Today I attended a talk and workshop based around ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). The talk was carried out by Chris Kilkenny who himself had many ACEs in his childhood. Now at 24, Chris talks about his experiences and how as teachers we can take 5 minutes out of our day to speak to children, find out how they are feeling and hopefully help them feel even a little bit “normal”. We can show these children we care, we respect them and build a good relationship with them. It could be something as simple as providing a slice of toast in the morning or offering a hug to somebody that needs it.
Chris’ talk was thought provoking, interesting and a great insight in to how some children are feeling and how they are living. Poverty can play a huge part in their school day and it is our job to try and make sure they have the best experience they can whilst at school.
Today has made me think about my practice and what I could do to help in my future career.
For 1PP1 i am in a small village school with no more than 130 pupils total. I have 17 pupils in my P7 class. I feel I have started to bond well with the children in my class. The one thing I really struggled with at the start was not gaining the classes attention but managing to keep it. Now I am in my fourth week of placement however and I feel that it was not the fault of the class but my fault. The children could feel my panic and my lack of confidence when teaching lessons. This was why they stopped listening or got distracted. Since starting 1PP1b I have more confidence and I have a more authoritative voice rather than just shouting to gain attention. I am building a rapport with the class and I know what they are capable off and how long I can get away with talking for before they start to lose interest.
The good thing about the class is they are very varied in ability. As I have pupils who are working across first, second and third level I have been able to differentiate most of my lessons especially Maths and Literacy. This gives everybody in the class the opportunity to succeed with the work they are given. I have so far taught lessons from most areas of the curriculum. I still need to do a Technology, Science and a PE lesson but I have covered all other areas of the curriculum.
Last week I feel the most successful lesson was an RME one based around Easter and the Easter story. I started a whole class conversation by using questioning and to try and find out what previous knowledge the class had. I then used a short 5 minute Lego version of the Easter story to gain some interest with the children which they all enjoyed and then they could use their imagination to draw their own pictorial timeline of events from the Last Supper to the Resurrection. I attended Catholic School so I knew the story well but I did not want to teach it as dryly as i had been taught in the 90s. The class got really involved with the lesson and produced some good imaginative timelines.
This week I have a Maths lesson based on Perimeter and Area where I will be taking the class outside to get hands on. I am hoping getting them out of the classroom will mean they enjoy this lesson and it can help them understand the concepts in a real life situation.
I also have some Health and Well-being, Art, Literacy and French lessons planned. I enjoy whole class lessons and feel more confident with these than group ones. I am hoping the more group lessons I do the more confident in these I will become.
Another semester that went too quickly!
As expected, I have given up my job to concentrate on University and to be able to focus 100% on my placement.
Semester 2 was spent focussing on Pedagogy and the Curriculum. I already knew a bit about pedagogy but mostly in an Early Years setting. This did give me a slight head start when it came to research and starting my reading list.
As i said in my last post we had spent a little time doing dance and ICT classes. I really enjoyed learning more about the content of the curriculum and the different subject areas. I have always enjoyed Social Studies and I was looking forward to being able to teach those parts of the curriculum when I started placement. The Maths classes were informative and we were shown ways in which we could make Maths fun for our pupils. Science and Technologies were interesting, informative and enjoyable. The cakes we made in technologies may not have gone to plan but they were edible!
Another subject I really enjoyed when I was at school was Modern Languages. I started learning French in Primary 3 and continued this until Sixth year. When I saw the elective module choices last semester I straight away decided to pick a language. I initially went in to French but due to the large gap I had taken away from speaking the language I found it too fast paced but due to my school qualifications I could not drop down another level. I decided to switch to a language I had never really come in to contact before and that was Spanish. I missed 3 weeks which made me a little worried that I would fall behind but I had nothing to worry about. I found out that I still enjoyed learning a new language and actually, I am really good at it. I can’t wait to start bringing Modern Languages in to the classroom and hope I can ignite a spark in another child who may enjoy languages too.
I’m a walking cliche. I have always wanted to teach and now I am almost through my first year with just 3 weeks of placement to go!