So I have offically finished my prac! YAY. I am super happy and very proud of myself for completing this prac. It has been one of the hardest and challenging pracs I have encountered and I feel a lot more confident of myself as a teacher. I was chatting with my mentor and another teacher yesterday afternoon and we discussed that what uni has for us on the theory side is not adequate, not ‘real world’ and it just doesn’t fit most schools. The following is a short list of the things I have discovered on my prac.
1) My cohort of students were complex – far more than anything I have previously encountered. We had students with disabilities (fair enough, thats in each school) and that was easy to differentiate and cater to, then there is the social-emotional side of the cohort which relates directly to their behaviour and learning.
2) it is not practical to use ICT’s in this setting- to begin with the IWB doesn’t work, their computers aren’t all working and there isn’t enough for the whole class. There isn’t a computer lab as I imagined there would be. Let’s just say I wans’t in the ‘leafy’ suburbs where there were ICTs a plenty!
3) The students have larger worries – where their next meal is coming from, where they are sleeping, what is happening at home etc there were some complexities that popped up out of nowhere – students having arguments/fights, bullying and outright agitiation and anxiety when asked to complete tasks. I was informed by many teachers that these kids need real world skills and support rather than a focus the warm fuzzy stuff (ie. ICT)
4) These students need structure and routine and I was required to work with the routine in the classroom there was minimal time to implement ICTs (A fact I have learnt it common throughout the whole school)
5) The education system is incredibly hard for some students and one must be tough, fair, caring and a whole bunch of other things all at one time to survive.
Regardless of these issues, or perhaps because of them I had built a lovely rapport and relationship with each student in my class. It took me so long to gauge where they were at because of the above mentioned complexities I never seemed to get it right until perhaps the last week. My mentor strongly believes there should be more prac less theory because what happens in the universities is not like the real world. I have come to understand why this is the case. My cohort of students did not fit into any box I had learnt about previously. I understand more about teaching and how complex it is than I have before hand. I loved my time in that class and I have approached the school about volunteering there one day a week because they are a great school (regardless of what others may think) and the students in the school are lovely, even if a bit complicated. I am hoping this will keep me grounded and give me a reality check as I progress towards the end of my degree.
I hope that as everyone brings their prac’s to a close you find that it was a successful prac (even if like me it was difficult and challenging) and you learnt something you can keep with you as a teacher. I am super excited to have finished, but now it brings back to the real world of assignments and blah.
Now – LONG WEEKEND TIME. I am going to the country with no phone no internet and my beautiful children to catch up on some much needed family time 🙂