Sometimes life literally throws you challenges that make you want to give up, due to the annihilation of your values. My profession makes me particularly vulnerable to this, where interactions with little people can truly upset what you believe in. In particular, experiencing children lack of respect for their teachers. I understand children have strange ways of expressing themselves. It was through an incident where a child was relentlessly throwing sand right up to my face was the time that truly made me think what the hell am I doing this job for? I was thinking that this child cannot even listen to stop where the stronger the reprimand the worse the throwing became, picking up more sand and then aiming it higher and higher, and eventually, the sand was in my eyes. Children can be bullies and it is at this time when I feel, “stuff this there is no way this kid can learn anything!”
But it is at these moments we need to go inside ourselves and find why we are so triggered by these behaviours. Yes, I have had my time with domestic violence in the past which was the initial trigger that welled up the tears but digging deeper I realised that it was the sadness I felt for a child that feels that the only way they can interact is through testing boundaries with other humans. I am going to come out of this week feeling grateful for a supporting team at work and for my family to realise that there are many people like this in the world. This little person will not be the only one who challenges my values of respect, trust, and kindness – adults do the same thing but we choose to distance ourselves from toxic humans. I realise that my time with this child is only a blip in their life and the only way for me to teach kindness is to go back to that group of children and just be there, listen, and learn. It is through shared experiences that we develop our resilience and learn from each other.
So thank you little human, you have a lot of carry in your life but you need to realise that there are people who care.
The last 12 weeks have been intense and now that I am finally on a break from Uni I am so, so relieved! It has been so full on the last few months since I had my birthday in April until now. We even went for a holiday but it does not even feel like we even had a break since I fractured my elbow and then… Boom, I was working full time, studying and pretty much 7 day workload for over a month! We are in lockdown for the second week and I could not be happier as I do not have to be anywhere except work!
I have been loving this book I borrowed from the library with its gorgeous layout with information on so many plants! I was devouring the information and now I need to get myself a copy to focus on adding more plants to my collection. That is truly something to be grateful for my plants that are enjoying themselves in our temperature controlled house, now with solar!!
What a week! I just handed in my portfolio from my teacher placement on Sunday and then it was time to start the case study for my next assignment and I was also back to work for a full day on Wednesday. I was so thankful for this gorgeous evening out to capture the blood moon lunar eclipse. We had beautiful clear skies that evening which meant it was quite a chilly, winters evening outside. I ended up grabbing my tripod to capture this beauty and watch the eclipse from my front garden – it was beautiful and definitely something to be thankful for this week!
We are now back in lockdown 4.0 with 45 cases at the moment, thank goodness for the COVID vaccination and I have had the first dose – the second one is in August. Till then, gotta stay safe! x
What felt like weeks was only 21 days but it was the most intense of times! Especially when I had to catch up on study on the weekend!! Full time working and studying is way too much. I am actually catching up and starting a new assignment today so I have to say I am grateful for the family for keeping dinner on the table that was one less thing to worry about after I came home from my meetings or time with the kids. Every day I had a new story of what was happening at school! Such an amazing experience and here is my critical reflection because as teachers – we love to reflect on everything 😀
I have learned that teaching in a primary classroom is a very demanding position requiring you to juggle multiple roles of not just the teacher but the manager of the classroom and the mediator of the children. Plus there are the meetings after work that require reflection on teaching practices within the Professional Learning Community to help guide the practice and focus on areas of teaching for the students. This practicum has changed my professional approach to gaining an even greater respect for teachers and all of the work they do to teach students. The behind the scenes organisation and preparation to make lessons happen is just a small part of the magic of teaching. For my intellectual development, I have learned so much with regards to interacting with children and have learnt to appreciate them as individuals, it was truly upsetting to experience at the beginning of my placement that school was the safest and supportive place for some children to be. The insight of this understanding has been phenomenal in seeing into the community in which I live and that there is a lot of suffering out there for children and at school they see positive role models. For my personal and ethical development, I have to say that I am now looking at myself from a new lens that I have travelled an emotional journey with this placement to see that children no matter what level they are at need the individual support they deserve but the reality is that one teacher with 20 students that task is near impossible. So I have felt that whatever I can do so this group of children can take away one thing with them whether that is to cut with scissors or learning to be organised, I wish them all the success in the world.
