Author Archives: Leigh Douglas

My Uni Experience so far

From the experience of coming out of school and then going straight into university I thought it would be a breeze. However, I think I underestimated the whole situation. For only being at Uni for the last 5 months, these months have been the most challenging but eye-opening months of my life. They have been packed with lectures, tutorials, workshops and assignments all that were due within the first 4 months of being here. I don’t think I realised just how demanding these 4 years at Uni where going to be and I also don’t think I mentally prepared myself enough for them. However, managing to complete the first semester and pass the assignments showed me that if I put in enough commitment and determination then I will hopefully succeed.

Although I didn’t do as well in my first assignments as I thought I would, and I was quite harsh on myself, I had to take a step back and realise that I still managed to pass and that now all this meant was that I had areas that I could develop on. This is important to me as I always want to improve and work on the type of learner and reflector that I am. I believe there is always room for improvement as nobody can ever be perfect and will never get it bang on the first-time round. The areas that I now must develop I am working hard on to ensure that they are not flagged up again in my next assignment. All I want to do is improve and get better even if it is little by little.

I am so excited for this semester as placement begins, however I am very nervous and a little scared as there is so much I need to do and there is so much time needed for it. Having a job also takes up a lot of my time and commitment but I have my priorities and know that Uni comes first as this will result in me getting into a job that I actually enjoy. I think what scares me the most about placement is not actually teaching but The Professional Practice File as it is going to be so big and requires a lot of time and work for us to be able to pass 1st year.

Overall my Uni experience so far as been positive and I’m really enjoying it. I can’t wait to complete 1st year and then move on wards and upwards to see what the following years hold for me. Being able to gain as much knowledge that I can and improve on my weaker areas will result in me being the best teacher that I possibly can when I graduate.

Drama lesson

The only background of drama I had was doing the school shows throughout high school. I played Rosalie Mullins in the musical production of The School Of Rock in my last year of school and I regretted not doing a show sooner as it was so much fun. Drama was never a subject I found much interest in but the shows were different as there was a different atmosphere to them. I certainly didn’t feel confident walking into a class and teaching it until I had the drama workshop with Nikki. She explained that at the start of class you need to create your boundaries and rules with the class and ensure they are aware of your structure and what you intend to do within the lesson. She also highlighted how key behaviour management is and how we should be dealing with it within a drama lesson.

To begin the lesson, we done a physical/vocal warm up called Rubber Chicken, it was a fun and engaging activity that allowed us (and will allow the children) to loosen up and clear our mind. We were all doing the same and being just as silly as each other so there was no judgment, and everyone should have been feeling roughly the same. We then had to participate in a line up activity where we were not allowed to talk and had to line ourselves up in order of birth months, then order of height, and the colour of hair. This was a great activity as it got us thinking and allowed us to still have fun. We also got to know a little bit about the people around us without even talking.

The next activity was Decision Diagonal (or ‘Where do you stand?’)-

This is where we had to Imagine there was a line across the floor (from corner to corner). One end of line was STRONGLY AGREE, the other was STRONGLY DISAGREE. Other points along the line where AGREE, DISAGREE and ON THE FENCE. We could place ourselves anywhere on the spectrum depending on our individual responses to the given statements. Eg:

  • Cats are better than dogs

The next 2 activities consisted of using our bodies and expressions to portray each idea that we were given. This was called levels/freeze frames. The group had to move around the space whilst the Leader would call out a level and a context. We (Pupils) then had to freeze in a corresponding image. This got us thinking and able to work on our body language and facial expressions. The ideas we completed were;

  • Low level: We had all been washed up on shore from a shipwreck
  • Medium level – horror movie ‘The Blob’ – the blob is coming down the high street and you turn around and see it. Freeze.
  • High level – 1940s – a London street, Winston Churchill has just announced the end of the war.
  • Mixed levels – The night of New Year’s Eve at 12am (groups of 6-8).
  • Flashback/Flash Forward- the previous night at 6pm and then the next again morning at 8am
  • Action Clip! – the rest of the class had to watch as we performed each of the above.

