It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I have to admit that this has been the most interesting teaching practice to date. It was not at all as difficult as I thought it would be. There were some kids with some serious behavior management issues but the policies at this school are so strong that they are easily dealt with.
The flower-picking hippy philosophy at Unlimited left me high and dry when behavior issues came up. I think I was supposed to hug them or something. Aranui is much better because I can just kick them out of my class.
Besides the subject of management I am reasonably happy with the amount of actual learning that took place this practice. The associates I had were very supportive and gave pertinent feedback that was immediately applicable and practical for my level of teaching. They all gave me full scope to be assertive with their kids and only asked me to keep the minimum classroom structures that they had in place for them when I finish teaching. So more or less I got to take all of my classes for the entire teaching practice as if they were my own.
And the kids were sweet (mostly). I had a lot of fun working with the Maori and Pacifica students for the first time. They operate a lot differently from the European kids. I observed this phenomena a lot: three European kids can be sitting together – one kid is onto things and the other two might be a bit confused. The bright kid will just carry on and leave his mates in the dark. Completely different with the Maori kids: They seem to thrive on group helping each other through the assignments. This is obviously a sweeping generalization but I think it is valid enough an observation to make note of it here. I really enjoyed watching the kids teach each other. It saved me having to re-teach my lesson 20 times a day and I know that it helped the students to reinforce what they’ve learned by teaching it to their mates.
I, personally, would even plan my lessons differently for Maori kids then I would for Europeans. They seem to work extremely well in groups while white kids seem to love competitive structures. I’m not saying one is absolutely better then the other but just that there are some obvious general differences in the styles of learning here.
So I seem to have risen to the challenges that the teaching practice at Aranui threw at me. It all seemed to go so smoothly and I’m grateful for the experience.