Weekly Reflection: Onwards to the ‘real world’

A chocolate fish for anyone who can name the city where I took the picture (photo by author)

This week marked the end of student teaching for me. I still have another two months left of lectures, assignments and exams left until the end of my course but the practical part of the course now over.  It feels surreal that in the classroom I’ve been assessed as exceeding the Graduating Teacher Standards but I have to drag myself back to uni for another two months. It’s not that I don’t enjoy learning, I just don’t find university coursework for the most part particularly engaging and I’m really going to miss the kids and being in a school. Especially as I had such an awesome placement, my Associate Teacher was fabulous and the teaching staff were so generous with their knowledge.

Reflecting on my learning goals for Teaching Experience Two. They were:

  • Being clearer with communication with learners around learning intentions, also giving effective formative feedback. Learning intentions have come a long way especially now I am co-construction them with the students. I’ve been enjoying the feedback  aspect a lot better and using questioning techniques to get the students to reflect and tell me where their learning needs to go which is a lot better than me telling them!
  • Making the most of ‘teachable moments.’ I don’t feel like I can check that one off but I am getting there.  I find myself listening to the learning far more than when I started however this may a goal which proves to be asymptote.
  • Time management. Eight reading groups and eight maths groups meant I had get tough on my time management. c3 b4 me has helped with teacher distractions and the students with their learning.
  • Asking for direction and guidance from associate. This particular bit of feedback from my last Teaching Experience caused me to really pause to reflect. This time around I made sure that I asked lots and lots of questions and checked in to make sure the relationship was being managed well from my end. Also because I wasn’t there to show I was a good teacher, I was there to learn I felt a lot more confident about asking questions. I will also give my Associate Teacher mad props for being wonderful and generous with her knowledge.
  • Literacy – yet to teach any English classes.  Teaching literacy is something I struggled with a lot initially but now I find myself looking for learning opportunities from both myself and the students.

My development for next year:

  • Better incorporate Te Reo into my practice .
  • Work more on positive behaviour management strategies.
  • Practice running records.
  • Cope better with teacher distractions in order to maximise learning time.

Looking at both my Visiting Lecturer observations and Associate Teacher reports I can easily track the progress I’ve made from my first placement to my second placement which is awesome. I’ve gone from competent/strong on the seven Graduating Teacher Statements up to strong all seven. I didn’t quite manage a clean sweep of strongs on the seven standards in one report but came very close on my last two reports.

With the benefit of hindsight I can see that this placement was exactly what I needed for my learning. At the start I wasn’t too enthused at the idea of teaching juniors. I thought they would be way too difficult in comparison to the older kids who can self manage not to mention you can’t do as much interesting stuff with the juniors. How wrong I was!

More importantly being out of my comfort zone has really helped me with my learning and I found myself loving teaching the year 1/2s. They taught me how to listen, feel, touch, see and sometimes taste the learning. The little ones have brilliant questions and constantly surprise you, there’s never a dull moment in a junior classroom.

Would I want to be a junior teacher?

Yes!

Though these days I’m not too fussed about year level as I know I can learn and grow no matter the age group, what I am looking for next year is a school which has a great environment to build on my learning. It is amazing to think that the next time I am in a classroom it will be as a Beginning Teacher. Hopefully this will help me in the next two months grind of assignments and exams.

However this week its holidays which I have celebrated in true student teacher style by getting sick. Again.

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