So I have met my class!
Wow. This will be a different experience from what I’m use to in terms of teaching.
Growing up, I lived in a low socio-economic area and so the behaviours, attitudes, and characteristics of the students doesn’t worry me. Some of them are very sweet but many of them wouldn’t have the active involvement of their parents or the community in their learning. And it certainly shows.
As soon as I walked into the school, heading to the Admin Office, it was around 8:00 am and it was deserted. No one was around. No kids playing in the school or waiting to go into class… It didn’t look like any Monday that I’m use to.
I met my mentor, and she is quite lovely, and very honest. She explicitly prepared me for the types of students in her class, and even the ones she preferred over others haha (umm…). The classroom is massive with heaps of space so that’s awesome! There’s an IWB and 6 extremely slow computers that we have to (every Monday) Turn on, Log In, Shut Down, Turn on, Log In again for it to work (all which load at different paces varying between 1min-10mins!). I am very glad there is an IWB! That’ll be used a lot for my lessons.
My mentor teacher said I will be teaching Shapes in the first week I started suggesting activity ideas, and straight away she said “Nope! Even simpler than that. Just take these 3D objects, and talk about them the whole time. Look at that 2D chart. Talk about those shapes. Really simple stuff”. Early years is a very new world to me and even more-so that this class has many disadvantaged learners!
Students started turning up. I didn’t hear any school bell. No one lined up outside. Everyone just started wandering in and looked me up and down as if I was an unknown specimen😛 Four or so students weren’t wearing the school uniform. Others turned up very late into class. I met a new student who started that day – he was very shy at first but quickly opened up and talked to me He told me he’s “no good at reading or writing” – and it doesn’t look like he’s the only one. As I stayed around, I was able to witness the first hour of class time.
Assisting students, roughly four of them didn’t know how to read the spelling words expected to be written into their books – we had to write the words out for them as they traced over. As I was assisting one student, I asked if they could tell me then next spelling word down the list as I wrote it. He started trying to sound it out. “Mmmmnnga” and looked at me with a very unsure face. I started help him, “P… p… paaaan”. He said, “Pan!” and had the biggest smile on his face.
I have never experienced this first hand. I have always wanted to and now is the opportunity. At the start of uni, this type of experience would have scared me but instead it has made me even fonder of the students and becoming their teacher. I really want to be there for them. Unfortunately prac is only three weeks. My primary focus is involving ICT to transform learning, but to be honest, there are far more crucial and fundamental steps that need to be taken before getting the kids involved with ICT. My goal will be to try and use this ICT to support these fundamental steps needing to be targeted.
As I continued my experience with the class, a few students, but one in particular, started challenging me. Behvaiour management is another thing I will be implementing a lot. But I believe this should primarily be achieved through using Positive Behvaiour Management.
Something I incredibly want to incorporate into my prac experience is this: At the end of each week, I give every single student a compliment. If not, every morning for 10 minutes before starting (By week 2). Such a small gesture can go an incredibly long way. I am already falling in love with these students and I see their potential. They are amazing kids; they just don’t have a lot of support or confidence. This idea was sparked by this gentleman
Talitha Grace King 🌱