I want to be a teacher because I want to make a difference. Through learning in the International Baccalaureate elective I have learnt that PYP schools also want to make a difference by creating a more peaceful world. Just as I like to learn from others in any context, I decided to choose the International Baccalaureate as an elective as I wanted to learn about how other different education systems from my own worked well, such as the PYP. Through learning in this elective I already notice the differences to CfE the PYP has to offer such as embodying a Learner Profile. The Learner Profile is a set of qualities that the school wants every person, whether they are a pupil, teacher or janitor, to embody to create a good learning community and a better and more peaceful world. The attributes are as follows; inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective.
Throughout my journey, I have been an inquirer in many ways. For example, on placement I always took advantage of asking questions to different members of staff about the job and also to inquire on how I could make lessons the best quality they can be. I also inquired through reserach of things such as ASD and bilingualism so that I would know more about the topics as I had children in my class who these applied to. Through inquiring I learnt more about my class which helped me to meet the needs of every child.
I tried to make sure I was knowledgeable of each subject I was teaching through research, however I would say I need to develop this further because with even more research I would have been even more knowledgeable with what I was teaching the children. For example, their topic was ‘transport’ and I could have done way more research to consolidate my own understanding even more so that I would have felt more confident in the subject.
I believe that being a thinker gets you very far through being a pupil in school and also as a teacher. I make sure that during lectures that I think very hard about the different discussion points being addressed as I can think about these discussion points when I come across them in practice. In addition I also made sure to think hard about how I could develop my practice by thinking of good ideas to improve.
Communicating is key to being an effective teacher. In my practice I always tried my best to express myself in order to connect with the pupils to earn trust and respect. In addition, in workshops I always make sure that I am working as a team with everyone I work with and make sure I listen to what everyone has to say. I communicated very well with my mentor throughout placement as we would communicate outside of school via email if I had any questions or queries about my practice and he would give me advice on how to plan my lessons the best they could be. I also encouraged my pupils to be good communicators through including lots of discussion in my lessons that were paired, group and whole class. This got the pupils to work together with their peers and taught them to respect everyone’s ideas and points. I feel that the more lessons I planned the more I acquired this aspect of the learner profile because I found it easier to include discussion points the more I practiced.
The principled attribute is very important in my journey as it is important for me to make sure that I treat every child fairly and respect their rights as pupils. I never had favourite pupils as I made sure to focus on every child by making sure they all had a voice in class and all had opportunities to answer out or speak to me if they had problems. I followed the class rules as well as the children which created mutual respect.
I believe that I am a very open-minded person as I appreciated all the children’s different cultures and stories as a number of my pupils were from different Eastern European countries. Through being open minded it allowed me to learn things about different cultures that I would not have known before. I also respect that other teachers and my friends who are also students have different ways of doing things to me and through seeing different approaches it allowed me to grow by seeing methods I never would have thought of.
I am also a very caring person as I always make sure that I put others first over myself. I showed empathy to my pupils on placement through understanding what they were going through when they would tell me about issues that bothered them, developing trust and respect. Through my studies, I have learnt that If you are not caring to your pupils then there will be issues when trying to gain their respect because if you show you care, then it will show the pupil that they matter to you as a teacher. This allows for the pupils to connect to you more as people rather than a child just being ‘one of thirty pupils’. Strong relationships are key to being an effective teacher and through myself and my mentor being caring, I really found that we were making a difference to their educational experience. The fact that I care so much shows me how right this career path is for me, as I find it so rewarding knowing that I create a positive impact on pupils.
Encouraging pupils to take a risk helps them to become better people as it gets them out of their comfort zones, which is a skill needed for later in life. I made sure to always challenge my pupils on placement by pushing them to their full potential. I created challenges for fast finishers which was very beneficial because if pupils can take the risk and complete it, perhaps by completing a piece of work that may be more difficult than usual or by speaking out in class, it gives them the confidence to push themselves even further to improve. With regards to myself, when planning lessons I took risks by not really knowing how a certain aspect of my lesson would go, for example I had a station activity that I thought would work very well, however it ended up being quite chaotic and not as effective as I thought. When lessons wouldn’t work out on more and more occasions, I build up the resilience to move on and used making mistakes as a door to seeing how I could have done something differently, which constantly improved my practice . Trying out new approaches is good for my development because through being afraid of taking the risk, it would mean that you would never know how a certain activity or lesson would work out, it could have been amazing for all you knew and if you don’t try you would never know for sure.
Throughout my life, I have always tried to be balanced, though it is something I find quite difficult. I often overwhelm myself with everything going on in my life such as my studies, social life, hobbies and my own wellbeing. During placement, I didn’t balance these well, as a result of this I only spent my time working, which was good as I could really focus on doing well in placement and being the best I could be, though it meant that I gave up my social life and hobbies and I also did not look after myself properly as I lacked sleep and did not eat a lot. It is important that for my next placement I focus on taking care of my own wellbeing more as well as taking care of my progress in my degree. This will make me feel much more happy and healthy when on placement as I will make sure I get enough rest to recharge and give it all that I’ve got to really push myself to the best of my ability.
Lastly, I have always made sure to be as reflective as possible during my course, whether its writing reflections for my ePortfolio or whether its reflecting on how my lessons went or just any experience I encounter in school in general. It is important I am reflective as it makes me think deeper about what I experienced and develop through thinking of other possible ways I could have been better. Through writing this blog post it has really got me to reflect on how I’m doing in my course and what my strengths and weaknesses are. It allows me to develop and grow as a teacher which is vital for improving my practice.
I will continue to keep making sure I embody all of these attributes as a person not just in my degree, but in life in general as they do help make me a better person to help create a better and more peaceful world. The more people who embody these attributes the better our world will become!