The Power of Reflective Practice

John Leads the Way

Account of Professional Practice

I am currently writing a so-called Account of Professional Practice, which led to some serious reminiscence:

We all start somewhere

When I held my first actual teaching job—teaching English in Kindergarten—I was lucky enough to be able to call my granddad after each of the double sessions. My granddad at this point was a retired educator with over 25 years of experience. He had his coffee and cake at the ready, waiting with the phone next to him for my call. Granny at some point told me that despite his cancer these bi-weekly conversations gave him a boost of motivation, because as a teacher he always rejoiced in the ability to nurture and mentor.

Be viciously honest with yourself

Without judgement we would reflect and talk about all the things that went well, all the things I did struggle with, or felt I had screwed up.
So he had his cake, I had my speakerphone, and on my drive back home we would reflect for half an hour or so. I could be viciously honest about my feelings of anger, embarrassment, joy, helplessness, pride, and happiness. All the things that come with the responsibilities of teaching. The premise of no-judgement is something I try to instill when I am teaching the introductory sessions for our Graduate Teaching Assistants.

We are all human.

I learned so much during these conversations, and the importance of honesty with myself, for growth, and developing as a teacher (educator, if you do not like the label teacher) still echoes today. Today, years after I have lost my granddad, I am having these imagined conversations in a reflective diary, with colleagues, other family members, and sometimes my students (learners). These conversations are still crucial, the reflective exercises are still my strongest weapon.

Reflective Practice: my Greatest Tool

I believe granddad would have thoroughly enjoyed following the trials and tribulations of becoming a teacher in Higher Education, all the stories from my students, finding my feet, becoming a teacher of teachers, and he would have put his hands over his head with all that tech stuff.

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