could see how it could provide ‘delight’ or ‘enjoyment’, furthermore as I carried on reading the passage and was introduced to the idea of how maths isMaths 3 made up of patterns and shapes from the world around us I began to see that maths can be a beautiful and necessary  to our lives. The text claims that through teaching mathematics in the primary school successfully we will encourage a generation of children with a true appreciation for the complexity and ‘beauty’ of maths.

The maths input and the reading have both helped me to begin to warm to the idea of teaching maths, I no longer feel that I am inadequate as I know that although it will take work and I will never find teaching maths completely easy as long as I teach it in a passionate and engaging fashion ensuring that I make each lesson as creative as possible I will hopefully help my pupils develop a love of maths and ensure that maths anxiety is a thing of the past. The main message which I have taken away from thinking about how I feel about maths is that I do not want to be the reason a child says ‘I can’t do maths.’

Five important features of a professional teacher.


Integrity is incredibly important as a teacher and a professional, without integrity you will not stick to your morals and will therefore not be a good role model for the pupils you are educating. The definition of integrity is ‘The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles’ these are important qualities to have as they are viewed as signs of being a ‘good person’ and this is something we, as teachers, are trying to educate our pupils to be. This is especially highlighted in Curriculum for Excellence and its capacity for creating responsible citizens. A teacher with integrity will be fair with their pupils and provide the best teaching service as possible.


Patience is always needed as a teacher, you have to be able to remain calm at all times even when under large amounts of stress or having a difficult day. Teachers have to provide a role model for how to deal with tricky situations in a calm and sensible way helping the pupils to find ways to deal with day to day life in a reasonable and adult manner allowing them to function fully in later life. Patience is also useful as there will often be occasions when you have a pupil who struggles with a piece of work and you have to find a new way to explain it to them until they understand, this can often take a long time and be frustrating but a good professional teacher has to be able to remain patient throughout the process.


Empathy, like patience, is useful in the classroom and helps to teach the children to be responsible citizens. As a teacher you have to be able to understand what your pupils are feeling and why they are struggling with their work, if you cannot understand what is wrong you will not be able to fix it and allow them to move on with their education. Furthermore having empathy with the class allows often makes you more approachable and pupil usually find that a teacher they can trust and like is far better, both in terms of their academic achievement and enjoyment, than one they do not get on with.


Being kind is always important, and a kind teacher is especially important. A kind teacher will make a calm, comforting and enjoyable learning environment in which pupils will enjoy learning and feel safe when they come to school. This will boost their academic achievement as they will want to spend time learning and the social aspect of the classroom will be better as having a kind role model will encourage the pupils to be kind to one and other.


Being just is a very professional trait. You should never treat one pupil differently than another, either favouring or bullying. A teacher who picks on certain pupils will create a negative learning environment and that pupil will not wish to attend school or be able to work to their highest standard. Also as a teacher you are providing a service as you are helping to shape the future generations and through being a  moral citizen you promote fairness and this will encourage a generation of just, law abiding citizens, again helping to promote the capacity of responsible citizens.



How did gender affect me when I was a child?

I was lucky enough to go to a primary school which was very inclusive of both girls and boys. I didn’t come across many incidences of gender stereotyping while at primary school. The main incident which sticks in my mind was during the casting for the annual nativity play. Every year I asked to be a shepherd and every year I was told that that role was for a boy and that I would get to be an angle. In fact unless you played Mary as a girl the only other role available to you was to be an angel. The boys on the other hand could be shepherds, wise men or an animal. This always bothered me and I knew it was unfair I complained to my mum at home and while she agreed that it was unfair she pointed out that that was the way it was. So I had to stand on stage in an itchy tinsel halo while the proud shepherds paraded past. The only other visible gender stereotype during my primary school days was the fact that we were sat girl-boy as the girls were ‘calmer’ than the boys and were supposed to have a good influence on the boys making them work harder. Although this probably did help some of the boys it also distracted many of the girls and re-enforced the idea that a girl is quiet and calm and the boys get to be noisy and move around.

Why did I choose teaching?

If you asked me five years ago what I wanted to do I would have told you “not teaching!” I was adamant that I would never be in another classroom once I had finished school. I always enjoyed school and, despite one or two teachers who I didn’t quite see eye to eye with, I found the majority of my teachers interesting and supportive people, I just did not want to return to school once I had finished with my time there.  However over the last two years of my school life this changed, I began to be drawn to the idea of teaching to such an extent that at this point I couldn’t tell you any thing I would rather be doing with my University career and then my life afterwards.

I gradually started to do more and more work experience; helping the s1’s with their transition from primary to secondary school, spending two hours a week in a p6 class in my local primary school, working with a boy who needed extra support for an hour week and a week during my October holiday in which I went to stay with my aunt and work in her primary school down in Harrogate. This was hard work, she was determined to give me the full experience, starting at 7:30 and marking late into the night, however I had never been so sure of what I wanted to do with my life. As soon as I got home from the week with my Aunt I started my personal statement and applied to do Primary education at University. After this came interviews which encouraged me to read into the theory’s behind teaching and I began to realise that teaching was more than just a love of being in the classroom and helping children understand the world around them and that it was built upon a fascinating world of theory’s and concepts. This made me want to study teaching at University and to go on to be a teacher even more.

When thinking about what sort of teacher I want to be the first thought which comes into my head, is my year six teacher back in England. He was considered the scary teacher of the school by some, mainly the pupils who were in trouble a large percentage of the time, yet to me he was interesting, fun and incredibly caring. At that point in my school career I was struggling a great deal, I had always been a slow learner and by the time I was starting my last year of primary school, my teachers and parents were concerned over my maths and spelling ability, in fact I was told that there was little chance of me receiving a GCSE in maths or English, I managed to get a B at higher maths and a B in advanced higher English. I believe that my year six teacher had a lot to do with my success, he never wrote me off and was always willing to support me and go through everything again with me until I understood. He gave me back the confidence I had lost and let me know that our brains all need different types of help. I want to be a teacher like him, one who understands the pupils struggles and one who, as long as I can see they are working hard, will support a pupil no matter what level they are at. He also used to ensure that there were fifteen minutes at the end of each day in which he would read the class a chapter or two of a book. This was a great help to us as pupils as it encouraged a love of reading and books while giving us all a chance to unwind and relax before going home to our parents. This is a practice which I am determined to keep in any classroom in which I am lucky enough to teach.

In conclusion, although when I started my school life I never wanted to be a teacher I can now no longer imagine myself doing everything else with my life, and that throughout my life I have found inspiration for who I want to be as a teacher from those who have helped teach me and shape my future.