A reception teacher has a very important job. You may be teaching a mix of children who have never been in any sort of learning environment outside the home and some children who have been in nursery full time for some years. You will need to be able to introduce children to school life and explain and ensure they understand all about behaviour and what is expected of them in school.
Often children can get quite upset in reception as it may be the first time they are away from their parents for a long period of time or even if they are used to being at nursery, the change may shake them up a little. You need to be able to comfort the children to settle them into the school day quickly and start to teach. There may be a very mixed range of abilities of the children that start in reception, so often you will have to tailor the work to suit all of them. To start with you will need to get to know each child and find out what they are capable of. You then may start to split them into smaller group when it comes to reading etc. to ensure every pupil gets the help and support they need.
As a teacher you may be required to cover another class from time to time. This may be due to illness or a course. Pupils often like to try and push their luck with a new teacher and will often act up to see how far they can push the boundaries. It is important to teach your new class how you would your own. Be sure to set the rules as soon as you go in and don’t stand for any messing. Always have worksheets at the ready, you may have to cover a class that has now work left for them but even if they have, you can keep your worksheets on standby should some pupils finish early.
The important thing when covering a class is not to panic and show that you are unsure of what you should be doing. If you are covering in a new school then make sure you arrive in plenty of time and find out exactly when assemblies and break times are etc.
If you have a TA working in the classroom with you then they will probably have a good idea of what should be going on and will be able to give you the heads up on any pupils that are normally disruptive that you may have to keep an eye on.
As a teacher, you will have gone through years of training showing you how to teach children the information they need to take with them through school and into their adult life. Many of the skills you teach them will be academic and linked to maths, science, history etc but there is another side to teaching that should not be overlooked.
Teachers will often need to help manage pupils behaviour and also friendships. This is especially true for early years such as key stage one where some children may not have mixed with other children much prior to starting school. It is important to teach a child and give them confidence in how to make friends and start to explain to them what is important. Often teachers will do the tasks in which they ask the children what a good friend is and how they can be a good friend. This will allow the children to understand what they need to do in order to gain friends.
Teachers may also need to teach children how to deal with their emotions and what they should do if they feel that someone is not being very nice to them or they are being bullied.
As a teacher, you will probably have a TA (teaching assistant) in your class at least a few times a week. The role of a teaching assistant is to assist the teacher in whatever tasks they have to do. It is up to the teacher to give the teaching assistant duties that they would like them to be responsible for and to ensure that they are doing the job correctly.
Teaching assistants do not usually plan lessons or mark work unless they have a teaching degree but they are able to take a small group of children to work with on their own. If you have a wide range of abilities in the class then you may find it useful to split the class into smaller groups to allow you to set different work for them. The TA may be given a small group of children who maybe need a little bit more help and attention. This will allow you to teach the rest of the class as a whole.
If you have photocopying that needs doing or if you would like a display creating then you can often task this to your teaching assistant. They can also be your extra set of eyes in the classroom should you have missed a dispute or disagreement that has happened between other pupils.
If you have been in teaching for a little while you may consider applying for a role of a head teacher.
The role of a head teacher can be very different from a normal teaching role so you need to consider carefully if this is the right career move for you.
A head teacher is the most senior teacher and leader of a school, responsible for the education of all pupils, management of staff, and for school policy making. The role often involves quite a bit of administration work and often not a lot of teaching. You will often be required to work longer hours than teaching staff and are expected to attend the majority of events related to the school i.e school plays, concerts, parent’s evenings and fund raising events.
You will need to be able to delegate work to the correct people and oversee everything that is going on. You may need to get involved in disputes between pupils and/ or parents and members of staff to resolve conflicts.
The role can be very challenging at times but it can also be highly rewarding.
Starting out as a new head teacher can be quite daunting and if you are trying to change some of the school policies and procedures you may be met by some resistance.