Being an Associate 101 (Department Meeting 29/8)

At today’s Department Meeting, I led a section of the meeting on “Being an Associate 101.” For this, I passed on insights of a 1st year teacher and my experiences of what makes a good Associate Teacher (AT). I also asked previous student-teachers who had been at Orewa College and my classmates who had  graduated at the same time as me to what they had found helpful/unhelpful. The purpose of this was to improve the experiences of student-teachers at Orewa College and remind experienced teachers of what it is like to be a student-teacher so they can help them develop and learn as upcoming professionals.

In my final Google Slides presentation we made a Checklist for Associate Teachers in which all the members of the department contributed.This will be used in the future for Associate teachers to make sure that they are prepared for their student-teachers and also, so that they are enabling the best experience for them. checklist

Speaking with my colleagues they have found this checklist to be useful. Associates within my Department have since gone through School protocols, provided photos off Kamar and have been included in Junior marking and moderation. The student-teachers have benefited from this as they are able to more quickly build rapport with students by using names and it is preparing them for being a beginning teacher.

Challenging our Practice:

In this morning’s PD we had discussions around what we are doing as teachers to help our students achieve. A particular challenge was around students who have not achieved well in the past, have low confidence or sense of success.

The topic was; “What are we doing?” where we challenged assumptions about teachers and that all students should be getting the same experiences in each class. We considered why is it that parents request certain parents and if the parent happens to be a teacher why is it that they manipulate their son or daughter’s timetable to be with different teachers.

We started off by looking at an image and the assumptions around this image (Slide 5). We then used a “cause, assumption, effect” (slide 6) to identify our assumptions, why they exist and what the implications of it are. This is a very useful tool which can be used in Health & PE classes to trigger critical thinking and to get students to challenge their own assumptions. I also think that images are an effective way to engage students as it appeals to visual learners and can promote creativity. This is a tool and strategy which I will use moving forward in my classes.

A very useful discussion that we had was around the different groups of students that we have in our classes. We broke these into 3 groups “the Battlers,” “Group 2” and “the Brains Trust.” We then brainstormed the different characteristics of these groups (Slides 14 – 18) and how we could reach their needs in the class. It was personally challenging and I found it useful to reflect on which groups I place emphasis on. I was reminded that for some students an “Achieved” is their “excellence” and that they come to class with the expectation that they will fail as they have not experienced much success at School. I think a strategy for this group is breaking the students down into manageable chunks for these students and maintaining high expecations of them and not disregarding them as “not achieved” students.

From this discussion, I will closely monitor and be aware of the students who have low expectations of themselves and try encourage them to believe in themselves more.