Thank you so much to Miss Nichols for the fantastic interview.
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How many years into your teaching career are you?
This is my fifth year of teaching but my 6th year at the school. In my 4th year of University I completed a year-long internship.
What was the #1 thing you worried about being a teacher, before you started?
I was worried about being able to teach and fit in the entire curriculum in one year. I also wanted to teach my kids about world events and celebrate special days in the year such as ANZAC Day, Easter, the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, author’s birthdays, Father’s Day etc. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to give each subject the sufficient amount of time and expose my students to what I feel are important events happening in our daily lives or in the world.
How did you overcome that fear?
I made time management a focus of mine and integrated learning areas and these special events into the curriculum. I made sure that I was organised with my planning and what I needed to cover and collaborated with other teachers in my year level to share resources, ideas and to seek advice. Being part of a good collaborative team is really important. It is really important to me to be proactive and seek help or information if there is an area I am uncertain about.
What thing about teaching do you think University didn’t prepare you for?
I felt like my University really catered for and prepared me for teaching, especially because of all the pracs I completed. I remember in my first semester of my first year of University, we had to attend prac one day a week straight away. I think what you put in is also what you get out. I went to all my lectures and tutorials and asked questions if I wasn’t sure or didn’t understand something. However, one area that I did feel overwhelmed with in my first year of teaching was having students with special needs in my classroom. I don’t think I was aware in University how high the statistics were of these students in every classroom and wasn’t prepared to teach students on the spectrum or with other learning disabilities.
Do you think student teachers have it easy?
Not at all, being a student teacher is hard work! You have to quickly conform to what that school’s expectations are, ensure you go above and beyond to impress your mentor teacher, even if your teaching styles aren’t the same and it is very tiring. I have been a mentor teacher before and really appreciate prac students that are energetic, proactive and most importantly listen to feedback and make a change all while they’re surviving on minimum sleep and lots of coffee!
What does it take to be a great teacher?
You need to be good at self-reflection. A great teacher will naturally self-reflect throughout the day and instead of placing blame on a student for poor behavior or just write off something as a ‘bad lesson’, they’ll think about the part they played and what they could do to make this better. Then actually act on it in the future and make a change. You also need to be a continuous learner, always model respect to your students and build relationships.
If you could give your first-year-Uni self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Start your assignments earlier! Especially while the information is fresh in your head.
What is your biggest strength as a teacher?
Behaviour management (CMS approach) and the relationships I have with students. These go hand in hand. It’s important to set out and clearly express your expectations of students and be fair and consistent. I feel as though my students know where the boundaries are which makes them feel safe. My relationships enable me to have good behavior management because there is mutual respect.
When you have a rough day, what things make you persevere with education?
Knowing that it is just one day out of so many and the good days outweigh the bad days. I’ll reflect and ask myself if I had a bad day because of things in my control such as I was disorganised, behind in work, in a bad mood etc. this helps me to decipher if I contributed to this and can therefore make a plan to prevent this and move on. I also think about why I’m in my profession and know that even in the bad days there is no other job in the world that’d I’d rather do.
Miss Nichol 👩🏼💻 Grades K-6
Technologies Teaching & Learning Leader ✨ Supporting Teachers to Integrate Technology 🍎 Previously Year 3 🌈 TpT Seller