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I'm a Primary School Teacher, AMA

78 replies

solarpoweredmice · 06/03/2022 18:14

I teach Year 1 and this is my first year teaching. I really enjoy reading the education threads on here from parents so just wanted to offer the other side of the story for anyone interested.

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FAQs · 06/03/2022 20:03

Thank you @solarpoweredmice she has five offers, but three are subject to interview, two with lesson planning on zoom to a group of 8, only one has sent guidelines 😏 she’ll get there I’m sure.


Invasionofthegutsnatchers · 06/03/2022 20:04

Also a year 1 teacher here. I love it, it's hard work but so much fun.


findingsomeone · 06/03/2022 20:12

I'm really worried about my DD starting school, she is July born and will start when she is 4 years and 1 month old.

How are the younger ones coping in your class?


Stellaris22 · 06/03/2022 20:18

How do you deal with capable children who are unable to focus? We've been waiting for a referral for ADHD for over 3 years and DD is now in Y4. I really worry as she is more than capable of doing maths but just can't focus so is behind. We worry as it's getting closer to secondary school.


Solutionfinder · 06/03/2022 20:23

How much work do you have outside class hours


Iwillbouceback · 06/03/2022 20:24

How do you teach children Who cannot write anything besides their name to write? All tips very welcome.


solarpoweredmice · 06/03/2022 20:26

@hayley013 is there a reason that she writes slowly? I find my slowest writers are often lacking in confidence even when they are capable, which means they take much longer to write. Some of my also take longer as they are writing in their neatest handwriting. What do you think the root cause is? Does her teacher have any ideas?

@findingsomeone it's a very varied, especially in the younger years. Some of my summer borns are working at a Y2 level in some subjects, some of them are not yet at a YR level. That may not be the most helpful answer, but I think the general research is that while summer borns may struggle more at the start of their education, it evens out by KS2 and the end of Primary. How is your DD's social skills and fine motor skills (e.g. holding a pencil, using scissors)? If she is confident in these then I think she'll ultimately be fine, if she's not confident then I'd start developing them more now. Hopefully she'll have a good start to school, I do think it's shocking sometimes that we expect September and August borns to be on the same level as each other.

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Bigpantsaretheway · 06/03/2022 20:32

How do you help children who are achieving way more than their peers and expected levels? I.e. a reception child who is exceeding expectations in maths? So can confidently count to more than 100, knows number bonds and has been learning and understanding arrays for example . Is above in all other areas but has a real passion for maths


Oodlesofdoodlescockapoodles · 06/03/2022 20:32

@solarpoweredmice how can I support my y1 child to read and write? I've always read stories every night and it doesn't seem to have helped Confused I've encouraged practise at home but he's very reluctant. I don't think he's at the same level as others in his class Sad he seems to read one word then guesses the rest of the sentence! Or misses words out/reads them in the wrong order Confused should I be worried about this? He says he hates it even though i know the school try to make it fun and engaging!


solarpoweredmice · 06/03/2022 20:56

@Stellaris22 I'm afraid I can't help you much, sorry. I have children who can struggle to focus at times, but nothing that hasn't been fixed by gentle reminders or a fidget toy and I'm assuming your DD needs more than that. I hope you can find answers soon.

@Solutionfinder most days about 2 hours. I come in 30 minutes before the children and stay about an hour and a half after they've left.

@Iwillbouceback it will vary from child to child but the children in my class who have struggled with writing (including one who couldn't write her name at the start of the year) have benefited from lots and lots of phonics practice and seeing adults model blending and segmenting words.

@Bigpantsaretheway I focus on problem solving and missing number equations. E.g. a lot of my class are confident with '3 + 4 =' but will find '3 + ? = 7' more challenging. Same with multiplication, a number of them could answer '2 x 5 =' but would be challenged by '2 x ? = 10'. Maths is the area I personally find hardest to extend my children with, it's something I'm working on with my mentor. Have you spoken to your child's class teacher about what they are doing with him?

@Oodlesofdoodlescockapoodles the missing out words or guessing words would suggest a potential need to me. My lowest children can still read sentences at their own level (e.g. 3-5 word sentences that have very common sight words or contain decodable sounds). Have you spoken to your child's teacher? My typical suggestion for children who are struggling is to read more with parents, but you've clearly already tried that.

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cafedesreves · 06/03/2022 21:04

Thanks for this thread! If push comes to shove are the top of the class kids your bottom priority? Do you genuinely feel you're able to stretch them adequately? Thank you!


