First of all I want to say sorry for the not extremely punctual posts this month. I thought that the university work will be less than it is and I also had some down days recently, but I am trying my best so hope today’s post will be interesting. It is again from the series Learn to be a Teacher (part 1, part 2) and today I wanted to talk a little about what the university calls “observation weeks”.
At the beginning of September I was placed in a school from my first semester practical experience. I was lucky (or unlucky depends on your opinion) to be placed in a private school. Thus, at the beginning of September I had 2 weeks of observing different classes and different activities in the school in general. Because I didn’t do my schooling in Scotland ( or UK in general), there were 2 weeks of a continuous shock. The Romanian system is extremely different than the Scottish one and I was mesmerized by all the good things. I was so excited that I have chosen this career path.
The school uses quite a lot of interactive things, at first I was afraid to use the smart board and I thought I will never understand how it works. Also, I found it strange that there was no proper break between the periods. But I liked all the teachers, everyone was so happy and friendly with the children. And I have to say I never had this feeling in a school before. The university asked from us to observe a range of classes from S1 (11 years) to Higher and Advance Higher (17-18 years). Also, I had the opportunity to observe every teachers’ method and how their personality was embedded in the lessons. I remember thinking that it will take such a long time for me to feel as comfortable with the children as they are (and I still think about this some times).
The idea of these 2 observation week is to see how a school is organised in general. We had some days in our subject department (mathematics for me), where we observed as many classes as possible, but the most important thing, see many teaching methods. In this case, it was important not to judge things, but to analyse them. Due to my excitement, I did not look much at the negative aspects and did not consider them when I started teaching there. So, my advice to everyone is to think about the good and the bad parts together and how to work with them in your advantage. Besides observing these lessons, we had to spend 2 days in primary school and I had the opportunity to observe some P5 ( 9 years). It was quite fun and interesting to see the big difference between primary education and secondary education. Also, we had to chose a different department in the school, which we had to observe for one day. I have chosen art and I stressed the teachers in there with questions about the relation between mathematics and art (sculpture, painting, photography), but I got so many interesting examples and great enthusiasm in my questions. Moreover, I had to follow a child one day and I went to all his classes and participated in the class like a pupil. This made me think about my days in school and how different are things here.
So, it was quite an interesting experience. Even if I am repeating myself, I still believe that understanding the good and bad things about the system is incredibly important.
Thank you for your help and support. You can find me on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Twitter,Instagram and Lettrs, I will try to post there as often as possible. Don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy!