Personal reflection on having a student for a year

I have found having a student to work with the teaching team for a long period interesting. From a personal viewpoint, it has helped me to articulate my practice, as I have had to explain and justify my teaching actions clearly. I found it harder as time went by, M has shown herself to be a competent reliever so she is often working and it became difficult for us both to fit in even 5 minutes of time together to discuss and support practice and theory.

Professional dialogue to support the place of theory and collaboration in practice often took place in the staff room or by email. To keep using educative mentoring strategies rather than practice ‘tips’ required some careful thought from myself. I think in the future, I require more mindful planning and protecting time with students to ensure my support for graduating teachers does not slip aside. I was lucky as M is capable and did not require intensive support – however it could have been a different story if she had been less competent.

Having a student for longer periods made me really think about my practice. Role modelling sometimes-abstract concepts with young children is difficult; to do this with someone watching and learning is also difficult. I wondered if there are cultural barriers that stopped M from understanding what I meant. Learning can be quite subtle and I often use idioms without thinking! Concepts and values such as good decision-making techniques, admitting mistakes and learning from them, being respectful to others, kindness are important to me. I hope I shared these abstract values with M in a way that she can learn from them.

Ideas for improvement include changes to the portfolio. The portfolio presented to her of the years work has worked well – M liked hers enough to show her family in her home country which is gratifying. However, I need to be more specific about the support given in the entries. Next time I think it would be helpful to include a farewell letter that includes specific accomplishments and strengths.

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