Prac-E is delighted to once again, bring you another great interview with one of Australia's great teachers. Today is Mikaela Elbourne from South Australia.
Tell us a little about yourself! How many years into your teaching career are you?
I am currently in my third year of teaching – finally accredited and considered proficient! I taught a year 5/6 composite class for the last 2 years and this year I have a straight year 6 class.
What was the #1 thing you worried about being a teacher, before you started?
Talking to parents! Honestly, I thought they would see straight through me and my lack of experience in teaching. Sure, I had the degree, but it only prepares you so much for real classroom teaching.
How did you overcome that fear?
Practice – and preparation for interviews. I talked to a lot of other teachers at my school, particularly those with lots of experience. They gave me tips and an idea about a general structure of interviews, questions to ask the parents etc. I also found it really useful to debrief about the conversations I’d had with parents with my mentor teacher. It gave me confidence I’d said the right things or courage to say things next time.
What thing about teaching do you think University didn’t prepare you for?
Assessment & dealing with parents. I initially found it really hard to assess students work and was worried that I might offend parents or make them mad at me. I didn’t want to cause conflict so I probably gave some fairly average grades so that they weren’t controversial. As I’ve gained more experience I’ve become more confident about grading and giving feedback to both parents and students.
What is your favourite topic to teach your class?
It honestly changes daily, depending on what we are doing. But I really enjoy the time I get to spend with small groups in rotational activities during maths and reading. I love the routine of it, how the kids are generally good at their independent activities but mostly I love the time I get to spend with just a small group of kids.
What is the biggest challenge you have had to face in the classroom?
Working out how to fit everything in! There is just so much curriculum and not enough time. I’d love to integrate more things but I’m still learning that.
What has been your biggest classroom success story?
Probably just successfully completing my first year of teaching in one piece! It’s a pretty big deal.
If you could give your first-year-Uni self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to ask for as much feedback as possible from all supervising teachers on prac. Talk to as many different teachers at each school as possible and ask to observe their classrooms. Every teacher is different but has a lot to give.
What teaching skill do you think you will never perfect?
I don’t think I will ever perfect any classroom skill! Firstly, because every class is different and requires different methods of teaching, but also because I change my focus too often. Right now, I’m super keen to learn all I can about effective literacy instruction, but I’ve also been interested in making maths more hands-on in the upper grades. I just change my focus too frequently, before I actually master it!
What is your biggest strength as a teacher?
I think that I am pretty good at building relationships with the kids. Not as good as I would like to be, but I try to really reach out to them and get to know them personally. I think that relationships with students is right at the centre of an effective classroom where kids will learning.
Teacher Of Children
Mikaela Trying to make a difference 🌏🇦🇺SA, Aus 🎉Gr 6 2018 👉🏻NEW! Tpt store! Follow my journey as a busy teacher, whenever I find time to post!