Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

Work Experience Diary

Employment Details
Name: Julie Ann Byrnes
Name of Employer: Mr.Michael King
Address of Employer: Annagh N.S., Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare.

Date of Employment: 8th of May 2017 to the 12th of May 2017
Position of work placement: Teacher
Description of the Primary School: Annagh National School is a primary school located in rural Miltown Malbay. It has a total of 90 students: 53 boys and 37 girls. It also has 7 teachers two of them being resource teachers and one being a special needs assistant.

Duties Carried out
Photocopied and laminated sheets for teachers.

Assisted the Third Class with their reading.

I did Music and English with the Junior Infants.

Typed up worksheets for the teachers.

I did Arts and Crafts with Junior and Senior Infants.

Ensured the classroom was in order at the end of the day and helped the teacher prepare sheets for the following day’s lesson.

Reasons for selection of this placement
I chose to do my work experience in a Primary School as I have always been interested in working with children as I’ve spent many weekends and holidays babysitting. An aptitude test I’ve completed has indicated Primary School teaching as I enjoy organising and supervising others. I also enjoy explaining and presenting ideas and information. I’m currently doing all the necessary subjects to gain entry to Primary Teaching, including Irish and English which I am taking at Higher Level. I had questions about the career and I thought work experience would be the best way in answering these questions. I wanted to improve my communication and teamwork skills by going on this placement. I also wanted to improve the qualities needed for teaching such as understanding and patience. Therefore, overall it was the perfect opportunity for me to test myself and get a greater insight into this career.

Day one
Date: 8th of May 2017
Starting time: 9.00 a.m.
Finishing Time: 3.00 a.m.

Duties
I arrived at the school gates at 9.00am where I was greeted by the principal Mr. King. First, I was given a tour of the school and then introduced to Mrs Sexton the secretary who would be my placement mentor for the duration of my work experience. Then I was taken through the safety procedures with the principal and I learned what I must do in case of an emergency. Mrs Sexton showed me how to use the photocopier. This was the first skill I learned. Then, I helped the first class with their Maths. I enjoyed helping them with their Maths as it gave me an insight into what being a teacher is like. I learned that patience and understanding are two main qualities needed to teach primary school students.
After break I did Art with the Junior and Senior Infants. I enjoyed this as group work allowed me to get to know the students better. After lunch I went into the Fourth and Fifth classroom and listened to the students reading aloud individually. I liked doing this as it was nice to work with the older students in the school. I then did Music with the First Class. I discovered that music skills are useful to be a teacher as she played the tin-whistle and accordion for the school. I helped the teacher to create a dance routine for a song. I really enjoyed this as it was a lot of fun.

Analysis of Performance
I enjoyed my first day. I was nervous at the start, but I think the teachers are happy with my days experience, I was able to carry out all the tasks they requested of me and I got on very well with everyone.

I enjoyed the buzz and energy of the day changing from subject to subject and I believe planning and organising, and time management are essential skills to be an effective school teacher.

Today I learned how to use a photocopier, I was unfamiliar with this equipment but now I feel like I’ve mastered using the various functions of the copier.

I discovered that patience is an important quality needed forteaching and I feel like the career would suit me as I’m a patient person.

I feel like I’ve improved my communication skills today as I had to communicate with both adults and children.

Day two
Date: 9th of May 2017
Starting Time: 9.00 a.m.

Finishing Time: 3.00 a.m.

Duties
When I arrived at 9.00 a.m. I firstly helped the Senior Infants with their Maths. I was a lot more confident today and this allowed me to communicate better with the students. I learned a lot about how to teach different age groups. I discovered that more patience is needed for the Junior Infants. After break I went into Fifth/Sixth classroom. Here I watched them as they performed a drama. I liked working with the older students as I found it easier to communicate with them. I was then showed how to use the laminator.

