My third professional placement was at a school on the boundary of the Barossa Valley region and metropolis Adelaide named Gawler East Primary. The reception to year 7 school had a population of approximately 430 students and was part of the Greater Gawler Partnership, a partnership consisting of 15 schools within the Gawler District. The partnership works together to support finding joint solutions to shared problems and to improve on students learning needs across the region. The region of Gawler is considered to be Socio-economically disadvantaged although the school lies within one of the most advantaged areas within the district. On my final day at placement we engaged in a professional develop session run by the Greater Gawler Partnership. We were grouped with 5 buddy schools within the region which allowed us to have an opportunity to make connections with educators from other schools.
My placement classroom consisted of 24 reception students. Of these 10 were girls and 14 were boys. By the time I had entered the classroom on my first lead in day each student had already turned 5 and some were turning 6. The majority of the students attended the Gawler East Pre-school kindergarten across the street form the school so they already knew one another. This made the transition to school quite easy for most of them. One student in the classroom is of Indigenous Australian heritage and is supported by an Aboriginal community education officer who has sessions with him twice a week. This students also receives extra literacy and numeracy support by the ATSI curriculum leader at the school. Of the 24 students only one student stands out as having particular behavioural difficulties and has had a behaviour plan implemented by the leadership of the school. In the second week of my placement block a new student was welcomed into the class. This was a difficult transition for the student as it occurred in the two days that my mentor was away. This was a challenge for me as the class was more restless than usual. This student also suffered from a traumatic passed and needed extra support in easing into a new classroom. By the end of my placement he was settled in and comfortable with the students.
Throughout this placement I have been able to develop in multiple areas. An issue for me in my earlier placements was my confidence amongst both the students and other staff in schools. I think that this is an issue I have overcome throughout this placement. In the classroom I was able to be kind although assertive when necessary. My mentor mentioned that my confidence was visible when students stopped asking her questions during my teaching time and went straight to me.
Another area I feel as though I have significantly developed in is planning and modifying those plans where necessary. Working with receptions taught me that young children have short attention spans and can become disengaged extremely quickly. In my planning I ensured that I prepared numerous activities for each day and that most of these were hands-on. Creating numerous diagnostic, formative and summative assessments helped me in doing this. I was able to assess students on their prior knowledge and adjust my planning to fit within what they already know and extend on this.
I worked hard to develop a professional conduct to the leadership of the school and was willing to network with several educators. I engaged in conversation with my site mentor and principle of the school on multiple occasions and assured him that I had an incredible experience at the school and hope I will have more opportunity to work with him in the future.
I believe that I have grown professionally by engaging in the professional development within the school. On multiple occasions we worked with Senior Leaders who worked to create learning improvement plans for the schools within the partnerships. These sessions were particularly beneficial in teaching me about assessment strategies and how to moderate them. This was very relevant to the focus area of this years Professional Experience.
This placement experience has been priceless in allowing me to develop my ability to build connections with students, parents and other educators. I have been able to plan thoroughly and assess students prior to and post teaching. I have developed skills to teach in literacy, numeracy, physical education, the technologies, HASS and the Arts. As well as this I have been able to engage in professional development which will benefit me in my future career.