How do you know if you really want to be a teacher? You get out there and give it a go! UOW education students are sent out on Professional Experience (PEX) in the first year (often in the first month) to see what life as a teacher is really like. We asked 10 Bachelor of Education (Primary) students to share their most memorable moment from the classroom.
My most memorable moment on PEX would have to be during my very first day in 1st year. I was sitting in the staffroom waiting to be taken to my classroom when a Year 6 student stormed in and threw a chair. I thought to myself, ‘this is never going to be boring.’
I was giving my Year 3 students an art class on an artist named Kandinsky. It required them to create an artwork through interpreting music. The class clown, who normally distracted the entire class, had his head down bopping along to the music with a massive smile on his face. Upon changing the song from a classical excerpt to a sad ballad, he began to cry. After finishing his artwork he presented this elaborate abstract piece to the class and explained that it was a representation of everything he had begun to understand as a result of my teaching. Bless!
Two of my students were carrying a bag full of soccer balls. The student at the back of the bag was walking backwards, holding onto the bag. I said to the student, “I think you’re making that harder for yourself.” The seven-year-old replied, “Miss Kitchener, life is all about challenging yourself.” He was so spot on!
During my 3rd year PEX I was given a Year 6 class at a challenging school. One student in particular was hard to engage and found it difficult to concentrate. As part of my unit planning I did a literacy unit on poetry. Everyone enjoyed the unit and we created an eBook full of each student’s work. Later in the year I returned for a visit and his classroom teacher was excited to show me something. I discovered that the student who found it hard to concentrate had really settled since I had been his teacher, with his motivation being poetry. As a reward, the student was allowed to write poems after completing his work, he had established a lunchtime poetry club and was often published in the student newsletter. I couldn’t believe that a simple unit could make such a difference.
On my last day of PEX my students offered to jump out of a plane with a banner saying “Let Miss Boess teach here!” in the hope of getting me a job in their school.
On my 4th Year PEX I had a student with severe autism in my Year 4 class who was known for ignoring all teachers and running away. After six weeks with the class he had shared many stories with me and respected me as an authority figure. On the second last day on prac he said, “I don’t want to come to school tomorrow, because I don’t want to say goodbye to you.” It warmed my heart and made it all so worth it.
During my 2nd Year I had the opportunity to teach in Bangkok, Thailand. I had no idea what to expect. However, upon arriving and settling into my classes I was absolutely blown away! The children were so beautiful, respectful and keen to learn. The students had very little, some were homeless, and yet they always turned up to class ready to learn. My fondest memory was having my students talk to me in English and relaying information that I tried tirelessly to teach them for the two weeks I was there. The international teaching experience was the turning point in my degree. It reconfirmed that teaching is what I am meant to do.
During my PEX I was teaching a kindergarten student who had difficulty recalling information and identifying his numbers and letters. I put such a big focus on helping him learn the letter of the week: ‘Y’. After one lunchtime break he walked up to the teacher and myself with a stick and stated, “Look, it looks like a Y!” It really did look like one and the teacher looked at me and smiled saying “That’s a teacher moment.”
When I first started teaching I hated it. I didn’t fit in, I dressed extravagant, and I was loud and a bit self-absorbed, having limited exposure to teamwork. I didn’t believe in myself as a teacher, but in my final year I met the best role model teacher on PEX and she nurtured me for six weeks. She was strict and had high expectations, but believed in me and told me I was a great teacher and she’d hire me. I want to be a teacher now or someday in the future. I want to give children that same belief in themselves.
I can remember my first lesson with a particular class focusing on counting to 30 and a little girl who struggled to get past 10. I spent countless hours planning and creating lessons and games and resources to assist her to not only achieve the goal of counting to 30 but also ensure she didn’t feel incapable or lost during whole class lessons. I will never forget how during our assessment week when she counted all the way to 30 without hesitation and I thought to myself, “it was all worth it” just to see her smile and excitement.
Interested in creating a story of your own? Check out the range of UOW Education degrees and the different pathways you can take to achieve your goal.
The federal government's Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) ranked UOW in 2016 as the best university in Australia for Teacher education. UOW also ranked in the top 100 universities in the world for Education in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015.