Afterwards I worked with a girl from Fourth Class on her own as she doesn’t do Irish. I helped her to describe pictures in her English book. I learned a lot from teaching and working with this girl. I learned that a teacher must work at a student’s own pace and develop methods of differentiation in their teaching. A lot of understanding is required for teaching young children.
After lunch, I got a chance to teach the Second-Class students on my own for an hour. I corrected their work and I helped them with their Spellings. I enjoyed doing this as it was nice to teach on my own as it gave me an insight into what a career in Primary School teaching is really like. I enjoyed my day and I feel like I’m improving at working with the children. I am also more efficient at using equipment in the school too.

Analysis of Performance
I think I communicated better with the students today as I was more confident. I also got to work with a student on her own and I feel like this has improved my interpersonal skills.

I am happy with the fact that I got to teach students on my own today. Initially I was nervous as I thought the students wouldn’t pay attention to me, but by speaking softly and clearly and by using simple language they all sat quietly, listened and asked questions. This has improved my leadership skill and teamwork skills.

I was very happy overall with my performance. This experience improved my personal skills of adapting easily to new challenges, taking initiative in a situation and being independent.

Day five
Date: 10th of May 2017
Starting Time: 9.00 a.m.

Finishing Time: 3.00 a.m.

Duties
I arrived at 9.00 a.m. Firstly, I learned that you need to be creative to be a Primary School teacher to make learning fun as today I helped to teach the students different shapes during Art class. I thought this was a very clever, fun way of teaching Maths. I helped the students to draw and cut out different shapes. This took a while because I had to watch over all the students carefully while they were cutting in case they hurt themselves. I have improved my teamwork skills while on this work placement and now I find it easier to work with the teachers.

After lunch, I worked with a Spanish exchange student called Guillermo who wasn’t doing Irish. I helped him with his English. I liked this because I learned how difficult it can be for students from different countries to fit-in into school. I learned how to communicate with him, trying my best to make his work easier. I then typed out song sheets for the upcoming Confirmation improving my IT skills. I then sadly said goodbye to the students in the school. I got great encouragement to follow this career path. Mrs. Sexton was especially supportive and made my experience a very positive one. I really enjoyed my experience in the Primary School.
Analysis of Performance
Today I improved my typing skills and my computer skills I feel like this will benefit me in school in the future.
When doing Arts with the students, I learned that safety in a major aspect of Primary School teaching. I feel like this insight will benefit me in my future career as a Primary School teacher.
The Junior Infants informed me that I had improved on my creative skills during my time on the work placement and I am happy about this.

I feel like I’ve improved on my organisational skills today as I had to split students into working groups.

Evaluation
I really enjoyed my time at Annagh. It helped me decide whether I would like primary teaching. On completion of my work experience I realised that teaching does interest me, I now know that I can establish a good relationship with the student I’m prepared to take on considerable responsibilities, I have infinite patience, a sense of humour and I am confident that I can communicate knowledge in an interesting way.

I want to pursue my Primary Teaching training in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick as the teachers in Annagh National School. I have gained various skills and knowledge because of my work experience. I highly recommend work experience in an area of interest as it helps one in their career choice and gain a variety of new skills. This was a very rewarding experience for me to watch the children develop in the learning environment I had a role in creating for them.

Application
As a result of my work experience I’ve realised how much I really enjoy working with young children. This has helped me with babysitting my younger cousins and also when I baby-sit in the community. In school it has helped me to lookout for first year students and offer my help where possible.

I feel I have improved my leadership skills as a result of my work experience, this is a necessity when teaching younger children as one has to lead by example. I now feel that after my work experience I can take control of situations: at home guiding my younger siblings and in school with students in younger classes.

I have also improved my ability to motivate myself and others. I have adapted this skill at school with class work and at home with my study plans. I have also applied it in the wider community participating activities e.g. 10k charity run and walk.

I also learnt that communication skills are critical to be an effective teacher. I feel that this skill has helped me immensely in school with my teachers, at home with my parents and younger siblings and in the community with my friends and part-time work colleagues.

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