Category Archives: 3.4 Prof. Reflection & Commitment

Maths: Turning a Negative into a Positive

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.

Reflection upon Semester 1.

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.┬áThis 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.