Dana Egan-Question 6
While beginning my pre-practicum in Perth, Australia, I was nervous yet very excited. I wasn’t sure how similar and/or different it would be, and I hoped I would be able to make any necessary adjustments to fit into the system. The support offered at my school is incredible and I felt accepted right from the start. I was placed in a first grade classroom, which is an age I haven’t had much experience with in terms of teaching. The typical day of teaching seemed pretty similar to what I had previously encountered. The day begins at 8:30 and runs until 3:10. The first graders get a thirty-minute play/recess period every day, as well as a fifty-minute lunch and recess break later on in the day. The day that I go begins with an assembly where a different class leads it each week. An hour literacy block follows the assembly. After the first recess, there is an hour numeracy block. After the lunch break, the students have handwriting for about forty-minutes. The day finishes up with one of the students giving their personality presentation, which is a presentation about themselves. Other days of the week include subjects such as science and health, as well as specials such as gym art and music. Within each of these blocks, activities are constantly changing in order to keep everyone engaged; yet it has to be done in a way that works for everyone in the class. Teaching is mainly done in either a whole-group or individual method, and I have yet to see group work be implemented. A lot of emphasis is also placed on the students grading their own work so they can see right away what they did correctly or incorrectly. This method is used for correcting homework as well.
Being that it was only my second week at this school, I haven’t planned an actual lesson
yet. A highlight, however, has been the ability to work one-on-one with students, which has helped get to know the students and get better acquainted with the curriculum being taught. A challenge that has accompanied this is that many of the students that benefit from the one-on-one help are students who do not speak English. Australia has many families that come over from Asia. Yet as a teacher, one still needs to cater to every students needs. This has been the biggest challenge so far, in trying to figure out the best way to guide these students’ learning. I can only look forward to what the rest of the semester will bring and all I will learn in this placement abroad.