Category Archives: My educational philosophy

How do I blog again?!

It’s fair to say I am not going to win any awards for my commitment to writing blogs but as I’ve began my third year (eekk! HELP!) it’s time I got back to the keyboard!

We’ve been asked to think about a memorable experience from our own time at school. This is a tricky question. I have many fond memories so trying to pick a stand out one is tough! However there is one that springs to mind…

I lived in Germany for a few years when I was younger so went to Kindergarten and then Primary School out there. Next to my P1 classroom was a large open plan room and every 6 weeks – alongside the other younger years classes we would turn this space into a different kind of ‘shop.’ For the last 3 weeks, on a set day of each week, parents would be allowed in for an afternoon and we would take it in turns to serve them.

The shop I remember the clearest was the florists. During art lessons we made roses out of crepe paper and attached them to pipe cleaner stems. Parents were given some plastic money as they came in so they could then come to our ’til’ and buy our handcrafted flowers. The coins given to the parents were only £1 and 1€ and each flower would be to this value, thereby making it quite manageable for us.

To display the flowers, we painted and decorated little cardboard boxes – letting us loose with the glitter was a brave move by our teacher but we absolutely loved it! In the shop, little tables and chairs were laid out so that once you had worked your ‘shift’ you could go and spend some time with your customers and tell them all about what you had done.

This time was valuable. My Dad was in the RAF so it was a military school I was at and many of us would not be seeing our military parent much during the week. Despite this, the school was very much part of the camp so there was a strong connection between the two. A  real emphasis was put on trying to ensure that children could see their parents as much as possible. Therefore, the afternoon visits into the school were factored into the camps timetable where possible to maintain a strong family environment for the children.

I realise now how lucky I was to have attended a school like this and it was due to the unique environment of the camp we lived in that allowed it to work so well.  It was ambitious for the teachers to take on quite a large project that was near enough continuous but it worked so extremely well for that particular school.

It’s not like anything I have ever done since at any one of the schools I have been to so am thankful I had the opportunity to have had such a unique experience at my first! And who knows…maybe I’ll be brave enough to try it with a class of my own one day!



Hello! Bonjour! Hola! Guten tag!

Languages. We all have one but should we just stop at that?

I believe that as teachers, we would be depriving our pupils if we did not incorporate other languages of the world into our classroom. It is ever more apparent that these days huge numbers of people do not just live in the country of their birth for their entire life. So are we really equipping the children with the basic fundamentals for life if we do not grant foreign languages with a high level of importance within the classroom?

I was fortunate enough to spend time and live with Spanish students for three weeks in Edinburgh whilst they visited Scotland. I was there to teach and improve their English. In the morning they went to language school and then spent the afternoons and evenings with us- sight seeing, playing games in the park and going shopping. Whilst all the time speaking in English.  Many a time we faced difficulties where nor one or the other could understand what the other was trying to say. Which as you could imagine could be extremely frustrating! However we always got there in the end!

The thing that made this extremely difficult was the fact that I cannot speak Spanish. I could sing you the odd Spanish song from past experiences of strutting my stuff on the dance floor to them, but no where near what was needed to have a conversation! If I had been able to speak their language fluently it would have been all to easy for us to just start communicating in Spanish when they got tired of English, completely defeating the main purpose of their visit!

Speaking a second language for a long period of time can be exhausting and witnessing that first hand of the students I was with made me truly respect and appreciate what they were doing.  Many of these young people spoke more than just the two languages. When I asked why,  they explained that by having a knowledge of other languages it opens up job opportunities all round the world for them. It would enable them to travel the world to see and experience all the different cultures we have. They believe that it’s only fair that if you travel to somewhere new, you as the guest, should make the effort to know at least some of the native language.

I love to travel. Especially as I lived in Germany when I was younger I love exploring new places!  Personally, I believe it’s really important for children to have a passion and desire to want to know about the world they live in and the people living in it. Many families cannot afford to take their children abroad so as a teacher it would be my wish to bring those countries into the classroom. We don’t necessarily need an aeroplane or boat to raise awareness of the outside world to children. We just need creativeness, imagination and passion. I want to ensure that any future pupil of mine leaves my classroom having a good idea of what living in another culture would be like and for them to have the desire to maybe visit that country in the future. I want them to know phrases of languages which could then be built on as they get older and used all around the world!

This country is a great place to live but when there is so much more greatness to see, let’s not shy our children away from that. Encourage exploring. It’s a bit like trial and error- you have to try things to see if you like them. You have to try new things to learn and as teachers we are there to facilitate that learning.

Get your backpacks on, we’re going on a round the world trip..classroom style!


After a lovely day at Portobello beach in Edinburgh with my lovely Spanish and English speaking friends!



Performing at the Royal Albert Hall!

For those of you who are not big music fans, don’t worry I’m not away to turn into some sort of super geeky band nerd! I just wanted to share this story to make those who are feeling a bit apprehensive about teaching music in their class not alone!

“You’re going to the Albert Hall!!” was the only thing I remembered from that band practice three years ago. The BBC Youth Proms wanted us to play in their concert? Surely not? But yes! Yes they did..

