The last four weeks at Charleville have been remarkable. Throughout the past four weeks, I have learned so much! I am extremely grateful and appreciative that I have had this experience. It has not only helped me grow as a teacher, but also grow as a person as it has opened my eyes up to many different possibilities and experiences. Sometimes, when living in a busy city, you get caught up in the busy, fast-paced lifestyle, and forget about the simple things in life. Simple things such as spending quality time with friends and family, having compassion for those around you who are doing it tough, being involved and loved in a community and taking a step back to look at the things in the environment.
All of these simple things I have learned to appreciate on my teaching practicum - as these are the things that children notice and that matter most to them. Even though I have learned many other things throughout the course of my teaching practicum, these life-long attributes are what have resonated with me, and will stay with me as the foundations of being a positive and knowledgeable teacher.
From seeing how the children are able to interact with their diverse families, be able to cope with the hardships of their diverse lifestyles, have empathy and be able to comfort those around them, to know their role in the community, to be in awe of the environment and to be sustainable people just demonstrates how smart children are. It just goes to show that as a teacher, I can learn a lot from the children, just as they learn from me.
In saying all of this, there has been many teaching points that I have learned about over the course of my practicum. I have had to learn and adjust my teaching style to be extremely flexible in the daily and weekly plans. This is because with the play-based and emergent curriculum, teaching is directed around the children’s ideas and interests. For example, I had planned to read a book about dinosaurs and sing a song about dinosaurs during home-time, as the children are really interested in dinosaurs and fossils at the moment. However the children suggested that they wanted to sing ‘dingle dangle scarecrow’, so instead we sang the scarecrow song and read a book about scarecrows. Hence my 'pre-made' plans went straight out the window because the children intimated what they wanted to learn. I never thought that children’s ideas could change so quickly and it has been a huge learning experience of trying to think and act on the spot to intentionally teach children.
Also, I have spent a lot of time learning about children with challenging behaviours and additional needs. It is very sad to see that there is not a lot of support in a rural community for children who need additional support. Therefore it is up to the teachers at the kindergarten to provide a supportive learning environment for these children, and for every other child at the kindy. Working and teaching these children was very interesting and I must add, there were some very intense days! These intense days came from factors such as starting prep, which is really scary and still very exciting for 4-5 year olds. The playground and classroom space was smaller because of the extension that being built at the kindy and also because of the hardships or diverse lifestyles that they have. But I have learned a lot and have enjoyed every moment of it.
The conclusions that I can draw from working with these children, is that they are children who are very intelligent and knowledgeable about the things that interest them. One of the boys there loves to watch ‘experiments.’ For example watching volcanoes explode, ice melting or even blending different colours. I have had to incorporate teaching for all the children, while planning for specific children, and simultaneously dealing with loud noise from the construction!
I believe that completing my practicum in a rural town has greatly benefited my present and future teaching. All of the different things that I have learned from the kindergarten with the staff, children and families to the kindness of the local community is now shown not only through my teaching approaches but also my approach in life. I am very appreciative to QIEC Super for allowing me to complete this practicum in Charleville. I now know that upon graduation, I will look for a teaching position in a rural or remote town!
Thank-you to all who have followed my blog and I hope that you have all learned something new about children, teaching or being apart of a rural community!