TheReflective TeacherBeinga teacher is not just a case of presenting oneself in front of agroup of students and being able to teach them. It is essential forteachers themselves to learn lessons each time they teach, evaluatewhat they do and where necessary, alter their approach. This essaywill attempt to pinpoint some of the moments in my training thus far,that have had the greatest impact on my teaching and look at howhaving reflected upon them has altered my approach. Having spenttime reading around the issue of ‘reflecting’ it has become apparentto me, that taking the time to log an event or an emotion after asituation is exceptionally beneficial, as it implants it to memory.
As someone who has embarked on a new, challenging, fast-pacedprofession, I can unquestionably see the benefits of reflectivelyanalyzing my practice and would concur with Bolton (2014) that onetakes greater meaning and understanding of an event, if it has beenwritten down.Overthe past few months, I have considered my actions and feelings withregard to my experiences in teaching many times, and the occasionsupon which I have reflected for the purposes of this essay are fromboth the classroom and the lecture theatre. They are all pertinent,as they have had an impact on the way I prepare for lessons, setexpectations and manage behaviour, consider the feelings andsituations of those I am in contact with and also the way in which Iview myself and consider my own well-being.Thevalue of reflection on lesson preparationPositiveand negative experiences are crucial to one’s development as ateacher, but reflecting upon an unfavourable incident hasunequivocally had a substantial impact on my views to lessonpreparation. Having been asked to teach a Maths lesson, I preparedwhat I deemed necessary, but as it transpired “this was a lesson Ifound extremely challenging to teach and as a result, my confidencein teaching Maths took a real knock” (Appendix 1). As a result ofreflecting, however, I was able to acknowledge a number of factors.
Firstly, I could have critisied the discombobulating slide for myfailure, but it was important that I acknowledge it was my owninattention that caused me to falter. Secondly, after feelinghumiliated at failing, I was aware that my mood towards the childrenchanged; I became impatient and fractious with them and I regrettedthis. Morepositively, I recognised that I’d been able to ‘reflect-in-action’,this being the type of reflection that Donald Schon described as”thinking on your feet” (Schon 1983: 54). “I thought swiftlyand sought the help of the partner teacher in the next doorclassroom” (Appendix 1). If I am ever faced with a similarsituation again, I would not hesitate to act in a similar vein.Myinitial feelings following this lesson made me doubt my ability, butafter speaking to my colleague (my “critical friend” (Bassot 2015: 97)) who was able to put me at ease, I was able to accept thatthis didn’t have to be a negative experience.
Inaddition, afterreviewing my notes from hearingBenWalden of “Contender Charlie”, I was also encouraged thatI’d managed to; “keep oneselfcalm, remain positive andretainone’s dignity, as teaching is an art form” (Appendix 5). I havesince ensured that I do all I can to fully prepare for lessons so Iam not faced with a similar predicament again.Thevalue of reflection on setting expectations and managing behaviour