Wise words for future Master of Teaching students

Clare Ellis graduated from the Master of Teaching (Primary) last year and is now teaching Grades 1 – 2 at Kensington Primary School. She won four awards at the 2013 MGSE Awards Evening, and also delivered an address reflecting on her time as a Master of Teaching candidate. An excerpt from this address follows.

I have been asked to reflect on my time at MGSE over the two years. To do this, I’ve imagined what I might say to a student who is starting the Master of Teaching, without terrifying them completely.

  1. Expect and embrace failure

    Failure is an important and formative experience for students, and to shy away from it does a disservice to all. Failure is a constant in the life of any reflective teacher, and can indicate many things – poor assumptions, high or low expectations, or simply your first attempt at something new.

  2. Actively seek out diverse placement experiences

    I have taught children in Brighton, Elwood and Gardenvale; students from farming families in the King Valley; and Anangu children on the APY Lands in the central Australian desert. These rich experiences taught me a lot about the role assumptions and expectations can play in effective teaching and the indigenous and country placement programs were by far my most valuable and formative moments.

  3. Nothing quite prepares you for your graduate teaching year, but the Master of Teaching comes close

    In my observations of graduates from other universities and student teaching models, it seems to me that the philosophy and practice of the clinical model has prepared me and other MGSE graduates better than some of our peers. That is, I am not afraid of data, differentiation, initiatives such as the E5 model or personalised learning, or the role of research in my daily teaching practice. I am very grateful for this practical and philosophical grounding.