I have recently started volunteering in a new primary school. I am now volunteering in year 2 (key stage 1) I was a little nervous about being in a new setting and having to meet new teachers, children and adapt to the new school, however, my first day went great! I spent most of the day helping the children with their work and observing the school’s teaching style. It was very interesting to see the different way in which my new school runs their lessons.
In my previous work placement, the class would be taught by the same teacher throughout the day as a whole class. The children are placed into coloured groups which grouped them by their work abilities for each subject. The lesson would start with the teacher teaching the class as a whole and then they would go into their coloured tables to complete work, they would be handed different activities to suit their individual abilities. In my new placement, each year group has two classes with 30 children in each. The school runs a strategy called ‘Streaming’ for the maths and English curriculum. Streaming is where children are placed in groups according to their general academic ability. The two teachers in each year group will work alongside each other, one teaching Maths and the other teaching English. Both classes are split into two groups, one group being those with higher ability and the second group is the children who need extra support. They then swap their class around and focus purely on their subject.
I have not seen a primary school use this stagey for lessons, I was interested to hear my mentor’s opinion on this style of teaching. She confirmed it is a new method of teaching they have tried for the past year. She feels it has worked well for the children as well as the teachers. The children have a better understanding of the subject as it is taught in a way which suits their needs, less complicated for those struggling with the subject and more challenging for those meeting/exceeding. My mentor confirmed this method is very beneficial for children and teachers as they have more time to support the children and it has also made marking a lot easier sticking to marking the one subject. I have researched into the streaming strategy and have found mixed reviews with this method of teaching. Based on my research of blogs and articles I have read researchers and teachers feel streaming is only beneficial for the children exceeding expectations and can be quite damaging to those in the lower ability class, they feel it puts children in a mindset to not further challenge themselves resulting in children making slightly less progress than pupils taught in mixed attainment classes. From what I have observed on my first day is that this method is effective, I look forward to observing more lessons taught in the streaming style to see the impact it has for the teacher and pupils.
I am new to teaching in the primary setting. Since the start of my degree, I have volunteered in year 3 (key stage 2), I am blown away with the curriculum, it is incredible how much pupils have to learn at such a young age. One thing that has daunted on me is that I will need to brush up on the subject knowledge myself, I will need to relearn things that I was taught when I was at school. I guess that saying is true ‘you either use it or lose it’.
I have been a bit concerned about this and have had a lot of self-doubts if I would be good enough to become a teacher, however, after speaking with my mentor, she showed me a couple of websites that she uses for her lesson planning and to come up with activities to fit within the curriculum. The websites were fantastic and looked very easy to use. This made me feel a bit more at ease that I will have supportive resources and that in time I will eventually be able to gain more knowledge and experience as time goes on.
I am about to start volunteering at a new school next week so will have the opportunity to observe and work in year 2 (key stage 1). I hope to work my way through each year group to gain experience and see the difference in teaching the different age groups. I am going to start taking some time to explore websites to gain more understanding of lesson planning and subjects as well as using other resources such as books. I am going to arrange meetings with my mentor to go in more depth with the resources she recommends and be shown how to lesson plan. It has been a long time since I was at school studying; I just need to have a little more faith that in time it will all come back to me and get a bit easier.
A list of websites I have found have useful resources:
I believe it is so important to have ‘you’ time, it can work wonders for your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Studies have proven it is essential to take time to relax, it can help you to achieve more in the long run. Making more time to recharge was a point I suggested in my personal development plan to help me focus and achieve with my studies and reduce stress.
So, with the busy Christmas period over, juggling work, a social life, completing a couple of essay’s at the beginning of the month and having two children under the age of 5 ‘me’ time doesn’t happen very often, so I decided to book a last-minute night away. Midweek, I logged online and booked a night away in the Cadbury Hilton hotel in Bristol for the following Saturday. It can be difficult to always find the time to recharge, however, it can have such a huge impact on other aspects of your life. I chose the Cadbury Hilton hotel as it had a spa and the scenery looked beautiful…It was just what I needed.
I arranged for the children to have a night with their grandparents, packed my bag and headed up early Saturday so I could make full use of the facilities and enjoy 24 hours of pure bliss.
The hotel and spa were beautiful, there was an outdoor hot tub and a relaxation room, I had no time limit or phone (whilst in the spa) and could shut off from the outside world. When I returned home the next day, I felt a lot better in myself, I felt more relaxed and ready to tackle the week ahead. Everyone’s lives can get hectic, sometimes it can become overwhelming, but I would highly recommend taking a bit of time out to do something you enjoy; whether that is a night away, time with friends, exercising or a lazy day in bed watching films.
If a spa day is something you find relaxing, I highly recommend visiting the Cadbury Hilton hotel, you wouldn’t be disappointed. I’ve uploaded some photo’s I took whilst I was away to show the beautiful scenery at the hotel.
Further reading on the importance of relaxation.
Ashokananda, Y (2015). The power of relaxation: Align Your Body, Your Mind and Your Life Through meditation.
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