Last Tuesday I was involved in a very interesting lecture which was all about an issue surrounds us all, racism. We were taught about horrible stories such as the Emmett Till murder and the lynching of black men and women in America in the 20th century. These horrible racist actions are a thing of the past but it got me wondering how much racism still exists in Britain currently.
After simply searching “racism” into google I was astounded by the amount of news articles I found just from the past few days. But one that caught my eye the most was about an ex-footballer, called Mark Walters, who had recently opened up about the barriers he faced playing football in the 1980’s. He talked about how before a game in Scotland, playing for Rangers, a man publicly was ‘bragging’ in the newspapers about how he had bought fruit to throw at this player. For me, a huge football fan, I find it disgusting that someone would even consider this, never mind think it’s okay to publicly brag about it. But is this just a little insight on how racism was very much accepted Britain in the late 20th century? It may also show how far we have come as a society, in attempting to stomp out racism and try to make it a thing of the past.
I think the world has took huge steps from the lynching of 3,446 African Americans between 1882 and 1968, to the racist abuse received by Mark Walters in the 1980’s, till now. But I think more must be done to prevent any sort of racism happening. I believe that as a student teacher, children should be taught about racism and the affects it has on many people’s life at an earlier age to help prevent racism in schools and in day to day life. There’s no point in waiting for a child to use a racist slur and then addressing it, we as educators must educate children to help prevent them from using these slurs and creating racist attitudes.
Last week got my first taster of a values seminar run by Brenda Keatch. At the start of the seminar we were split into equal numbered groups and all given an envelope with contained resources that we were to use to create a product fresher’s could use next year to help the settle to university. Our group had lots of different resources and set off working straight away. After everyone had created their product we were asked to present our product to the other groups and Brenda gave us feedback on what we had made. All the feedback from Brenda towards our group was very positive but as she went through each groups the feedback got more and more negative, I then realised that the other groups didn’t have the same resources as my group some had a little bit less and some didn’t have much at all. This is where I started to understand the reason behind this seminar.
Since our group had all the materials we needed we were so engaged we didn’t notice that the other groups were struggling through lack of materials and not because they weren’t putting in the effort. The groups that were disadvantaged had to work harder to try and produce a quality product. This helped me understand how if children are disadvantaged for whatever reason, whether it be due to lack of studying equipment or even something more extreme such as not been fed properly so lack of concentration due hunger, that it can have a major effect on their learning. It made me think more deeply about some of the children I worked with and how their learning may have been affected by the disadvantages they were dealt with. It also made me understand that it is not productive to give every child the same resources and same amount of support and expect them to have the same outcome. Not every child needs the same support, some children need less support and some need a lot more support.
After everyone had presented their products we discussed how everyone felt whilst producing their products. Due to Brenda’s positive comments I felt confident in my work and enjoyed doing the task. Although the groups who got the negative feedback felt the opposite, they felt deflated and didn’t want to even attempt the task. I then thought if teachers maintained a positive attitude towards all student in their class that learning would be more enjoyable and children would be more motivated to learn.
This seminar has been an eye opener on the challenges disadvantages children face and how positivity towards children can improve their learning.
Why I want to become a primary teacher.
Thinking about my childhood, unlike some children, I always remembered school being a positive experience, a place that I enjoyed attending. I feel lucky to say that school was a place I felt comfortable going and enjoyed the company of my friends and teachers. Although I am aware that school is not like that for everyone. The teachers that left such a positive mark on my life were the enthusiastic ones that enjoyed their careers and cared about the children they were working with. I want as many children to like me have a positive outlook on school and I knew the best possible way of doing that was to become a teacher. I desire to be like the teachers that had such a positive influence on my life and feel like i have the right qualities to achieve this.
I didn’t always want to be a primary teacher though, when i was growing up i wanted to be a PE teacher, but my ambitions came after I left school and got a job working as pupil support assistant in a local school. I found myself working in a Primary 1 class and working closely with certain individual children. I found great satisfaction working closely with these children and becoming an influence in their life’s just as my past teachers had in mine. Watching the children grow not only academically but socially is something I found a joy to watch. The school I worked in had a number of great teachers which have set such a high standard of teaching that I myself would one day like to achieve.
It is not only the staff that work in the school I attended and the school I myself worked in that have gave me this desire to become a teacher but the example shown by my own mum. My mum works in a school with children who have additional support needs and it was her that gave me my first taster by getting me a job volunteering at a local charity that work with children from her school. Here I have been able to grow the foundations to the skills I believe will be useful when becoming a teacher. It was throughout this job that I realised how fulfilling it is working with children and how natural it was to me.
I believe that it was the fine examples shown to me by a number of influential characters in my short life and the different experiences I have made are the reason I want to become a primary teacher. I want to make school a positive experience for as many children as possible and try to achieve the highest teaching standard that I can.
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