During my first semester an important moment that enhanced my professional development was during one of the first ‘Values’ lectures. All the different concepts we explored and new ideas that were introduced to me, made me realise that it was okay to push the boundaries of my own values and see them from an other’s perspective. I remember at one point it felt as though I was having an out of body experience; as though my understanding of values had only scraped the surface and suddenly I’d been exposed to a whole other aspect of what values are and what they had the potential to be. They are everchanging and I finally understood that that was okay. My stubbornness to believe what I was told to be right could be expanded, but only I had the courage to let it; and I feel as though I did. I found this whole process very enlightening, and refreshing, and it made me realise the open-mindedness, that I thought I harboured so greatly, had no limits. This was a critical starting point to my professional development journey.
The ‘Values’ module in particular had me constantly reflecting on and challenging my old habits and made me think about my new ones. It pushed me to reflect on my behaviors and attitudes and encouraged me to be more transparent with myself, as well as others. I appreciate that reflecting can be difficult and challenging, but in doing so I think it enhances your effort, performance and confidence, guiding the way to reaching the goals you have set yourself; which is something I hope to improve on and be consistent with throughout my first placement and for the rest of my teaching career.
I was quite nervous to partake in the first dance workshop on our first week back of semester two; and with it also being the first Learning Across the Curriculum input I was eager to discover how these workshops would be delivered. I had no idea what to expect but with previous knowledge of dance I tried to stay positive and confident in my abilities, reminding myself it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought – which it wasn’t. The warm up ‘copy me’ activity put most of us at ease and I feel as though we all just dropped our fears and got on with it. We got into partners and were asked to think of as many different ways to travel across the room as we could, which was fairly easy. We then had to pick our favourite travelling step and share it with the group. I’m quite a reserved person so wasn’t too keen to have watchful eyes on me but I reminded myself that everyone else had to do the exact same thing and they were probably feeling the same way as I did. This gave me enough courage to share our favourite travelling step one at a time in a circle which wasn’t bad at all. We then partnered up with another group of two to combine our travelling steps, and add some spins and a pose to create a little routine to show the other groups and that was it; finished before we could even think about how dreadful it might be. It was a good starting point and helped alleviate some of my apprehension towards teaching this area of the curriculum. And as for some ideas, key messages or concepts I’m happy to have stumbled upon before venturing into my first placement; I came across a concept that encouraged you to think of your teacher training as learning to drive your first car and to view your full registration as a driving licence. ‘Like a novice driver you are not an expert and will continue learning’ (Medwell, J. & Simpson, F. 2008, Successful Teaching Placement in Scotland: Primary and Early Years). As I’m still learning to drive this really resonated with me and helped to calm my nerves surrounding placement. ‘You learn from the less successful experiences as well as the brilliant successes’. This quote, that came from the same book, stood out to me and is something I think will help me stay grounded and perhaps stop me from being so harsh on myself during placement. It particularly made me excited at the prospect of having my first ‘brilliant success’ as a teacher. Finally it has to be one of the wise sharing’s of my Tutor, our sessions really get me excited for placement and keep my nerves at bay. He simply said to enjoy it; forget about the pressures, stress’ and nerves that surround placement and just enjoy it. Which is exactly what I plan on doing.
Last Tuesday, during my Values Seminar, we were all asked to split into 5 groups. Each group was then given an envelope, which all contained the same materials. Or so we thought. Initially I didn’t even clock on to the fact that other groups had more or even less resources than the group I was working with. We were right in the middle. We didn’t have nothing yet still we didn’t have enough, which ironically is where I’ve always been throughout my school career. Right in the middle. What’s funny to me is even after intently watching two other groups meticulously cut things out with scissors, the reality that we had less still didn’t register with me. After realising this, I began to understand that through conditioning and force of habit, myself and I’m sure many other students have only ever worked with what we’ve got. I’ve never asked for more even when I knew I needed it and although I thought it wasn’t so important back then, I know now that it was. I hate to think that children even now still feel that same way I did: too afraid to speak up and ask for the help I needed. By being put in that situation directly I feel like it made this issue even more of a reality. Of course I’ve always felt strongly about creating equity in the classroom and strongly advocate the importance of giving everyone the resources they need . But through this session I realised that it takes more than just saying it. It’s a much more complex process to create equality in the classroom and an even harder process to create equity in the classroom. But as an aspiring teacher these are the issues I want to tackle. I want to be more observant and prevent these inequalities from happening at the very start. I want to be aware of how prominent these issues are and be dedicated to each and every child’s needs. These are the very reasons I want to be a teacher. I want to be the person that can identify these struggles and break down the barriers that set our students apart. Teaching is so much more than just sharing information. It’s about building up life long skills and attitudes that create confident individuals who know that it’s okay to ask for help. I cant wait to be someone who can make a change, and possibly make equity in our classrooms the standard.
Throughout my life I’ve probably been asked about a thousand times “What do you want to be when you’re older?” And although my answer to that question has often changed, I’ve always, without a doubt, found my way back to the same answer: “I want to be a teacher.” I want to be a teacher because I want to make a difference in society. I want to be someone who can positively impact another being’s life through the means of education. I want to inspire, inform and enlighten young individuals and guide them in the right path in life; with as much wisdom, knowledge and understanding that I can possibly share with them. I want the next generation of children to feel at ease in the classroom and not feel the unnecessary pressure I often felt as a child. I want education to be fun, interactive and something that’s looked forward to, not something that’s dreaded. I want each teaching day to hold a new challenge and be full of new opportunities, especially for those who wouldn’t typically get to experience such a thing. Most of all, I want to be a teacher because I never want to stop learning and I want the next generation of children to feel the same way too.
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