I am well on the way to becoming a competent and effective teacher in my chosen fields of expertise, positive professional relationships have enabled me to further learn and develop.
My current strengths lie in thorough planning for lessons and logical sequencing of content and activity – I am able to build up students for success (values and processes underpinned in Backward Design / Understand by Design planning framework). I present learning as a journey to my students, to enable them to see where they are headed and where they have been and the linking of it all together. Through planning, I am able to setup a classroom (approximately the first 10 minutes) to ensure students have success and feel confident. I can clearly articulate instruction, expectations and requirements for lessons to students and make them understandable for different students’ needs/abilities. I provide students with the why, rather than just here is a directive, go do it. I easily build rapport and make relationships/connections with my students and this informs my planning and my teaching practices. I have recognised my adaptability to manage situations that arise and the different classroom activities that go on. I am beginning to see I can utilise differentiated instruction for my students benefit to enable them to succeed. I am flexible and patient in dealing with the students and what goes on in the classroom. Developing my own classroom management style provided success, through me being consistent with my approaches, my students know what to expect and follow easily. I use a variety of teaching strategies and instructional methods for student success and understanding. E.g. hands up to show me you have completed the directive, providing learning intentions at the start of class, providing time limits and facilitating learning (not just giving student’s answers, asking why, what, how and what if). I take an active position in the class, moving around, chatting and helping as required. I was able to develop my own assessments and/or working existing assessment to mark student work with real experience using performance standards, helping students understand them. The managing of Year 9 and 11 food practical environment was a new experience, I feel I can create a successful/safe learning environment for students.
My current areas of development lie in developing my start of class recaps in order to be more effective and debrief what happened previously to lead into what is next. I would like to improve at following up student work and not just letting it pass by the due dates. I need to work more with the performance standards and my own understanding of them. I feel, early on in my classes I projected a weak presence (images of timidity, awkwardness, and indecisiveness). I acknowledge these of these might be taken as signs of weakness that students may take advantage of them. In term of behaviour management; I am comfortable with disciplining students who are talking, and when having to address the whole class but feel as though right now the strategy I tend to use to deal with students who are be disruptive, is to speak individually with the student, once/twice and then ignore it, not making a scene and finding common ground. I would like to develop strategies that I can use to manage this better. Additionally, I need to work on being firmer, I am too lenient. I need to be able to be tough but fair with my students. I have learnt that I need to be more vigilant of student activities to ensure they are on task and not just assume they are doing it. I have begun to work on this.
Where to now, from here is it evident that I have been able to identify key strengths. After this placement and for my next placement for me to move to the next level, I need to continue writing detailed lesson plans and stepping it out for myself, so I can consciously be thinking about what I am doing and how I am doing it and if it is being effective. Focusing on structure and format, on being firm but fair and on watch and being vigilant of students to ensure they are doing work. I need to continue to follow through, taking feedback and actioning to improve my practice and the experience that my students have within the classroom.
Damien Walker is currently studying a Bachelor of Education, Food and Textiles Technologies at University of South Australia. This is him engaging with readings and questions throughout his teaching journey to gain professional insight and knowledge.