Comparison with other people and things does no good most of the time. But I feel the need to make this comparison, just so I will remember what it is that makes this experience so different from my previous one.
As a student teacher, I felt immersed in an environment that did not stimulate learning. I did not feel motivated to learn, to improve myself. I was motivated only to ensure my survival from day to day, lesson to lesson. Maybe it was a combination of factors, and not just the environment. The people, the students, and my mindset at that time. But I remember feeling that it was a struggle to survive. A struggle to act so that I would not be marked down for classroom management. A struggle with the pressure to structure activities so as to ensure maximum (visible) engagement. I felt that there was no room for mistakes, and when I did make them, there seemed almost no room for negotiation. No one told me that it was ok to have a learning curve, no one told me that we can learn through mistakes and that we probably learn best through them. As a result I felt that if I could not fit into the system, I was/am not a good teacher.
And the takeaway: Should I ever be given the chance again to mentor someone in teaching or maybe even in therapy, may I never let the person feel as I did in my first experience. We are
only human, after all.