Monthly Archives: September 2018

Should children be treated differently from each other? The answer is ‘no’.

During the Values: Self, Society and The Professions module, we took part in an eye opening workshop where the class was split into 4 groups and were given an envelope full of materials. When the envelope was placed onto our tables, we were told not to touch or have a look to see what was  inside. After being told that by our class teacher Gillian, the urge to have a look inside became so intense we were all on the edge of our seats waiting until she said we could have a look like little school children.

When we were able to have a look, a girl in my group tipped the envelope over to find some paper, pens, paperclips, sticky notes and blue tac. We were then informed we had to create a masterpiece from the materials provided to help a brand new student starting at the University of Dundee. Assuming everyone else in the class had the same materials, we started discussing in my group what to make from what we had. We decided to create a poster which included a map and some useful information for getting around the university. When the time came to present our masterpieces to the class, only then did we realise there were some extra materials which the other groups had and we didn’t. I then thought to myself how was this fair when we all had the same task to do AND it was a competition? This thought didn’t bother me much until we got told we would be graded out of 10. My group got a grade of 3 out of 10 along with another group who received 2 out of 10 for their work. I was surprised at the result, due to the fact that I thought my group had worked much harder and would achieve more. The remaining 2 groups received an 8 and 9 out of 10 and even received prizes! How is that possible I thought to myself? Were we not good enough? Where did we go wrong? The other groups received more praise compared to us as well. It was then we realised the purpose of this activity and by how I felt I was well and truly surprised.

Being a teacher, it is very important to acknowledge the inequalities amongst the children in your setting. Those who cannot produce the work up to a great standard may be due to the limitation of resources they have at home, or the support that they receive. However, what should be noticed is the amount of effort being put into their work and how they have come about putting it together. Some children may have the skills for any task which they have been set however cannot carry it out due to their limitations. What we don’t realise is we may be sitting praising a child for the work they have created, however those with the same abilities and skills will be able to perform the same but are disadvantaged as they may not be receiving the right support at home. It is our duty as teachers to make sure we encourage every child in the classroom equally in order for them to produce the best work they can and praise all children for any work that they carry out. This way children will feel encouraged and they will then thrive to be the best they can be, rather than being pushed back and discouraged. Children’s self-esteem and confidence will also be boosted and it will help them develop further in their education.

This activity really got me thinking about the way some children may feel when they are treated differently and not equal to those around them, no matter how much effort they have put in, whether it be more or less or depending on their home situation. The feeling I felt when the other teams scored more, due to more resources when we put just about the same effort in as them really astonished me to the fact that some children do get treated and do feel this way in some places. It is now our opportunity as teachers to change this and make sure all children are treated equally and no different from one another.

Why I thought Teaching was for me.

From a very young age, I have always had an ambition of being the main inspirational role to those younger than me. This feeling came from being an eldest sibling of four and having that constant mature and responsible role wherever I went and whatever I did. Mainly, by sitting with my younger siblings after dinner with their homework; teaching them their adding and subtracting sums on a whiteboard; and using my own knowledge of maths to demonstrate ways in which they could improve their learning and have fun at the same time. Making registers and marking grids, along with handing out golden stars to the best answers and handing out star awards – these were all ways which directed me to the career path I have chosen to pursue today.

Deciding if this is what I wanted to study at university, I took on the responsibility of finding work experience in a Primary School during my 6th year in high school. This allowed me to see the classroom in action from a classroom assistant/teacher’s point of view rather than a pupils. It then gave me that reassurance and satisfaction as I knew that this was the career path which I wanted to take.

Becoming a Primary Teacher not only includes teaching children their Literacy, Numeracy and Language. It brings the greater responsibility of nurturing young children in your care to become strong, responsible and confident individuals in order for them to be prepared for their life journeys ahead of them. It involves providing a safe environment where they can thrive to become the best they can be. Embedding key values into children such as social justice – engaging them into current issues around the world to encourage their learning to lead them onto a better future. By working alongside other professions involved in the educational communities in order to further develop children’s understanding of the outside world.  Being a part of a young person’s life at such a crucial stage makes it even more clear as to why I knew Primary Teaching was for me.