What gets you up teaching in the morning?
Back to the grind for all teachers, now that the Easter holidays have finished! And let‚Äôs be honest, getting up horrendously early isn‚Äôt pleasant at the best of times, such as those cold wintery days. I have always considered myself more as a night owl than an early bird. It‚Äôs different with teaching though. With teaching it is easy to get excited about what the day is going to bring. I mean, there could be a certain lesson that you are really looking forward to teaching, or some results that you are dying to find out about. Beginning new topics were always fun, and watching performances were great too. I used to teach in a double entry form school whereby I would have year 3s and year 5s on one week and year 4s and year 6s on another week alternate. Each year group and each class were completely different from one another, but this made the job oh so much better. You see the year 3s were new, so it was always interesting to see how they would perform, and if they could be pushed further. I would try to find new ways of what made them ‚Äòtick‚Äô and how to get the best out of them. Then there were the year 4s. I taught them when they were in year 3 and it was amazing to see how much the class had matured over that space of time and how they had flourished musically. The year 5s were great musicians and I had known them the longest. The relationship with the year 5s was fantastic to the point where we could laugh about things jokingly sometimes or banter about football teams‚Ä¶ a great bunch. Then there were the year 6s‚Ä¶ mischievous in a harmless way, very chatty at times, but always produced outstanding work. The year 6s were on key stage three level most of the time and they were both classes that taught themselves effectively. By this I mean I briefly ask them what to do and then they go above and beyond to achieve, all-in-all a great school to get up for. My inspiration for this week‚Äôs blog came from this post I found on TES website. I thought it would be good to find something a bit lighter hearted after a deep and challenging blog last week and the week before.
What gets me up in the morning: ‘Teaching four year groups in a day, each sees life so differently’
One primary arts teacher says variety is the spice of primary life
I love Wednesdays.¬†Yes, it is halfway through the week and the long-awaited weekend is in sight but that is not the reason that I love Wednesdays.¬†I love Wednesdays because I work with four different year groups and I teach in a range of different environments.
As with every weekday, I spend Wednesday mornings with my class (Year 6) but, instead of the usual maths and English lessons, we have long debates in SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural development lessons)¬†and then go swimming.
In the pool, a different side to every child emerges. Those who usually lack confidence in the classroom suddenly become competitive dolphins racing to prove themselves whilst many of the kings and queens of maths and English stand in the shallow end making tentative steps (or should I say, splashes) towards swimming. It is wonderful to watch the children relax in the water,¬†without the day-to-day pressure of the Year 6 pre-Sats classroom.
When we get back to school, I switch roles to become the school‚Äôs specialist art teacher. I move to the art room to teach Year 3 and then Year 4 art before ending my day running a Stem¬†design club with Year 5.
‘Willing to take risks’
Whilst I love teaching Year 6, it‚Äôs so refreshing to teach the younger children in the afternoon and listen in to their comments and conversation while they paint or sketch the hours away.¬†They see life differently and are often more willing to take risks with their work than my older classes.
Last week, Year 3 embraced a continuous line drawing challenge in which they were not allowed to look at their own page until they had finished. The results were, predictably, rather mixed but none of them minded as they understood that it was more about the process than the outcome.¬†When I tried the same technique with Year 5 the following day, they were less willing to take the risk of not looking at the page and were much more concerned about the final results.
It was an interesting comparison and it‚Äôs exactly that kind of comparison that makes me love Wednesdays.¬†Teaching four different year groups in a day may be usual in a secondary school but rarely happens in primary and, when it does, it makes me realise that variety is what makes me get up in the morning.
Laura Shiell is an arts subject leader and class teacher at¬†Shrubland Street Primary School in Leamington Spa
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