Sunday, 2 March 2008, 1.00pm
Good afternoon Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman and Fellow Graduates. My name is Michelle Raheb. Today I have been invited to speak to you about some of my experiences during my time at ECU while I was studying to become a primary school teacher. These past four years have held for me some of the most significant moments that have led me to the point at which I am at now in my career.
I ask you to picture this:
I'm sitting behind the desk of my first class, of my first day, at my first school that I'm actually teaching at.
I've been thinking about this day for years and its actually happening. I'm mentally going over the lesson plans Ive already gone over 1000 times, and wondering what the kids will be like. I'm wearing my lucky shoes and am hoping my first lot of students are not going to be little...brats.
So the siren has gone and they're all rolling in, all 27 little year threes and their parents who are eyeing me as they walk in. I wonder what they're thinking, then get more nervous so I concentrate on the kids and think, 'Oh my gosh!' one of them is taller then me. I wait until they settle down, and then comes the dead silence as I realise now all eyes are on me.
It only seems like it was yesterday that I was six years old with my older sisters and friends, teaching maths class to my cabbage patch kids. I didn't always want to be a teacher though; I had many different career aspirations, as one does throughout their childhood years. However there were many reasons that led me to decide to become a teacher. Some of these include the 9-3 working days, the 12 weeks of paid holidays... Just kidding! I know that everyone here knows that teaching is so much more than that.
But really, my motivations stem from my own experiences at school. I attended Aranmore Primary School and College, and my time at school consists of positive experiences and memories. I had great teachers who inspired me, and now it is my chance to help to inspire and guide young people in our society.
I also love working with children. And at primary school, children are so very impressionable. To be able to make a difference in a child's life whether it be teaching them how to read or write, or teaching them how to tie their shoelace it is a truly rewarding experience. So, for these reasons, I aspire to help my students to learn and develop to their fullest potential.
Once I realised that my future was teaching, the next decision was choosing an educational institution to attend to obtain my degree. Naturally, I decided to attend ECU the original teaching college. ECU has provided me with a tertiary education that is relevant to, and has prepared me for the real world.
The B49 Bachelor of Education course offered a range of course options to suit the skills and knowledge of each student, allowing each student to reach their own goals. At this point I would like to make mention of all of the fabulous lecturers that have guided us and supported us over the past four years your efforts are greatly appreciated. I would also like to point out that throughout this course of study, many new friendships have been formed which I'm sure will continue to stay strong over the years.
Of course, uni wasnt all smooth sailing - there were those times when challenges arose. I think I speak for everyone when I say assignments due at the same time, stressful exams, computers not doing what they are supposed to do (especially when you have an assignment due the next day!). But challenges are apart of life and should be expected, and without challenges we would never learn new things or push ourselves to progress further.
As much as theory is important we all know that putting what you learn into practice is just as valuable. During my time at ECU, I encountered many professional practicum placements and practical projects, which have assisted in preparing me for the teaching profession. When I look back to day one of uni, I now realise how very little I actually knew about teaching. These last four years have been a massive learning curve,and I know that with each year to come, I will continue to learn more and grow as a teacher.
So now it is Week 5 of school and I'm well into the swing of things. Parent/teacher meetings, staff meetings, swimming lessons and our Year Three assembly (that was only two days ago) - and we also try to fit a bit of teaching and learning in there too! But all jokes aside, I could not be part of a more rewarding profession. Everyday those children depend on me and look to me, waiting to learn and soak up new information and ideas.
As a teacher, it is my role to nurture my students in such a way that will encourage growth in all aspects of their development. I want to provide my students with an education that will develop their gifts and talents, as well as enable them to develop achievement of personalexcellence. I want to prepare my students for life, enabling them to participate as active members of society. You might think that this sounds like a massive task and a large role to take on, and you are right, it is - however teaching is not just a job, this is our vocation and we can all do it - we can make a difference.
I would like to leave you with a few last thoughts - a few pointers that I like to go by:
Thank you all, and congratulations to the graduating class of 2007.