Reflection 1: Becoming a teacher: Unpacking the map
When I was younger and first met my two adopted cousins in Sydney I knew they were different. They did not learn the same way I did. They had trouble sitting still and they did not seem like the other children. They both had Autism and needed a lot more care than someone without Autism, yet were stuck in a school that was trying to fit them into mainstream classes with teachers who were not child-focused and just wanted to shift their responsibilities to the next teacher. It was then I realised I wanted to help other children like my cousins.
In year 10 I chose peer tutoring as an elective. I was tutoring children with a variety of disabilities in our Support Unit. I still recall the first time walking into the classroom and meeting Dane, an intelligent boy in year 8 with Autism. It was then I was brought back to thinking about my cousins and how they felt, alone and distraught thinking they were just bad children. The teacher told me he was having an ‘Autistic day’ and not to worry about him. I remember thinking ‘What terrible teachers if they just want to ignore someone because they’re having a rough day’. “Hughes (2004)… emphasises the need for a teacher to have humanity and warmth – to know at all times what students in a class are doing and also to care about what they are doing.” (Marsh, 2010, p. 3). Ignoring the teacher, I sauntered over to Dane, introduced myself and had a look at what he had been doing as well as what I was supposed to be doing with him. All his mathematic answers were incorrect but his working out was correct, I did not understand. Dane laughed at me looking at his answers. I asked him a few mathematical problems on the page, he looked down at the floor and answered me instantly with the correct answers. I could not believe Dane had purposely written down the wrong answers and the teacher had just ticked them assuming they were all correct out of carelessness. Dane had been testing his teachers, and in his eyes they had all failed.
I agree that “Gifted students are often not well catered for in standard school settings because they are not extended and as a result they become bored and frustrated (Freeman, 2007).” (Marsh, 2010, p. 266) , which is why some schools have a support unit to help cater for those needs so this is less likely to happen. But this was not the case for Dane as the teachers in the support unit were no longer enthusiastic or child-focused. Teachers need to be excited and passionate about what they do as stated in (Marsh, 2010) “…although there is initial excitement and experimentation, this is superseded by boredom and negative attitudes.” (p. 350).
If teachers are not child-focused how is a child expected to learn to the best of their abilities. Due to what I have witnessed I will ensure I am child-focused at all times. Teaching is not just a 9am-3pm job, its 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Children need to feel a strong connection between...