Here is the script I created for the video I am doing in response to this module.

Video Script

 

‘My name is Emma Shea, I am 21 years old and a Photography Student at Coventry University’

‘I have, for my 201MC Professional Experience Module, been volunteering at schools to gain experience and help me make a decision as to whether I wish to be a Primary or Secondary School teacher.’

‘Let me start off by saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience, I spent time in both a Primary and Secondary school environment and enjoyed every second of it, it has firmly cemented my choice to become a teacher as a future profession.’

‘Now let me say that children are absolutely insane and I think I might be a little bit crazy too for still wanting to be a teacher.’

‘Some things I have done over the course of my volunteering include:

  • Skipping with year fives
  • Shape poems with year fours
  • Spelling tests with year threes
  • Marking math’s papers
  • Marking English worksheets
  • Marking the same English worksheets the next day because a lot of the children refused to read the instructions at the top of the page so got it all wrong and had to redo it.
  • The holocaust with a group of Years 10’s who were previously unaware as to what the holocaust was
  • Acting out scenes of A Midsummers Nights Dream with year Sevens while wearing a crown and some fairy wings. Yeah I don’t have a picture of that.
  • Explaining to year Sevens that when we ask what kind of pranks they would play as a fairy, these things do not count: tickling someone to death, punching someone to death, burning their house down.
  • Seen a student punch another student in the lesson, and in the same day seen a child spit at another child in the hallway.

I spent a long time volunteering at Sidney Stringer Academy, a Secondary school in Coventry. I worked with a range of years, but I primarily spent most of my time with a Year 7 and Year 10 class that I became quite attached to as the volunteering went on. Both these classes were incredibly low ability and required a lot of work and dedication from the teachers. I ended up working closely with certain groups in the classes and tried my best to put as much effort into helping them learn as I could. Sometimes they were grateful for the extra help and really thrived. Other times they would do everything they could to fight against you. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to have an honest look into what being a Secondary school teacher is like.

It’s difficult, with long hours and few breaks. I only had a taste of it in my time there but it was really worth it to be able to say that if I do decide to be a Secondary school teacher, I won’t be walking in with any unrealistic expectations of what it is like.

It was also especially nice for me to able to prove to myself and other people that I can cope with the stress of Secondary School teaching.

I’m a relatively anxious person and was terrified this would hold me back from teaching. However, this was not the case, I took to the role as a teaching assistant like a fish to water and really do feel I could do the same with become a teacher.

 

The other School I spent a long time at was St Josephs Catholic Primary School in Northfleet, where I am originally from. This is in fact my old Primary school and volunteering here came with a wonderful and strange sense of nostalgia. Everything seemed a lot smaller than it did when I was 8.

I ended up being a teaching Assistant in Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5. I had already experienced KS1 classes during my Volunteering in Primary Schools Add Vantage Module last year, so I wanted to use this as a chance to see what KS2 classes are like.

I absolutely adored my time in those classes. It felt amazing to be able to spend a lot of time with one group of kids instead of switching between year groups and classrooms like in secondary schools. Year 5 is different to Year 4 and Year 3 because it’s a lot more focused learning as they have exams to pass and prep for entering Secondary school.

Year 4 according to the teachers I spoke to and based on my own experiences is where the kids become little terrors for a year. However, it’s a lot different from the sort of bad behavior you get from Secondary school students. It’s less based on genuine spite or hatred and easier to stamp out of them. Note I did not actually stamp on any children.

Year 3 was by far my favourite year and the one I spent the most time with. I really enjoyed helping in the lessons and working with the kids. They had some children who needed extra help like one from a foster home who had only entered the school in February and another who had been a selective mute until recently. I ended up working a lot with those children and developed a really invested interest in seeing them succeed.

 

For both of my volunteering placements I put so much effort into whatever task I was given, really wanting to get the most out of it and make a good impression. I think I succeeded considering how both schools have said they would be more than happy to have me back for more volunteering.

I feel this has really helped with my employability status because it has drastically improved my confidence when it comes to the prospect of being a teacher. I learnt so much about the profession and learnt a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as well. I can deal with the stress and I can put my self-conscious nature behind me in lessons and make myself perhaps look a little silly for the sake of engaging the kids. My anxiety caused no problems what so ever which I am so relieved about. When I consider what transferable skills I now have, the ability to be a team leader and in control of a situation would definitely be one of them. After you have to control a classroom of 12 year olds, being a team leader doesn’t sound overly intimidating anymore. I would also include communication and preparation skills. I would spend time before my lessons discussing with the teacher what we were doing and planning where I would be placed in the classroom and what I would have to do when throughout the lesson. I also feel this has helped me for the future because the PGCE course I wish to enter asks that you have a minimum of two weeks experience in whatever age range you wish to teach, which I now have.

 

I have also made the decision that I will train to be a Primary School Teacher instead of Secondary School Teacher. Though there is a lot of satisfaction with Secondary school teaching, I feel I am personally more suited for the primary school environment. And it is a massive relief to have the decision solidly made in my mind because of personal experience instead of walking into it blind.

 

Big thanks to both schools for the fantastic opportunity they each gave me. Thank-you for watching my video.

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