When reflecting on my field experience, I remember how nervous I was to begin. I have been lucky enough to work as an EA for over a year, so I had some practical knowledge to rely upon other than my own schooling experience. But still, it is different when you are heading in knowing that someone will be deciding whether or not you should continue your path as an educator! I also have grown up in this community, and had the slightly awkward affair of being surrounded by a lot of my former teachers, this time as a peer. However, I was mostly worried about the students. I feel as though one of my strengths in teaching is that I have always been able to make a connection with students, but I usually get to spend more time with them than a few hours once a week. I wasn’t sure how smoothly things would go if I didn’t have as much opportunity to build relationships and connections with the students in the class, and I was anxious that this might affect my experience.
In the end didn’t need to fret about any of these things. The teachers I knew from my childhood were lovely, and excited to hear that I was in education. The teacher I was observing was amazing. I am very much a worrier, and this is always something I try and be cognisant of. Although I think there is sometimes a time and place to be high-strung, I don’t think the classroom is one of them, and I know if I allow that to be apart of who I am as a teacher, I will burn out quickly. Deb was truly everything I try and embody. She was the epitome of calm in every situation, and it put her students at ease without fail. I loved watching the techniques she used in different situations, and how she used the relationships she had built to help her students overcome any challenge they faced.
The students were what really made the experience amazing. Deb allowed me to do so much small group, one on one, and intervention work with the students that although I was only there for short periods of time, the children were so wonderful and eager that I had no problems at all in connecting with them. It was delightful to watch their growth over the few months I got to be with them. I frequently got to give spelling tests to a small group of kids, where one of the columns would be words they had learnt the week prior. When I’d go to mark them it was amazing to see the small concrete transformations they were making week by week. I loved seeing the small changes as the children got more comfortable with my presence as well. At first there were a few students who would act out slightly if I was working with them in a small group, but I knew this was likely because of the change in environment. However as I got to know them and they got to know me, their level of comfort increased and it was evident in the way they worked.
Overall this experience was invaluable. Although I had worked in a school before, it was so nice to not be thinking about all the other things that come along with the job, and instead get to be present in my observation and involvement in the classroom. I already have been missing the students, but mostly I wish I could express to them how important they were in my learning through this process, and how I will carry this experience with me through the rest of my education journey.