From the teaching perspective, this teaching placement has taught me to always be prepared, be flexible in the classroom, and be able to jump into a class at a moment’s notice. My MT had shown me an alternative method of teaching and although I didn’t totally agree with his methods, I was able to adapt my methods of teaching to get content across to the students. I had to be more direct with the questions I used, and I used more leading questions than I had in previous placements. Although the use of leading questions was not ideal according to Killen (2012), they were required to ensure the lessons were performed in the tight time frame. As there were no guided teaching sessions, by finishing the instruction time quickly, I was able to spend extra time to personally help the students that required further assistance in understanding the lesson.
In trying to build relationships with the students, this was a challenging class, with many special needs students. It highlighted the importance of understanding each student and to treat each student as individuals when determining their learning needs. Apart from students that had HFASD, I had to be aware of the learning and social needs of students from single parent families, low social economic students, and from extension students. For these students, special considerations were required when dealing with behavioural issues and learning needs . For some students, this was seen as unfair treatment especially when it came to consequences; however, during the time I had spent there, I tried to reinforce respect between students as well as teachers. I ensured through verbal communication that each student had gifts and difficulties, and they were treated accordingly. Overall, I tried employing empathy for the students in dealing with conflict, and whenever they sensed injustice.
Overall, this has been a challenging teaching practicum. The MT was a bit disorganised, and it left me confused as to my role in the classroom. However, Teaching is a team effort, and I although I had a difficult time especially during planning, I collaborated with the MT to ensure that the ‘script’ and activities were easy to follow, and and that the learning outcomes were achievable. This involved numerous editing of the plan with advice from the MT and the graduate teacher. On the positive, it made me become pro-active by making sure that I was ready to take over any lessons on a moments noticed, and it gave me valuable experience and insight into another teaching style. I am proud to have made a connection with the students by treating them as individuals and not as a one size fits all model.