Half way through my work experience placement

I now have a new teaching mentor in my work experience placement. And, to be honest, he has put me off teaching. It feels difficult to say these things because I am grateful to have a work experience placement and I appreciate that people have been kind-natured despite me being dropped on them. But I feel like my new mentor has opened my eyes to how teaching is very different in theory to practice (NB/ that’s a very good lesson to be taught).

I am glad I found this out now, rather than later.

I was under no assumption that teaching would, in any way, run smoothly. Nothing does. But there were things I expected as a minimum; like a briefing and to be risk assessed. I went into a room with a trigger and I went into a room where I triggered someone else. OK many triggers are unpredictable – I get that – but these could have been avoided if someone took the time to speak to me.

What I have found about teaching is that people just expect me to muck in. I am willing to do that, but I need to know that’s what’s expected of me and I need to be familiar and feel safe. I did not. However, when I spoke to people about teaching before the placement I felt that I would have more guidance. And from teacher/teaching research and training, I had been led to believe teaching had more proactive elements than I have witnessed. My latest experiences have felt nothing other than reactive.

Additionally, I had begun to find my feet with the other groups I had worked with. I was feeling confident and happy. Then I was moved to another group and I’m learning all over again. From my conversations with other members of support staff, this is the norm. I spoke to three different members of support staff who said that days vary widely. They support lessons as and when they are requested to. This method may be ideal for some folk – I hear many people say that that no two days are the same and they feel constantly stimulated by the changes. My perspective is slightly different. I feel lost. I admitted to my mentors that I am an overthinker – I want to be prepared. I felt snowflake-ish, and that I was wasting others’ time, when I mentioned wanting to have more information.

I have fifteen more hours of work experience placement left. And I’m trying to encourage myself to get out of my shell – I feel vulnerable and unhappy. But overall I feel like I have learnt a lot. Also, being a bad teacher (or teaching-shadower, or classroom assistant, or sitting-in-the-corner-person) does not detract from my other skills. So I cannot let this failure colour my views of myself.

PS – Don’t worry – I’m OK, we’re OK. I wrote an addendum here.

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