With the New Year just gone, I thought it would be beneficial for myself to reflect on who I am and what has guided me on this path to becoming a teacher.
Writing this was a bit of a whirlwind, after all, reflecting on your family, friends and the events that have took place in your life can feel a little overwhelming! Almost like a rollercoaster, but it is good to appreciate and realise every now and again, that it is this rollercoaster that has made you the person that you are!
From my own perspective, a child’s mind is the window to true insight, creativity and expression! As we get older it seems as though this freedom we once had, this innate quality of curiosity and exploration not… disappears, but almost gets overlooked, as we become aware of our constant evolving society!
Throughout adulthood, I believe that we sometimes try to look for that sense of curiosity, excitement, and discovery that once guided our childhood! (This is what makes life so exciting, we’re on a constant journey of self discovery and enlightenment!!)
Although in a childs eye it may seem as though adults have a very different take on innovative and initiative, it is our job to guide and motivate. I believe it is what and whom inspired us in our early days that creates today’s geniuses, heroes and people who are changing the world for the better.
As a teacher, I believe it is our job to help children realise that the world sometimes does have expectations, but there is not one we can’t accomplish! It is our job to be realistic and resourceful, to help show the measure of all the individual talents a child may have. Some that aren’t always measured in test result form.
(I’m truly passionate about the idea of everybody having so many unique capabilities and potentials, this is why I believe appropriate guidance and drive towards opportunities are crucial. It is the things that have inspired us that influence our sense of belonging!!)
When I look back at my own journey, there are so many factors that have made me who I am today, both the good and the bad! Events that have took place, the people around me, family, friends and the achievements and failures we all sometimes make.
After striving to be a perfectionist throughout my early teenage days, I have recently realised there is no such thing as true failure! Every failure offers a chance to renew determination and become that one little bit closer to the things you are passionate about. My life so far, with university being one of the main influential factors, has taught me that achievement is about progress, patience and perseverance. Success can truly be developed from self-belief!
It has always been in my temperament to try to help people and try to have some form of positive impact on those around me. There’s nothing I enjoy more than knowing someone is genuinely happy! If a positive impact can be made, a difference can take place in the world and this is what makes me beyond passionate for teaching! Every day you have the opportunity to nurture, guide and celebrate the potentials of the human mind!! (If that isn’t the most rewarding job, then I don’t know what is!!)
One specific area within teaching that I find fascinating is SEN and it is interesting to observe how one another can have alternate perspectives. In previous placements before I joined university, I got the opportunity to work with an autistic child and helped create schemes for children with safeguarding and behavioural issues. Although difficult to remain objective at times it was especially rewarding to see how academic progress was developed after progress in emotional welfare was met. This has shown me the importance of building positive relationships with pupils. It gave me a real insight to the core needs of a child.
My interest from SEN has come from my own childhood experiences. After seeing the types of support systems in place for my older brother who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of five! I observed and formed opinions on these specific systems and what I believed to be effective or not. This includes a debate on Ritalin; whether medication is always necessary, or can appropriate support systems from a multi-agency approach replace this? Observing the effects of Ritalin on my brother throughout growing up was an eye opener to the importance of key workers, SENCOS and adapted learning environments, as these are methods I personally much more prefer as a teacher. It has also taught me some ways to work in partnership with parents as I have witnessed both positive and negative aspects in relation to SEN. (To this day I still like to see myself as my brothers little ‘big’ sister who is always willing to support him and offer him advice!!) SEN is an area I always thrive from.
Another amazing factor from teaching is this idea of a holistic approach, holistic learning! I have an enthusiasm for learning in which I would like to offer to other’s around me. I find that each topic can be engaging if presented in a way that grabs your attention. Some topics that have recently stimulated my love of learning include: Philosophy, Music, Science, Neuroscience, Psychology and all forms of Art. In primary school I favoured Art and English (especially descriptive writing and poem writing!!) I was quite shy as a child and sometimes found it difficult to explain what I meant or how I felt. Writing was almost a cure to put what I was trying to say in words I also loved being imaginative and putting a picture into someone elses mind, I think this is why I thrived of descriptive writing and Art so much. I also enjoyed the experimental side of science and the problem solving aspects in Maths. As a child I did tend to favour ‘hands on’ activities that allowed me to be challenged and allowed logical thinking to take place. I’m intrigued by anything that can show you the range of possibilities upon one concept and open your mind!
Outdoor learning is something I believe to be incredibly beneficial, from my own experience some of my greatest childhood memories include riding my bike, climbing trees and exploring the outdoors with friends! I always remember lessons that took place outdoors and always remember when we could go on a field during summer play times. Outdoors allows you to explore and I like that!, Especially in the new wave of todays technology. I don’t like the idea of the outdoor world being lost and children preferring to stay indoors when they have the option! A way I’d probably resolve this in a school is by mixing media’s, using both technology and the outdoor area in collaboration when useful.
The greatest teacher I had included a teacher who taught me in both year 4 and 6. After my eldest brother (someone who was a huge role model during my childhood) passing away aged 20 when I was in year 4 and me inevitably having to watch the effects take place in home life, my teacher taught me how to be resilient and allowed me to understand that it is ok to feel a certain way. Year 4 was a huge milestone into understanding the world itself a little more.
The characterises that seemed to differ this teacher is that he seemed to have a genuine enthusiasm towards his role. Every lesson created some kind of meaning and engagement. The creative aspects in his lessons allowed the class to think of things in a deeper sense and he always knew how to bring the potential out of every child as an individual. I remember studying the greek’s and always trying to become the ‘mathematician of the week’ which involved a wizard hat! This is the kind of teacher I aspire to be!! It is scary but thrilling to think in two years time I could be a qualified teacher with my own class, potentially helping change the lives of those around me. (THE EXCITEMENT!)
Throughout my time in university I aim to take every opportunity I can that allows me to continuously progress and discover potential. I feel as though I am learning something new every day and I am looking forward to learning more abstract pedagogy in the next years. Not only this but I am discovering who I am as a person, a learner and a teacher. After moving to university a month after my Dad (another role model of mine) unexpectedly passed away, I was almost set back but I’m so glad I followed through with my original plans. Its almost felt like a risk to my wellbeing moving away from home and having to focus so quickly after such an emotional impact. Neverthless I’m so glad I remained driven and resilient and I’d like to say I’ve made not only myself proud, but him proud too.
Going on a remote placement this year and moving to Hebden Bridge has also allowed my independence and confidence to grow. I was super lucky to be able to work with some brilliant teachers, trainees and children. Trainees and teachers in which I gained a lot from, this showed me the absolute importane of teamwork! The children were oustounding to work with.Sometimes a few challenges (a few late night tears) took place, but this is what makes it so worthwhile a long with the laughter and joy! Hopefully university will lead me on the path of being an OUTSTANDING teacher!
Growing up – Some great memories!
Childhood best friend, Natalie! Sister from another mister, neighbour who lived five doors down. Then and now with our memory box from 2002 (we still put things in this!) A massive character throughout my childhood! An absolute legend!