Growing up as a child and throughout my time at primary school it was obvious that there were cases of gender stereotyping. First of all every teacher in my primary school apart from the Principal was female therefore as a boy I felt very much second best at times. I feel that the teacher cared for the girls much more than they did for the boys. This included hugs at the end of school, holding hands during break and lunch and chats about “girl stuff”. As a result I feel that during class girls received much more attention than boys, which does not add up to this concept of equality that is taught at school. From my own experience I feel that this very much has to change. I believe that there needs to be an increase in male primary school teachers and people need to get out of their heads that primary teaching is a job solely for women. From my volunteering last year at my old Primary School it was still apparent that girls receive much more attention than the boys. For the short time I was there every week the boys were firing questions at me such as “what football team do you support” proving the lack of attention they are receiving in class. I felt that the boys were genuinely excited to see me and as a result indicated further that I wanted to pursue teaching as a vocation. I also feel that at primary school there is an idea that it is acceptable to shout at boys and punish them for doing something wrong. However when you replace the boy with a girl a lighter approach seems to be taken. This is another issue I feel needs to be addressed.
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” This quote from Henry B. Adams encapsulates my main reason for wishing to become a primary school teacher as I want to inspire children to fulfil their full potential, not just for their school years but for the rest of their lives.
This personal journey began on my work experience at Castlereagh Borough Council where I coached and encouraged children to become interested in sport. My role involved setting up various activities and explaining rules that the children had to follow. I was pleasantly surprised at how much respect the children had for me as they looked towards me for advice and guidance, which has taught me to be positive and encouraging at all times.
However, it was my time spent at Clifton Special School that galvanised my decision to pursue teaching as a vocation. I spent my time with children of a similar age to myself who had a variety of disabilities. I felt privileged to complete my work experience there, witnessing the work that is carried out by dedicated professionals. I learnt that patience and understanding are key attributes a good teacher should possess, making me recognise how demanding a job it is.
My week spent at Clifton taught me to appreciate everyday life and not to take anything for granted, however more importantly it inspired me to volunteer for Positive Futures, a charitable organisation which helps integrate children with special needs into after school activities and sporting events. This alongside volunteering in a local Primary School, Grange Park has proven to me that there is nothing else I would rather be than a teacher.
Although being a primary school teacher is a highly demanding job, I believe that witnessing children grow into unique, confident and considerate individuals is truly rewarding. My aim is to help educate children while simultaneously teaching my pupils to show respect for one another and to fulfil their full potential.
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