A few goals & first visit to school!

Rachel’s Goals For The Year! 

So I have a few long term personal goals I would like to work on for this project. Each of these three goals are skills I want to develop over the next year through helping out in Firrhill High School  – so expect to hear a lot about my knees knocking as I attempt to communicate to a class of sixteen year olds why cells are cool.

  • Firstly I want to work on my general leadership/public talking skills. This encompasses the ability to stand in front of a class without turning into jelly and spitting one word at them all repeatedly as I try to remember what my point was. I think the way to best tackle this is to be thoroughly prepared. Plan my lessons in advance and memorise my key points. Hopefully this will keep me calm and prevent brain freeze and temporary speech paralysis. Interestingly this is only a recent problem of mine – in school I could easily and happily get in front of the class and talk away, make clear and valid points and answer questions. I wonder if it has something to do with not knowing the people I am standing up in front of anymore?
  • Secondly I want to improve my general teaching skills. This is a broad area  of improvement for me because I’ve never taught anyone older than 10 before. I’ve also never taught them anything other than martial arts or basic english. When it comes to developing my teaching skills I think I’ll have to make sure I really know what I’m teaching the kids through and through so that I can make sure they fully understand it.
  • Thirdly I want to develop my ability to communicate science. As it is I can rant and rave about new scientific developments and their significance in advancing our understanding of the natural world. I don’t know if I can translate this enthusiasm into a school syllabus. I’d like to see if I can get students interested in what they are studying beyond a necessity for passing their exams.

First Visit To Firrhill Highschool

Third time lucky – after two failed attempts at arranging a meeting with the biology teacher I would be working with for the year I finally found myself headed towards Firrhill High School. The area was unfamiliar, I was up earlier than I had been all week, and I was nervous. More nervous than I had been expecting. Upon arrival at the school I was greeted by a janitor who let a befuddled Rachel in through the locked front doors. I then signed in, was presented with a very official looking visitors badge and was greeted the teacher I was working with.

Upon meeting the advanced higher biology class – a small, quiet and studious looking group of eight – I sat down with the teacher to discuss when I would most be needed to help out and when I could volunteer. After her request I agreed to help out with the advanced higher class on a Monday morning. A brief tour of the science department and technicians base followed (I’m still going to get lost) and then I was left to my own devices for a bit. I had a few discussions with some students, everyone was quite shy so I think I might have to work on my people skills for a bit before I can get information from them. The teacher had asked me to have a look and help with the student’s investigation projects – something I quickly realised I’d forgotten about completely. I also agreed to run a revision/tutorial session on cell biology on monday the 12th of November as the class is coming up for a NAB.

I left Firrhill surprised at how nervous I had been and a little bit intimidated by the level of work I will be helping out with. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue though; so long as I plan my next visit I should be more confident in talking the the pupils.

Plan for next visit (Friday 9th November)

  • Look up requirements for advanced higher investigations
  • Look up level of cell biology that advanced higher study at
  • Set some questions to ask students, eg. What aspect of cell biology do you struggle most with? Would you like me to stand up and talk to you about it and  ask questions as I go along? Would you prefer if I made some questions and then we went over the answers? Would you prefer to ask me some questions and go over the answers?
  • Also, ask teacher how long she wants the tutorial to be

Until next time!

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