Teaching is a job that requires new ways to compartmentalise all the jobs that need to be done by making multiple lists that are just endless. The way children are looking for challenges in their learning has made me realise that, if children say their classwork is boring they are not being challenged enough. It is really important to find that fine line for children, which is the just right place in their learning. What I have learned about the teaching profession that I was not previously aware of is just how overwhelming it is and how important it is to have a supportive teaching team. The challenges that teachers face with inclusive classrooms is huge and what I have seen is that the model that exists now within the public school system can be seriously damaging to the children and also the teachers. I believe in inclusive learning but because of a lack of funding there are children that fall through the cracks and do not get the help they need because they are in the wrong learning environment.
What I would do differently if I had to do this again is to prepare myself for the emotional rollercoaster of the placement. I now know that there are many facets to the community that is seen at the microcosm of the school level and that itself is confronting. Nothing can prepare you for the challenges in the classroom but it helps to have someone that is there to support you like my mentor teacher. I think I would have set up more conversations with my psychologist over the period to actually deal with the emotions I was feeling about the children with some of the situations they are dealing with. Our school teaches Auslan (as our shared language for the whole school) and I would have thought that would be a way of communicating for all with children with speech/language difficulties. As a teacher, you just want to solve problems but sometimes they are out of your control.
The impact on student learning has been that some struggling students were given the opportunity to work with a teacher one on one and I feel that will help them understand what they need to do for the future. Sometimes I see that students want to read with me and that all they want to do is for someone to actually care about what they are doing and give them some positive feedback. I know this because of the trust some of the information the students share with me, I suggested to her to draw and encourage her to visually represent what she wants to say which she is really good at. I would say that these experiences with a handful of students in the class gives me hope that they look at learning in new ways.
I certainly have a new respect for teachers and the multitude of experiences they have to deal with daily.
Look now it is midweek and I have been so flat out that I have not been able to be thankful for what this week has given me. I know it has provided plenty of experience working with children but man I am so tired with working full time in a classroom and on the weekend I am writing my portfolio for my placement. Times to craft with the kids in class has been super fun and I am thankful for these opportunities! I have 3 days to go on my student placement and then it is back to the kinder to be with the really little kids. Even though the time is so crazy at the moment it is a great time I am enjoying with the teaching team I am working with and so grateful for learning something new every day!
My second week of teacher placement and I had to create a card making activity for the students. We had a lot of fun with the cutting and folding and pasting and glitter! I am so tired by the end of the week as I have learned so much from the kids and my mentor teacher as well as teaching it is so much to do but so enjoyable. I am so thankful that the people I am with are so fun as it makes the days just cruise by!
All I can say is that I am exhausted an overwhelmed from working full time this week. I have not worked full time since my last job at a school in California 2017-2018. Currently I am on student placement and there is so much to learn every day and it is intense work with a class of 20 children. I am absolutely thankful that I am working with such a professional and experienced staff of educators and learning so much. I have been enjoying some crafting with the children and doing a couple of lessons for mothers day crafts which has been a lot of fun in between meetings and observing and interacting with children – whew, it is tiring but so rewarding at the same time!
What a lovely way to end the month with a trip to Geelong by train to see the Rone exhibition. It was quite a long journey by train though very relaxing. On the way back we caught the train with all the people going to the football so it was so crowded! People not wearing their masks properly in a sardine can, not cool at all.
Still the Rone exhibition was so gorgeous with a collection of his works from the beginning of his career. We spent the day checking out the CBD with a ramen plate for lunch and finding such amazing places like the Naitonal Wool Museum and Geelong Weaving Mill. Plus a collection of ceramics with such incredible colour. What a way to end the time before I go to a primary teaching placement from tomorrow for 21 days of full time work!
What a birthday month it has been so far with about 2 weeks to go. Our family holiday was time out in nature that we all needed and time in the National Park picking up rubbish to protect the beautiful animals that live there. It is so sad to see the disrespect to nature when there is a bin not far away, sometimes I question humans existence and whether we can save this beautiful planet we are on.
To end the holidays I celebrated with a small party at our house where we all enjoyed some time together in a group after being apart last year. Turning 50 is a milestone and deserves to be celebrated. I ordered a beautiful pinata cake with retro icing, we had enchiladas and tamales for dinner with heaps of snacks and salsa. The night ended up with me in the hospital as I went down the park in the dark and tripped on a chain and sprained my arm really badly to the point that it needed an xray. It was a terrible place to hang for 2 hours after a party but I was happy that I went and checked it out. Today after a dose of pain relief and ice plus a tetanus shot for good measure, my arm is feeling much better. Hey, sometimes the universe has to stop you in your tracks and make you rest and today I did with bruises, cuts and pain in my body – peace at last. Well I have to say I am thankful there is nothing broken and it is certainly a birthday I will remember for a long time to come!!