northfleet_01

To get a well rounded experience of the teaching career, I chose to base myself in a Primary School next, to give me something to compare to my experience in a Secondary school. It has always been my biggest decision whether I should go into Secondary or Primary School teaching, so I wanted to take this module as an opportunity to give me the most well rounded experience so I can make an informed decision.

St Josephs is a relatively small primary school back near where I live in Gravesend. It has about 200 children altogether.

I spent my time their being put into different classes depending on where I was needed, sticking however to KS2 classes. This is due to me already experiencing KS1, while volunteering at a Primary school last year through my Add Vantage Module, so I wanted to make sure I had the full range of experience.

I was placed with Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 over the course of 12 days, each day being around 6-7 hours long.

Year 4

IMG_2551

Year 4 was who I was initially placed with, and I was pleased to instantly be put to use. I took on some of the work from the classes teaching assistant so she could continue with other tasks. I marked papers, read a child there maths paper for them, generally walked around and helped while they were doing shape poems (these are shape poems http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5WTb1yvkdh0/UipOz51WlKI/AAAAAAAABTI/X_6Ph6IFD3M/s1600/footprint.jpg).

You don’t really get a break with the kids. When lunch time hit we were staying in with some students doing reading with them or still marking their maths tests. And they can get over excited really quickly over anything.

On two occasions a hornet made its way into the classroom and on both occasions it became practically impossible to continue the lesson. One child was particularly terrified of the hornet and this only served to make the other children around her less settled. So me, the teaching assistant and the teacher had to become hornet wranglers less the classroom completely descend into madness.

Year 3

IMG_2564

Year 3 was the class I spent most of time at St Josephs with, and it was by far my favourite class to work with. There isn’t a massive jump between what you are dealing with between year 4 and year 3 (though in year 4 they become a little more willing to talk back apparently) but having the opportunity to spend a lot of time consistently with one class on children was a really great experience.

I spent a lot of my time walking around the class helping the kids as they worked, or sitting with a table that had 6 children on it. This table had one child who had been a selective mute and another who had only entered the school in February and was quite behind, education wise. I made sure everyday to talk to the child who had been a selective mute, so they would respond to me and interact, as they are still very quiet. I also did a lot of work with the second child, pushing them to answer questions and write independently instead of trying to convince me to do it for them.  I became pretty close with all the children on that table and in that class in fact. I quickly learnt who were the naughty ones, the quiet kids and the easily distracted children. I felt really well integrated into the classroom and did everything I could to be as helpful as possible to the teacher and teaching assistants.

Year 5

IMG_2554 IMG_2553 IMG_2549

Year 5 is where things start to change in primary schools. They have exams and your learning has to be a bit more focused.

The teacher in year 5 ruled with an iron hand, and was absolutely fantastic. We spent a lot of time working on their own newspaper articles, spelling rules and decimal points. It was a little daunting for me at first, because when I was helping one child who was especially struggling with decimal points, I became terrified that I was teaching them the wrong thing.

Maths has always been a point of fear in my education. I could do it with the right teacher, but I had a mental block through most of my education.

This has been one of the things that has always worried me about being a primary school teacher. I wouldn’t be able to be just an art teacher, I would also be responsible for the key foundations of their knowledge in every other subject and their emotional development. Anybody who says primary school teachers have an easy job is an idiot.

Despite my concerns, I am more than capable of the primary school mathematics, and had this confirmed to me through my volunteering, which is very reassuring.

Overall

IMG_2548Example of discipline technique at the school.

This was a great experience as I got to interact with a lot of different age groups and see a varied amount of subjects taught.

I am thrilled with how my Primary school volunteering has went. I really worked well with the kids and I feel so much more confident about primary school teaching as a career possibility.

Overall I think I am pretty much set on being a Primary School teacher now. I got a lot more enjoyment out of it than I did at the secondary school. There is a high level of satisfaction with Secondary school teaching, but I don’t think I could deal with the stress levels that are associated with the job. There is still stress in Primary school teaching, but it comes from different sources and I feel I am better at coping with that than Secondary school.

There is also the fact that when I walked into the Secondary school each day, I knew I would have to be expecting a battle with some of the kids. I find the discipline in Primary Schools easier for me personally.

Advertisements