I’ve been playing brass since primary 5 and I was by no means a musical god that’s for sure! I didn’t let that stop me however! In my second year at high school my brass teacher asked me if I wanted to join the Carnoustie and District Youth Brass Band. I live in Carnoustie, which is a rather small place but every member, bar a few, come from the town- something quite unusual in the world of brass bands. We were also all taught by the same instructor- again something very unique. I knew the band was for competition purposes so thought that I’d give it a try and see what it would be like. If only I knew where that would lead..

Most bands are around for years and years before they enjoy competition success. We were exceptionally fortunate and only took four. Before I knew it we had won British and Scottish championship titles more than once and were winning awards from the likes of the BBC. It was a complete whirlwind experience! Unknown to us, something even better was waiting around the corner!

Playing live on stage to 5,000 people in the Royal Albert Hall is something I cant quite explain. Being washed with the overwhelming sound of applause vibrating the stage under your feet is something you just don’t forget. None of us could believe that we had somehow made it here. Yes, we had put in hours upon hours of rehearsing, blood, sweat and tears. When I say tears, I mean serious tears!

You would think that this would mean I’m probably quite confident about standing in front of a class and delivering a music lesson, but not quite.  After all these years I have developed my own way of interpreting music and my own way of learning it. So now I need to develop all of that into a way that a child will understand and can use later in life.  In some respect I need to go back and relearn music! Which is actually a rather daunting thought! I can’t be selfish and demand that it is my way of learning music and that’s it! No, I have to consider what will be best for the children I will be teaching. I have to think of ways to keep those who enjoy music interested and those who don’t, enthusiastic about it! I have had my opportunity to get specialised help but now it’s time for me to pass some of that knowledge on so that future children can benefit from music like I did.  Music is a brilliant way to let children express themselves and liven up their learning! No child should be deprived of the chance to experience what music can mean and do for them.

Music gave me friends, a sense of teamwork, discipline and an understanding of what it feels like to be rewarded for hard work. Without it I don’t think I would be at University today. This is why I feel music is such an important part of the curriculum and can be done so in a variety of different ways.

Let’s get music into those classrooms!

If you fancy a listen, below was part of our performance in the 2012 British Youth Championships, which we were lucky enough to come 1st, giving us the title of Best Youth band in Britain.  All the players are aged 12-21! I’m experiencing a rather bad hair day in the video..I’ll blame the nerves!

The last minute or so is my favourite!

You at the back! Point your toes!

Everyone can dance. You might not feel like that’s the case when you realise nobody wants to be seen with you when the music starts, but trust me, you can.

I first started dancing at  the age of eight- excited by the prospect of getting my own little pair of tap shoes that I could make as much noise in as possible! Oh the fun I was going to have on the kitchen floor!! Like everything when you first start it was difficult and took a lot of hard work to pick up the technique. However after MANY dance classes I was starting to turn into a fairly competent little mover. 2007 came my first big show, the excitement I felt to start the show routines was incomparable. So you could imagine my disappointment when I was dressed as one of the three little pigs from ‘Shrek.’ Curly tail included.  Despite my rather ‘pinky’ appearance I tap springed my way across that stage like no other pig had before!

The dance school I attended planned a trip for us to go and see the dance phenomenon, ‘Riverdance.’ That was eight years ago and from that moment since I have been Irish dancing. I enjoyed tap classes but Irish was something so different that had me hooked from the moment I started and has done ever since.  Not only is it a great way to keep fit but is an opportunity for you to forget about any worries or problems you have. You can immerse yourself in the steps you’re doing, the music, the beats coming from your shoes and the story you’re trying to tell.

The freedom you get from dance is something that I believe is rather rare. I feel that dance is an extremely important thing for a school to incorporate into their curriculum. It is a chance for children to express themselves in a safe and creative way. It is  giving them a chance to break free from any negative issues they may be experiencing at home or in the classroom. Instead of fighting, a child that feels angry about certain events can let that energy out through movement for example.

Dance should not be something a child or adult  feels embarrassed by or that they may be judged by others for what they look like doing it. Nobody has the right to make another person feel insecure about themselves. I’ll admit that I’ve often been caught having a little boogie to myself looking in no way in control of my limbs but I was having a great time so I guess that’s all that matters!

So, fellow student teachers let’s not care what we look like, let’s just play that music and alongside our children, DANCE!

You know you want to..


Why Teaching?

To me, your childhood is possibly the most important phase of your life. The experiences you remember, challenges you face, the knowledge you gain and the fun you have are what make you the person you grow up to be. As a teacher you are there to provide children with these experiences, help with the challenges, gift them the knowledge and join in the fun. You are there to watch these young people grow and develop into successful individuals. I was lucky enough to have had great experiences at school, with fond memories I will never forget. Now I feel that I want to repay the favour of being provided with such a great education. Having been in schools to help out with classes I quickly realised that there really is nothing better than seeing a child finally understand something they’ve struggled with. Whether it be them learning to spell their name or grasp how to do some tricky sums! I feel that being there to see a child progress and develop because of what you’ve be able to teach them is a privilege.

You are the person that a child sees five days a week so for me, I want to be a teacher that has a friendly face that young people can feel they can approach. It is important that the children feel comfortable around me and that I give them the support they need. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask me for help or advice. A teacher isn’t just there to stand in front of a class and teach children how to read and write. A teacher is there to guide and support children in their journey to being the best they can be. To help them build their social skills as well as academic. School should be fun and learning should be interesting so as a teacher it’s your responsibility to have a real love and passion for your profession. A love and passion that I hope to show as I work towards becoming a teacher.