Bright Teachers

Teaching, educationand education aides blog

Planning Christmas in the classroom

This Christmas is going to be like no other. Although we are all hoping that we will be able to get to see at least some of our loved ones, it is likely to be a lot quieter than usual. Schools are having to have a rethink about how they do all of their usual activities on the build up to Christmas as many of them will either have to be scrapped completely or changed to allow for social distancing.

Christmas plays in many schools have been cancelled or some have decided to just do them per class and film them for the parents to watch from the comfort of their own home. Another tradition that has had to be rethought is the Christmas disco that many children have at their school. These again will not be able to take place as they normally would, but many are having a small party or film day in their own individual class bubbles. Christmas fayres will not be able to go ahead but the school may still be able to run a raffle etc. Although you as a parent may feel like your child is missing out, they actually on the whole seem rather excited that it is something a bit different this year.

Getting ready for Christmas at school

Teaching has had to change drastically this year with strict Covid restrictions coming in to play. Often as Christmas approaches teachers are busy planning Christmas plays and winding down the class ready for the break but it is very unlikely that Christmas plays will be going ahead this year and if they do, they will be somewhat different.

You may find it hard to get the children to concentrate as much as they often start to get excited and may easily become distracted but rather than getting stressed by this, embrace it and start to bring Christmas in to your lesson plans. Think of way in which you can incorporate Christmas to plan an exciting and creative lesson that the children will love getting involved in. For example, you may set a task that they need to write a letter to Father Christmas or using math work out how long it would take him to visit every child in the UK on Christmas eve.

It is also important to teach children the background behind Christmas and where it all started from as many children may simply think it is all about presents etc.

Should schools look to bring in more staff

For a number of years now many teachers have complained that too much is expected of them and that they should have more help in the classroom and also time to prepare, plan and mark work. Most teachers have a TA working with them but often they do not have a TA with them all day. IF the teacher needs to go out the room, they cannot leave the children unattended so this makes it very hard for them if they have no TA.

A teaching assistant can sit with a small group of children or sometimes one or two individuals to help them with the task that has been set. It is their job to ensure that the child understands what they need to do and to possible help them explore the answers.

IF you are struggling to control a disruptive class then you may decide to split the class up and ask the TA to take a group so you can concentrate more of your attention on the ones that may need it.

At present, although they want to limit the number of teachers that have contact with the students, they also need to ensure that they have adequate cover should a teacher go off ill or isolating.

Is working as a teacher in a small school detrimental to your career progression?

There are a wide variety of primary schools in the UK ranging from large academies catering for in excess of a thousand pupils to small rural primaries which have just two classes and a total of less than fifty pupils on roll. It is a matter of personal choice which setting suits you as a primary school teacher with some teachers starting out at one end of the spectrum and changing their preference as they progress with their career but does it make a difference to your career progression and is a larger school better to work in if you have set your sights on a headship?

The most obvious variance is that a larger school will usually have a higher turnover of staff giving the current staff the opportunity to apply for other roles in the school. On the other hand, it is easier in a smaller setting to take on extra curriculum responsibilities giving teachers the chance to develop their leadership skills in a less threatening environment.

The budget for CPD, that is continuing professional development, in a small school may be insufficient to allow staff to undergo a wide range of training each year thus restricting the opportunity to access the qualifications needed to enable career progression. This should not hold back an ambitious teacher however and promotion prospects should be explored at the annual professional review that each teacher is entitled to.

Are we hitting a teacher shortage crisis?

Teachers are coming under a lot of pressure at the moment to keep schools open for those key workers that have to carry on working through this crisis. This may mean that they are working on rotation to ensure that there is adequate cover for the number of pupils that are in the school.

Ver the last few years there has been a shortage of teachers not only training but actually staying in the profession and a lot of this is down to pressure and increased workloads.

Currently there is such a demand for teachers than when a job becomes available, some schools are having to hire staff that they normally wouldn’t purely because they have had very little or no other applicants. This may mean that teachers that do not have the sufficient experience are being put in to roles that are out of their depth.

Many students are being put of training to become teachers due to the stress levels that come with the job, which seem to have increased drastically over the last few years. Something needs to change in the industry to make it more attractive to students in to progressing in to a teaching role.