Bright Teachers

Teaching, educationand education aides blog

Money saving tips for the classroom

Schools’ budgets are being squeezed along with every other public sector budget with many school heads wondering how they are going to balance the books in coming months. Many teachers are therefore going to be under pressure to make savings where they can in the classroom and although some things may be out of their control such as heating there are some savings that they can influence.

The number of resources such as paper, pens and pencils and other stationary materials that are used in the average classroom is huge and so it is essential that the pupils are made aware of the need to take care of these resources. Some schools issue pupils in a new class with their own stationary set giving them the responsibility for looking after their own belongings. Lost items may be required to be replaced by parents which is quite a controversial move.

Turning off lighting in empty classrooms has become a common thing now with some classes having a lighting monitor pupil whose job it is to turn the lights off when the pupils go to break or to assembly.

Recycling and reusing items in the classroom can be a good way to show children that many items are thrown away unnecessarily such as yogurt pots repurposed into paint and glue pots and old newspapers used to cover tables when doing crafts. Parents will often send in old shirts that can be used instead of buying expensive painting aprons.

All these measures can help to save money in an environment already financially stretched to breaking point.

Looking for a new career for 2022?

Can you believe that in only a few weeks we will be seeing the new year in? 2022 is nearly upon us and if you have been thinking about changing your career, maybe now is the time to do it. It may be that you have put it all on hold because of the situation with Covid, but as it appears it may be here to stay for some time, you may decide that there is no time like the present.

Have you ever considered becoming a teacher? Although no one can tell you teaching is an easy job and its not always extremely well paid, but it is very rewarding and there are some great perks. If you have children that are of school age then you may find that it is nice to know that during the school holidays you will be able to spend time with them as you will most likely have time off too. If you have not already got your teaching degree then you will need to do this but if you have a different degree then you may be able to just do a PGCE course which can often be added on to the end making it only an additional 12 months. If you have already got your PGCS then you can start looking for an applying for jobs immediately.

Have you considered becoming a private tutor?

Education has been massively disrupted for the second year in a row due to Covid and lockdowns. Many schools were closed for a period of time, only able to teach keyworker children face to face. This meant that education was left in the hands of many parents who simply didn’t have the time or knowledge to teach their child what they needed to know.

Private tutoring is often called for when parents cannot or do not want to send their child in to a school or if they want their child to receive additional educational time. They may want the child to be home schooled and ask that a private tutor come to the home to teach them. Private tutoring isn’t just for children, it can be used by adults that want to further their education or learn a specific skill such as reading.

As a private tutor it is essential that you have great communication skills, written and oral and good IT skills. You will need to be confident and able to adapt to a way of teaching that works for your individual student. You need to have a wealth of patience and know how to encourage people.

Tutoring can be very rewarding but you are often judged on the results the pupil achieves.  

Online safety for children

For the last couple of years, the use of the internet has risen exponentially as we have had to use it to keep in touch with friends and family, work from home, shop for food and other items and connect with teachers during online learning. Children, who already went online on a frequent basis anyway now see it as an essential part of their lives but how do we teach our children to be safe online when they may be using the internet more now than ever?

The rules and restrictions that parents or teachers need to put on a child’s online activity will usually be dependent upon their age. For example, young children should not be able to access the internet without an adult monitoring the content they are viewing. Games they play on should have in app purchases turned off and be rated as appropriate to their age. It is sensible it for any age of child to talk about the importance of keeping your real name, age and location secret to all but genuine friends.

Monitoring online activity with older children can become more problematic as parents and teachers cannot see everything the child does online however parental controls can be set up at home so that whatever they access online can be viewed by the parent which in itself will restrict their viewing. At school, a similar system can be used.

Making effective learning methods fun in school

Many teachers and teaching assistants working in Primary schools with young children have had to think very carefully about the teaching methods they are using in the classroom presently as normal, well-recognised strategies for engaging children in their learning have been had to be changed and adapted as we try to keep children and staff in schools safe. This has been a big challenge especially with the youngest children who are mainly unaware of the need to distance from others and refrain from sharing toys and equipment. Many teachers have been incredibly inventive whilst trying to make school a safe place to be and have made children individual learning packs with pencils, crayons, erasers, rulers etc in them to avoid the need to share this equipment. Reading books are having to be quarantined before being given to another child and teachers are having to wear face shields in order to hear children read an essential role for any teacher.

Teachers are extremely skilled at finding the fun aspect of most situations and encouraging children to enjoy their learning. They are always looking for ways to stimulate children to communicate effectively whether verbally or on paper. The stimuli they use often taps into interests that the children of a particular age have, be it a favourite television programme, an interest in animals or their family and a whole series of lessons can be planned based on these offering the children a wonderful opportunity to enjoy and relate to their learning.

Mathematics with young children should always be very practical and should be linked to learning in other areas if possible. For instance, understanding plant growth in science can be linked to measuring the height of growing plants and measuring the amount of water a plant is given. Giving children the opportunity to get involved practically with the curriculum is a great motivator and helps them to engage during lessons.

Young children respond very well to songs and rhymes and this is a fun way to get them to remember multiplication facts, days of the week and months of the year. It does not matter if the teacher does not play a musical instrument as the pupils just enjoy singing unaccompanied. The use of music to encourage learning is not a new concept but it is a tried and tested method of bringing fun into the classroom and although large scale assemblies are not currently advised, classroom singing can be utilised.