Oodlesofdoodlescockapoodles · 06/03/2022 21:34

@solarpoweredmice thank you, yes she's said they are offering some extra support. Its hard to tell if he genuinely can't do it or if he just doesn't want to! But then I wonder if he doesn't want to because he really can't Sad will have to follow up with the teacher again. Thanks Smile


solarpoweredmice · 06/03/2022 21:34

@cafedesreves I want all my children to make progress but if I had to pick which group is my priority, I'd say my higher lows who are just below age-related expectations. If I can push them to the expected level by the end of the year (or sooner) they will be prepared for Y2 and hopefully will maintain being at an expected level. If I don't close that gap, I fear it's only going to get harder and harder for them to hit their age-related expectations. My lower lows are barely working at a YR level and it seems very unlikely they will hit age-related expectations this year, I don't want my higher lows to be in that position next year when there's a chance I can stop that from happening.

All my children are stretched in English, I find it very easy to differentiate writing-based tasks for all of their needs. Maths, I wish I could say the same but it honestly depends on the topic. Most of the times yes, but sometimes no. When we're repeating addition and subtraction it's hard to push my highers as much as I want to when they can already do it confidently but I need to sit and work with children who struggle with single digit addition.

Thanks for this question, it really made me think Smile.

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cafedesreves · 06/03/2022 21:44

@solarpoweredmice thanks so much for taking the time to answer!


RAOK · 06/03/2022 22:11


Teacher of 14 years here. It doesn’t get boring as the government keep reinventing the wheel every 13 months to keep us on our toes!

100% this!

VioletLemon · 06/03/2022 22:32

The best thing you can do to help prep your child for school is to spend time actively doing things with them as often as you can. Get them help fold washing, collect things round house, put on own shoes, do up a zip, cut with kid scissors, self regulate when worried, play shops, read together, talk and predict stories, rhyme games, Kim's games, use fine motor skills eg buttoning up, play and relax with them when you can. Then when they get to school they can have some independence and a bit of confidence in adults around them.


DrMadelineMaxwell · 07/03/2022 07:24

Catering for the range of abilities and feeling like you have met every childs needs is the hardest part of the job. I have y6 and the difference is massive. A couple of children need lots of support just to write a few sentences and cant retain number bonds or times tables. And on the other hand I have a child who has asd who has no support but who has self taught himself trigonometry and who does quadratic equations for fun. I'm planning scaffolding work to support some while also looking into high school level work for others.


LittleSnakes · 07/03/2022 07:27

Is it true that once a year you have to practice with the children what to do if there is someone dangerous outside? Hiding under tables and stuff? A teacher once told me this and said all schools have to do it. But I don’t really believe it.


Ilikecheeseontoast · 07/03/2022 21:38

@LittleSnakes yes it’s true


LittleSnakes · 07/03/2022 21:58

Wow, I did not expect you to say that! Tell me more. Do the kids know what you’re doing? Why don’t parents get told about this? Seems like quite a big deal to me.


LittleSnakes · 07/03/2022 21:59

Just realised you’re not OP, unless you name changed. I’d still like to know more.


RelentlessForwardProgress · 07/03/2022 22:07

I need to move my Yr 3. They are bright, above expected level in everything, 5 years above age in Reading.

Would you chose a school that is selective and very academically focused but not a particularly nice place (old fashioned, dark and dingy) or a school with lovely surroundings that is less selective and academic? We are struggling between the two as we feel both these things are important!


DrMadelineMaxwell · 08/03/2022 00:07

We've had incidences in the past in our primary that have prompted the police to call our school and tell us to make sure that all the pupils were safely inside the building. One was a car chase through the village and they wanted to make sure that if the person bailed out of the car and into the neighbouring farmer's fields, all the pupils were out of the area, just in case. So 'lockdown' training (as it used to be called, but now needs renaming due to Covid lockdowns) is a thing and has been for years. It is you covering yourself for every eventuality, even the most unwelcome.

In high school pre-covid my dd was doing this. It's been a thing for at least the last 5 years.


LittleSnakes · 08/03/2022 07:50

I’m gonna ask the teacher a lot lockdown training. I’d assumed it was an American thing about active shooters. But I can see how it would be useful in out her situations like that with the car chase.


solarpoweredmice · 08/03/2022 17:19

@LittleSnakes I haven't experienced that at my school and I feel as shocked as you, but I guess it's a thing at other schools!

@RelentlessForwardProgress I personally would choose the less academic but nice place as I can't imagine enjoying learn in a dark and dingy building.

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