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Reception teachers - talk to me about your jobs!
5

Rainallnight · 07/01/2021 22:44

I’m up for a big career change and I’m mulling Reception teaching. I think I’d love it but would love to know more about the reality.

I know it’s an incredibly tough time for teachers at the moment so it might not be the best time to ask! But maybe you could tell me about pre-Covid life, assuming we ever return to normal.

I’m interested to know the best and worst bits, and also how it feels to be managed in the role by, say, a head of early years.

Huge thanks.

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Rainallnight · 08/01/2021 09:26

I should also say that I’m 45, not an energetic 27 year old. So I don’t know if that would make it harder.

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Subordinateclause · 08/01/2021 12:35

I taught a little bit of reception last year. It's not for me - too fussy! - but I can see why some teachers enjoy it. I know you can do an 3-7 PGCE but that wouldn't necessarily mean you'd get to do a R placement - you might get nursery and Y2 for example. In a school you could also be moved to Y6 (regardless of your training), although reception teachers do tend to stay where they are more than others. Apologies if you're already aware of that.

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Rainallnight · 08/01/2021 13:38

Thanks very much @Subordinateclause! Can I ask what you mean when you say you’re too fussy? I can be fussy myself but much more relaxed around little kids.

Thanks for the heads up on that PGCE. I was thinking of do EYFS teaching training. My understanding is that that works?

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Doraemon · 08/01/2021 17:44

I am an NQT in Reception in my mid-40s. I worked in school as TA/HLTA for 5 years, across the full primary range from nursery to y6, before training mostly in Y2 with a short placement in Reception. I love the spontaneity of EYFS and the mixture of adult-led and child-led learning, taught inputs and free-flow provision (although my current school does tend more towards the adult-led than I would ideally like).
Best bits are the relationships with the children, I really enjoy the messiness and the nurture and the sheer emotional range you get with 4 year olds. I find I am much more patient with challenging behaviour in EYFS, but found KS2 much more frustrating. I also love teaching children to read and seeing their excitement when phonics finally clicks and they reallised that they can figure out words by themselves.
The work load in Reception is different to higher up but equally heavy - less marking but a lot of preparing resources, writing up observations etc. There is theoretically a shift to less paperwork with the new EYFS (we are an early adopter school) but there are still 17 different areas of learning that each child has to be assessed against (sometimes more than once a term) - with a class of 30 this means I have to make over 500 assessments each time I submit data.
Look carefully at training and make sure you are getting QTS, not just Early Years Teacher Status - you might get a Reception job with EYT status but you won't be on the same pay scale as QTS.
Also bear in mind that Reception is physically demanding - we all joke about sitting on tiny chairs but you do spend most of the day moving around and/or outdoor in all weathers. I'm hoping it will all count as exercise and keep me young and fit..... I am currently exhausted, NQT year is tough and Covid is emphatically not helping. Am considering whether to try to move to part-time at some point, in which EYFS experience might be a good thing as in my area there are part-time nursery jobs coming up from time to time in schools that are only doing half-day nursery.

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Subordinateclause · 08/01/2021 21:11

Sorry, I meant the children are fussy, although I'm probably a bit too fussy myself in the usual sense of the word to teach reception, in that you very much have to go with the flow. By children being fussy, I mean telling tales, complaining about tiny things, interrupting you to tell you things that aren't important etc. That all sounds pretty harsh now I write it down though as that's just the way little children are. I'm used to Y2 and LKS2 though and those sorts of behaviours are what would be described as fussy and discouraged by that age.

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