After my first maths workshop with Tara, I am already feeling much more optimistic about my upcoming experiences of teaching maths in the classroom. My experiences in maths vary between positive and negative. Throughout primary school I greatly enjoyed maths, the challenges it brought and I was always relatively good at it. I found my teachers were always extremely engaging, passionate and positive which ultimately had a massive impact on my performance in the subject. However once I reached mid way through high school, my relationship with maths began to deteriorate. My teachers showed no great deal of enthusiasm, lessons were repetitive and I came face to face with constant negativity when I wasn’t successful in answering a question. My Nat 5 maths teacher told me simply “I would pass” and sent me in for the exam feeling extremely anxious and unprepared; I knew I needed more than just a pass to get to where I am now and after another year and a slightly more engaging teacher I got an A. This put me off doing a Higher as I felt deflated and so worthless as I had convinced myself I couldn’t do it and it was a one off that I had managed to succeed at something I now found so challenging. Without sounding so dramatic, at one point maths convinced me I would never make it into my dream career at uni as we had such a negative relationship.
Moving on to a more positive note, Tara has made me realise that despite these negative experiences I have had, I need to become that teacher that once inspired my love for maths way back in primary school. She made it clear how maths isn’t just about getting to the right answer, but instead how it is important to listen to different ways of working things out. She also taught me that all those Maths Myths such as “You are either good at maths or literacy” are completely irrelevant and these ideas must be abolished from these fresh brains as quickly as possible. This is something that even on my placement I want to achieve as sadly these myths are still relevant in today’s classrooms. Tara’s input has particularly helped me open my mind to maths as I earlier completed the NOMA and scored a much higher score than what I ever expected having not done maths (of that level) in nearly 2 years. It has made me realise that actually I am capable of doing maths and just because I have struggled, doesn’t mean I will continue to struggle. I am feeling very inspired after just a short number of maths inputs and after 5 years of maths “torture” at high school and I am very excited to give maths teaching a proper go on my placement.
After my array of experiences with mathematics, I am determined that I will make a difference to children’s minds and the way they see maths. Unfortunately once they leave primary school, we can no longer control their experiences in subjects but if I can have a significant impact on their view of maths, I will be extremely pleased. Maths for me will no longer be a – but instead a + and that is the main thing I want to pass on. Maths isn’t just about getting to a definite answer.
Looking back upon my experiences of my first ever semester at University, it reminded me of not only some of the best times but also some of the most challenging. Having come straight from school, a tight knit friendship group and an extremely close family, moving away for the first time was incredibly daunting in the beginning. One of my biggest fears was being forced into groups for activities that I would not get on with or connect with so when I found out the whole idea of the Working Together module, I felt uneasy.
When I met my group for the first time, I was extremely reserved and didn’t quite know what to say or do (probably from a fear of being judged.) Many other members of my group were the same and slowly as time progressed, they all began to open up and in doing so encouraged me to do the same. As I began to open up and contribute more frequently, I felt a sense of confidence. I had always been a relatively confident person but a combination of a whole new surrounding, people and environment just made me feel slightly out of my comfort zone; which in reflection is not a bad thing in the slightest.
For me, I think that coming out of my shell within this group of people was one of the most significant moments of my first semester for me and as a result meant I was able to see a difference in my professional development. I am in no way stating that my groups success on presentation day was solely down to me, however without some of my contributions our presentation may have been missing some vital points. This overcoming of my “fear” also helped my professional development in the sense of it has given me the confidence to trust my answers and views more and not to question or doubt myself as often when it comes to sharing an answer in a similar setting. This is a skill I will be able to transfer to so many elements of my professional practice such as contributing ideas on placements or participating in professional dialogue and conversations. This incident has also affected my professional practice due to it giving me the realisation that groups formed randomly can succeed. We performed well in our presentation together despite only being created a matter of weeks ago.
Reflection is beginning to mean more to me now than it has ever done before. I realise its pertinence throughout my future career as a teacher and its necessity in order to continue to develop as a professional primary practitioner. By continuing to reflect more often, I will feel more knowledgable of my strengths and weaknesses and what I need to do in order to improve upon this.
Dance. The word that was mentioned once and the room was filled with moans and groans. However, having danced myself for nearly 15 years, I didn’t quite have that same negative attitude towards the idea of our dance workshop. I like to think I thrive under the performing element of dance and most importantly I am really passionate for it and enjoy it greatly which is something I would like to pass onto my future classes.
This workshop was one I found to be extremely beneficial. Having danced nearly all of my life, I am confident enough performing but would say that being able to teach dance is more of a weakness of mine. This is probably due to me going to so many classes as a student compared to how many I was present at as a teacher. The session gave me a brilliant insight as to how dance can be taught within the primary school environment. I thoroughly enjoyed finding out some of the different activities that can be used in order to develop creative minds and active bodies through dance.
