Maths is a very controversial subject; not debating its importance but whether children feel confident in participating with it. A lot of children have an anxiety when faced with maths due to a negative stigma that it holds. In primary school I always felt further behind to others as I was never quick at maths or able to do it in my head. When using my fingers to count up on, I was told this was wrong and a bad habit to get into. Using any other strategies at the time was difficult for me and this made me struggle through the years.
As a future practitioner, I want to enlighten the children with the positives of maths and how even though many believe we will never use it again – we use it everyday. Even though I had a negative experience in primary school, I do not want this to show in my classroom or the children to experience what I and many others did.
There is a lot of myths that come with the thought of mathematics. Many people are gullible to the idea that you can only be good at either maths or english and cannot be good at both. This, however, is very false and is almost a scapegoat for those who have an interest in one to only focus on the one subject. There is also a myth that women cannot do maths. If you ask a room full of people to draw a mathematician, more often that not, they will draw a male. Many people associate maths with males. However, this is a growing evolution with the acceptance of gender equality so we should be highlighting this within the classroom. Therefore, the children will not believe any of these myths.
When educating the children about mathematics, I will make sure not to make them feel worried or anxious about equations and myths. I will make the classroom environment a healthy and nurtured place to work and try my best for everyone to enjoy each step of their learning. Also, allowing the children to talk openly about their answers and share how they managed to work it out. This allows their peers to develop new strategies that they might have never thought of before and also gives the children confidence so they believe in themselves more.
During this weeks lecture, talking specifically about the history of Racism and Patriarchy, really made me think how much this still goes on today. This lecture was very powerful and emotional as it made you think of the society we live in. It was not that long in the past when genders were divided and stereotyped. This shows that even though our society may look more accepting as time goes on – proven from the acceptance of integrated marriages and laws on gender discrimination in the work place – society still have negative thoughts surrounding race.
The media has a lot of influence towards this and patriarchy in society as they can portray their own bias views. Many people believe everything they see or read online as they think it is factual and trustworthy. Often, this is not the case and they tend to categorise groups in society. Women are deemed weak which is proven from the #likeagirl campaign. Men and Women were asked to do several every day actions like run – which they all did portraying no effort and weakness. However, when young girls were asked, they should signs of power and capability. This shows that women are almost taught by society to have no self confidence and categorise themselves as a lower ranked gender to the ‘superior’ men.
As well as women being categorised, races can also be too. For example, specific races and religions can be discriminated against due to being associated with crime. Islamophobia has become mainstream and even more of a problem in society ever since ISIS has been linked to Muslims. Ever since, there have been media articles to support this which have made citizens a target. For example, an MP was found retweeting a story portraying a negative image on an Islamic family – which was false.
Of course, in the past, situations regarding racism and patriarchy were beyond the worst in time – for example, the ‘Jim Crow Laws’ stopped the mix between races and tried to socially discriminate them. This lead to the uprising of the Civil Rights Movement such as Rosa Parks standing up for the Black race and the quarter of a million protestors who marched for equality.
This lecture showed how much we have moved past from the depth of racism and patriarchy that society was tied in. We are more accepting as a whole to different races and cultures and women are fighting to break the glass ceiling. I already have a very open mind to races and genders being equal and never become mislead by stereotypical ideas regarding so. In my profession I need to know that children can be affected in different ways regarding race or gender discrimination. Even though children are more accepting, they still face troubles which I need to be aware of.
Tuesday 18th September
During this workshop we were divided into small groups with the aim to come up with a resource that a new student would find useful. Each group was giving a brown envelope which had a variety of objects. In my envelope, there was only one pen, one pencil, two sticky notes, two paperclips, a small piece of blue tack and two rubber bands. We had a long discussion about what we could do in order to help a new student. At first, we found it quite hard as there were little resources in our pack. After a few minutes of discussion, we came up with the idea of a simple map of the Dalhousie building – where we said most of the student’s modules would be held. All the groups had to share their ideas and it was not until that our group started to notice that all the other groups had a lot more resources. We did not complain at the time as we just respected the lecturer and assumed it was perhaps a mistake. However, she explained that it was a deliberate action and questioned the groups whether or not they noticed.
The groups with the most resources explained that they were too focused with their task to realise that there were groups who had a lot less that they did. The groups – like ours – who had very little – agreed that we noticed we had a lot less when each group were presenting and getting very high grades. We did not think it was fair, but were content with what we had.
This happens everyday where children go to school with very little. The one hot meal at lunch could be some childrens’ only one. Whereas some children are more privileged. They do not see themselves as any superior because they just do not realise the inequality around them.
What I have taken from this workshop the most is that each child experiences life differently. You have to know as an educator how to support each child without making them feel left out or different to their peers. It is important to help guide each child and support their wellbeing.
If I had to give a reason as to why I wanted to become a teacher, I would have to start at the beginning where it all began. My educational journey started at the age of four – different to most who start at five. This was a factor that helped me to grow up quicker than most. I found myself always aiming to achieve just to stay on par with my peers. I have had my negative experiences with teachers who questioned if I should be at school due to my lack of maturity and the best experiences where others believed in me.
Having educators and “role models” who I should have been able to go to for guidance or worries, knock my confidence a such a young age, could have allowed me to take little seriousness in my education. However, I have done everything in my power to grow academically and challenge my abilities.
So, to answer the most asked question at my first week of University, “Why do you want to do teaching?”
Because if I could be half the educator of those teachers who supported me, then I would be succeeding and making the best impact on vulnerable children; I could give back to the education system that has taught me everything that I know and I can spend everyday being in a career that I love.
While contributing in work experience in classrooms across Dundee and Fife, I have developed my passion for teaching. Witnessing each child’s light bulb moment – where something they thought they would never understand, finally comes clear is the most fulfilling feeling. Knowing that I could improve the quality of a child’s life is the reason that teaching is for me. It is everything that I have wanted.
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