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Why Teaching?

As I am sure you have heard many times, from many different people (and are probably sick of hearing), I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a young girl. Although I have always known this, I never actually fully understood why I wanted to teach, until applying for university.

Teaching is the most rewarding job in my opinion. Having the ability to help develop a child’s knowledge, whether that be on the difference between there, their and they’re or teaching them how to tie their shoe laces, each day is a day for development inside and outside the classroom which teachers have a massive impact on. Seeing a child’s strengths and talents get stronger over time, to make their difficulties a barrier you help them overcome, to have a positive impact on that child’s day; the list is endless and these are just some of the small perks which made me want to become a teacher and which I look forward to experiencing on placement and soon in my own classroom.

However, I do not believe a teacher’s job is restricted and closed to only teaching. I believe a teacher should be able to understand each of their pupils individually, rather than having a generic teaching style for all 30 pupils in the classroom. This restricts some children’s potential as every individual has a different way of learning and we need to cater to these needs as best as possible, encouraging children to go even further than their “best”, but not pushing too hard. This all contributes to their quality of life outside the school community as well as inside.

Many people thought I’d most likely change my mind on what I wanted to do, as anyone would when an 11-year-old decides what career path they want to take. I was always a bright girl, but never the top of my class, so I wasn’t entirely sure how well I would do at my time at high school. This soon changed when I received my National 5 exam results last year, and finally started to believe it could be possible. So, come August 2018, I decided sixth year was not going to be for me – the best decision I have ever made. I was predicted to get the grades I needed for university and despite my teachers concerns about my age and this affecting me even getting interviews for a Primary Education course, I applied. I received offers from all courses I applied to, and exceeded my conditions for them all. Reflecting on this, my advice to anyone would be to go with what you think is best for you no matter what barriers may be in the way as here I am now, studying an MA (Hons) in Education and making the dreams my 11-year-old self come true.

An Envelope with an Important Lesson

On Tuesdays seminar (18/9/18) we were split into 4 small groups of around 7 and given an envelope, inside each envelope was a mix of recourses. My groups envelope contained many different items such as pens, paperclips, paper, binder clips, cellotape etc. The task was to create a recourse which would benefit a new student just starting university. We all came together and brainstormed what we thought we would have needed when arriving to the first week of university, and in the end came to the idea of a pencil case. This pencil case had many different features such as a fold-able map as the cover to help you find your way around campus, all your essential recourses to get you through a lecture i.e. pens, paperclips and scissors. It also contained manuals on how to do the basic things you might not know how to do if you’ve just left home like using the washing machines or how to print and find books in the library.

We each presented our groups ideas back to the rest of the students and the lecturer, and soon realised each group had a very different range of recourses to create their idea. Some had many items to help make a more elaborate idea, like our pencil case with all the items inside, whereas others simply had just pens and paper, limiting their creativity and how far they could take their ideas. Upon receiving feedback, our lecturer was more encouraging of the groups with a lot of recourses and was not impressed with the groups who had little recourses; rating the two groups with the most recourses a 9 and a 7 out of 10, whereas the groups with less were rated as little as 3. At the time I did not realise this was deliberate, although I was confused as some groups had amazing presentations but received the lowest scores. Then, at the end of the seminar our lecturer revealed that she was giving more help and encouragement to those who had more recourses than those who did not, and this is also why she gave such low scores to the others. It was all to show us how people may treat others depending on their social status and how much they have.

The message I took from this seminar personally is that we don’t always know how little or how much someone has, whether this be personal items and luxuries or basic living essentials like food or learning recourses. Often the little access we have to certain things can affect our wellbeing, whether this be because we are bullied because we don’t wear the top branded clothes or have the best phone, or because we struggle in learning and teachers may make you feel belittled and unintelligent, breaking your confidence down.

Despite this, I believe some groups who had very little items had some amazing ideas. This emphasised that sometimes it doesn’t necessarily matter what you don’t have, it’s your determination and resilience to work and do well which can sometimes be much more beneficial than the material things you have.

This emphasised to me how we must treat everyone, not just our pupils, fairly with the same respect and understanding. We can never assume a situation when we don’t know every detail in someone’s life, but instead must make ourselves aware of people circumstances as best we can so we can try and provide them with the extra help they may need.