There were many points of the workshop in which I will transfer into my placement with me. The first being the idea of starting the lesson in a circle, allowing the teacher to have full view of everyone and in turn being able to see everyones creativity within their movement whilst we warm up. The second idea that I will carry with me into school is passing over the leadership to the pupils ie. if you see a child really loving it, pass the power to them for 20 seconds and get the class to copy one of their moves. This relates to the second level outcome of dance which states “I can explore and choose movements to create and present dance, developing my skills and techniques.” This exercise allows to children to pick a dance move and present it back to their peers whilst developing vital skills such as confidence and leadership. And finally, the third thing I will definitely take into the classroom is the idea of using videos or clips of professional dancers to act as a stimulus for children to go away and have a go at themselves. This again relates to one of the outcomes of dance which is “Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express my ideas, thoughts and feelings through creative work in dance.” By using videos of professional dancers, it allows those with less confidence in dance to get an idea of what they could try when they have to give it a go for themselves.
Reflecting back upon this workshop, I realise that dance has more to it than the technical aspect that I am personally used to. It is much more about building confidence and linking other aspects of the curriculum together. For example if you’re studying Buddhism in RME, you could have a look at dances surrounding the stimulus of the Buddha. Dance will inevitably allow those of a more creative nature to express themselves and encourage those who aren’t so creative to give something new a try.
Timeline of the next year.
Important dates and deadlines.
Every Friday: History Elective Journal due.
This may become more hard work when other assignments begin to pile in and need done around the one time.
Monday 3rd December: Values essay due.
This will be an extremely busy time of year as we will have to balance both this essay and our group assignment for Working together with others from out with our professions.
Monday 10th December: Working together group presentation.
This will be busy as we will have to allocate time to working together out with our University time in order to produce a respectable end products for the best mark. This will also be a challenge as it is occurring around about the same time as our Values essay is due. Our own individual poster for this module will also be due around this time.
Tuesday 29th January: Pre Placement visit day.
Lots of preparation and planning will need to be put into this day in order for it to run smoothly and for you to be as prepared as you possibly can be to make a good impression.
25th February – 8th March: Observation Weeks of Placement.
This will be extremely busy as there will be a lot of comprehending the notes you have taken in order to prepare and plan for the next stage of your placement – the teaching.
Mid April – Mid May: 4 weeks of professional teaching. This will be our busiest time in our first year as we will need to plan and prepare lessons most nights whilst maintaining a social life and getting to know the pupils in our class well enough to form good relationships, deliver good lessons and pass placement.
Complete the table below to identify and reflect on those factors and plan actions for each.
|What helps my learning?
||How can I utilise this?
|Example: “Discussing the topic with others”
||· Set up a study group of like-minded peers
· Engage with the online community
|Looking over resources after class.
||· Organise my resources to make them easily accessible.
|Turning my written notes into more visual aids eg. mind maps, posters.
||· Makes notes more engaging and the use of colours makes notes more attractive – making them less boring to read.
|What hinders my learning?
||How can I address this factor?
|Example: “I’m easily distracted”
||· Study in a place where distractions are minimal
· Read lecture notes before the lecture and then take notes lectures to keep me focused
|Only focusing on things that I find interesting rather than things I perhaps need to work on.
||· Make a list of things that need improvement and work my way through – encouraging myself to do the things I may usually avoid.
|Spending too much time working collaboratively and getting used to relying on other people’s opinions.
||· Find an ideal balance between working together to support learning and working independently to achieve an end goal.
|Getting too caught up in making an abundance of notes which might not all be relevant – hindering my learning more.
||· Work on summarising my notes and condensing them down into smaller, more refined notes that are still detailed in helping my learning.
For as long as I can remember, my one main ambition has been to become a primary school teacher. I have always enjoyed being a part of a school environment from a young age and to me, it only seemed right to continue on, not only to further education but to become a teacher at the end of my own education. It always excited me to think that I will enter University as a pupil and leave a teacher. I always felt comfortable when in a classroom and want to pass on this feeling of nourishment to the future generation of young people and hopefully inspire others to follow their dreams, just like I have done in order to get to University now.
My biggest reason for wanting to become an educator of the next generation stemmed from my Primary 7 teacher. At the time she had only been teaching a year but I remember the passion she had for her job would consistently shine through. There is one particular thing she said to us as a class that has stuck with me ever since. When asked why she wanted to be a teacher, her response was ” Teaching gives me an opportunity to not only teach a class but to learn with a class.” This has resonated with me and I believe that teaching not only means you teach your own class but your own class will also teach you so many valuable life lessons. I love the idea of continuously being able to grow and develop myself whilst helping so many others do exactly the same. This is something that I believe to be special and something that is rare in many other professions.
Without sounding cliché, I want to have a positive impact on the lives of young children. I would love to be a positive role model for those not only in my own class but within the whole school community. For so many people today, they don’t have anyone to look up to or rely on in times of difficulty. I have always taken comfort in the knowledge that I could do both of these within my role as a primary teacher. Using my role to positively impact others is something that interested me further in pursuing a career in teaching. I knew that by choosing such a challenging career path, it will bring many ups and downs. Whenever I tell anyone about what I am studying I always get the remarks of “you’re brave” or “why would you want to do that?” I am determined to change the attitude towards teaching young children by encouraging children to become more well rounded individuals both within and outwith the classroom giving them a wealth of equal opportunities, hopefully changing some peoples perceptions of young people today. I want to be an enthusiastic individual within the school, engaging children in their education and making them feel inspired. I would love to inspire another “me.” I want to have just one person who because of me decides they want to follow a similar pathway in life and enter this profession.