Our first seminar with Derek, saw us split into five groups. He told us to come up with the a ‘guide to fresher’s week’. He handed out envelopes full of equipment we were to use. Whilst doing so, we spotted that group 1 and group 2’s envelopes were much bulkier than the one we received. At this point in time we questioned whether some tools were left out and whether we should ask Derek if this were the case.
Our envelope included;
- 1 post-it note
- 3 paper clips
- A pencil
- Blue tack
This was in comparison to the other groups who had multiple pieces of card, different coloured pens, scissors and much more.
When delivering our idea to the class, we were aware of the positive feedback and interaction Derek portrayed to the first few groups. Our group felt very proud of coming up with the idea of a game from the limited resources we had. However, to hear next to no feedback, this made us question what we were doing wrong.
Upon creating our game, we felt we had to prove ourselves. We wanted to create the best idea and in return receive positive feedback. Yet, when Derek was scanning everyone’s ideas, he hardly interacted with us and at one point offered biscuits to group 1 and 2 and told them how imaginative their ideas were. At this point in time, we all felt neglected by Derek and therefore believed it was our fault.
When demonstrating our ideas to the class, Derek once again praised the groups before us about how inventive and imaginative they had been. Although to us, we believed we had the most imaginative idea. As our turn arrived we noticed Derek’s interaction had immediately dropped. He continued to look out the window and gave us no feedback. This made us feel extremely put back and more than ever made us question what we had done wrong. Not only that, but we felt annoyance towards him and the lack of attention we were given.
This particular task made us aware of meritocracy: the holding of power by people selected according to merit. Derek’s demonstration highlighted that teachers cannot discriminate against those without resources. The praise he awarded to others would make a child feel anxious about their studies and relationship with their teacher, which is not a healthy environment. When discussing the topic with the class, we became aware that group 1 and 2 had no realisation that they were receiving better treatment than the rest of us. This highlights that those with the best resources and opportunities in life, have little awareness about those surrounding them living in poverty and deprivation.
Overall, it is clear that becoming a teacher can be a struggle. It is not simple to give everyone the same opportunities when you have little understanding of their background and can become extremely easy to favourite particular students over another, without being aware of doing so. To prevent this a teacher should provide the same opportunities for everyone and understand that particular students made need more help than others. When achieving this the class environment becomes equal and enjoyable for the students.