Eyes Closed-Eyes Open- this was the transition between each frame.

To cool down we played a game of squeeze the hand. This will allow the children to become calm and collected as they are now all in a big circle and had to focus the mind. We (children) had to focus on when our hand got squeezed and then we had to pass it on. To make this a little harder the teacher or leader of the group could send a squeeze round either side of the circle and then it becomes a little competition to see who could get the squeeze back to the start the fastest.

Dance Blog

I was a dancer throughout my school years and I completed the Higher dance course in 5th year. As I progressed into 6th year there was no more dance opportunities so I started up a dance after school club for all years of the school. I took it upon myself to choreograph 2 dances and then arranged for the dances to be shown at the end of the school at an expressive arts showcase.

This helped me going into the dance workshop last week , as I felt confident within myself however I still had a slight bit of nerves. I really enjoyed participating in the dance workshop as i learned a variety of ways to teach dance to children at an easy level and manage to still keep them intrigued. Eilidhs energy and enthusiasm was also great as it kept us keen and the atmosphere in the room was less awkward. We done numerous warm activities and stretches that would allow the children to come out of there comfort zone and have a bit of fun wether they were taking it serious or messing about. It allowed us to relax and just have an easy start to the lesson.

We then moved onto travelling techniques , we had a pair so that we didn’t feel on the spot or to embarrassed to complete the task. We had to travel from 1 side of the room to the other doing a variety of moves. We then had to observe the other groups and choose some of there moves , this would be key for children as they would all feel that there was important because someone else wants to try it. To finish up the class we had to get into a group with another pair and link all our moves together , we had to perform this to the rest of the class , but this was made easy as there was 4 of us and everyone in the class was in the same boat.

Leaving the class I now feel that all the little tips and tricks we learned I could put into a lesson and comfortably teach a dance lesson in a primary school.  I would still feel a little nervous but if I planned my lesson correctly and was well prepared then I feel I could pull it off. 

What teaching means for me

What teaching means for me: Leigh Douglas

Ever since I was younger I had always known that I wanted to pursue a career that involved working with children. To begin with I wanted to be a paediatric nurse but decided this wasn’t for me as I feel my emotions would have got the better of me. I then opted for the route of becoming a social worker however due to family members past experiences working in this sector I had decided this also wasn’t for me. I wasn’t ready to give up my dream of working with children so I tried new things and took a class in Secondary school that involved teaching the class and creating lessons. From my skills and qualities from this I then took it a step further and took up working in a local primary school once a week. I wanted to do this to try the teaching side of things and to see if I had found my potential career. Whilst doing this I realised how much I enjoyed teaching, in particular primary.

The more experience I got in the primary school the more it pushed me to apply to university. As before this I hadn’t even considered university an option as I was torn between what I wanted to do. Knowing how much of an impact I could have on the children at this important stage in their live was incredible as I felt I could guide them on the right journey to adulthood.  Teaching is helping the young people grow to be the best possible version of themselves that they can be.  The idea of being a part of that intrigues me more and more every day. I want the pupils to be able to trust me and understand that I care and that I want the best for them. Within my classroom I want the pupils to be honest with each other and be able to trust there fellow classmates too.

For me being a teacher is not only about teaching the young children but also learning new things every day for myself. I will be faced with challenges some good and some bad but it’s about finding the best possible way to face these challenges and overcome them to get the best out of myself and my pupils. I want to have an open learning environment where the kids feel like they can come to me with any issues and we will find the best possible way to address them. Teaching is about helping the pupils how to overcome their problems themselves where possible so that they are ready to be faced with the real working world and help them to become polite, hardworking members of society. Like Anne Isabella Ritchie once said “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”.

Welcome to your WordPress eportfolio

Welcome to your ePortfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.

The ePortfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:

You can pull in a YouTube video:

You can pull in a Soundcloud audio track:

You can upload an image or pull one in from Flickr or any other image sharing site.

Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

You can just about pull in anything that you think will add substance and depth to your writing.